Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Quinn Morgan never quite fit into the family mold. He dreamed of a life with books instead of badges and knowledge instead of law—and a life with Rafe Andrade, his older brothers’ bad boy friend and the man who broke his very young heart.
Rafe Andrade returned home to lick his wounds following his ejection from the band he helped form. A recovering drug addict, Rafe spends his time wallowing in guilt, until he finds himself faced with his original addiction, Quinn Morgan—the reason he fled the city in the first place.
When Rafe hears the Sinners are looking for a bassist, it’s a chance to redeem himself, but as a crazed murderer draws closer to Quinn, Rafe’s willing to sacrifice everything—including himself—to keep his quixotic Morgan safe and sound.
Rhys Ford’s “Sloe Ride” is the perfect title for the final story in the Sinners series. A combination of Sloe Gin and (at least in my thinking) Foghat’s ‘Slow Ride”, it works on so many levels for a story that brings together a virginal Morgan with the attributes of a mage and a wild musician looking for redemption and love. In “Slow Ride”, the beat and the lyrics are in total harmony, guitar riffs changing speed and climaxing towards the end, simulating love making. And the sloe berry of the sloe gin, tastes bitter unless its soaked in gin with a little sugar, ingenuity for using something not wanted, turning it into a drink that’s layered and warm. Perfect for Quinn and Rafe, two character who are in harmony with each other (if no one else). First they have to recognize their feelings about each other. Once that is done, along with the Morgan family’s acceptance of their relationship, Rafe and Quinn can explore what that means in terms of sex and their future. If they can survive another killer.
Yes, Quinn is a virgin at 30 and realistically so. He has chemical imbalances (not exactly spelled out, OCD, depression..not sure) that caused him to try to commit suicide when he was younger, and he was committed to a institute for a while. Of all the Morgans, he is the one that fell so far from the Morgan mold that the others continue to regard him as an frail oddity . Brilliant, his mother Brigid once remarked that Quinn could probably tell them why Stonehenge was built because he had been there. I love Quinn, he’s a remarkable character, strong, yet so vulnerable. Scattered yet earthbound. I adored him. And the wounded Rafe is perfect for him.
Yes, another deeply scarred musician in need of a Morgan to love and love him back. Rafe was a outlier of the Morgan family in his younger years, pulled closer when they realized how poor his family was. He had his own band but crashed and burned under the weight of touring, drugs and alcohol, but mostly drugs. A dead boy, overdosed in his hotel room, finished off Rafe’s career. Dumped by his band, Rafe’s life detonated. Only a final humiliation and a save by the Morgans, saw Rafe sober but ostracized by everyone he knew. Until Quinn.
Ford bluntly spells out Rafe’s drug addiction and the manner in which he burned all his bridges. Those “bridges remained burned”, sometimes you don’t get a second chance with people, and yes, you remain a addict. There is no miracle cure for Rafe’s past here and I liked that, just as there is no magic wand for Quinn’s chemical imbalances. You deal with what you’ve got and move on.
There is a rhythm here different from the other stories. Slower, moving to a different beat, which works, considering the main characters are each so different from the ones in the previous stories (Miki and Kane, Damien and Sionn, Connor and Forrest). So it stands to reason that the murder mystery is just that much off kilter too. I really didn’t see that denouement coming. The reveal was a total surprise. Some people will hate that, others love it that they didn’t have a clue.
By the end of the story, the band is reformed and has a new name. I have loved each and every story. Each and every romance and couple. And I am so sorry to see it complete. It may be the end of the band but surely Rhys Ford can dig up another Morgan or two in need of love, along with a killer determined to stop them? I so want the Morgan stories to continue. Fingers crossed the author is listening.
If you love rockers, murder mysteries, and contemporary love stories, here is a series to love. Grab up all the books in the Sinners series and get started. Put on a little Foghat to set the mood. I highly recommend them all.
Cover art by Reece Notley is one of my favorites as it works the best for the characters involved.