Book review: Sinner’s Gin by Rhys Ford

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I’m not sure how exactly I ended up reading this book.  But I’m ever so glad I did.

Miki is a tortured soul.  He had a truly terrible childhood, and then found a sense of home with the band Sinner’s Gin.  Just after they won a Grammy Award, the band were in an horrific car accident, and Miki was the only survivor.  He is alone, he is struggling and he is lost.

Kane is a cop, from a family of cops, and he’s strong and steady, and willing to be Miki’s anchor.  The romance between the two of them is beautiful.  Honest.

The novel follows the mystery of who is killing people and leaving their grisly remains for Miki to find, but while I thought that mystery was well written, for me it was a background to Miki’s path to peace and Kane’s growing adoration.  One of my favourite parts of the book is when Kane rattles off all the little things he knows about Miki, and it’s so clear that every little part of Miki is important and loved.

Each chapter starts with song lyrics, or a tidbit of conversation between Miki and his best friend from the band that he used to write songs with.  Some of the lyrics are beautiful.  The author, Rhys Ford, writes poetry as beautifully as she writes novels.

I promised to take you, take you to the stars.
Way past Pluto, once we clear Mars.
We’ll dance in the black, and I will right all my wrongs,
And before our fall from Heaven, we’ll sing our old songs.
So long that we’ve danced, we’ll forget how they go,
Mumble a few words, then bask in our glow.
I’ll teach you to fly, And you’ll teach me to win.
Made me survive, and taught me to sin.

The book ended quite satisfactorily for Miki, but with a huge teaser for another character that made me immediately buy the next book in the series.  I haven’t even read the blurb, I don’t need to, I just know that I need to read that book now.  And I have a book that I pre-ordered and have been waiting impatiently to read that downloaded this morning, but screw it, I need to read this book next.  I’m totally sucked in.

I won’t spoil anything for you, but the side characters are brilliant.  Miki’s fear of Kane’s mother is both hilarious and tragic.  Kane’s dad is awesome, albeit perhaps a little misguided.  Kane’s brothers and partner and some of the other cops, they all felt real.

Shrugging on a pair with the least amount of holes, he found a black Se7en shirt to put on and walked barefoot into the fires of his own personal hell.

Only to discover hell was very sparsely populated. In fact, the only occupants appeared to the one-headed Cerberus he’d brought with him and a slab of Irish slate masquerading as a man. He came through the mudroom as cautiously as he could, keeping an eye out for any stray Morgans lurking in the shadows. Dude barked a happy hello when he spotted Miki coming into the well-lived-in family room, and the terrier bounded over, wagging his tail hard enough to wiggle his entire back end. Bending over, Miki hissed a bit at the tightness in his ass but scruffed at the dog’s neck and ears, trying to avoid Dude’s nose-seeking tongue.

“Hello, ye must be Miki.”  A tree trunk dressed in loose denim and a T-shirt sprouted next to Miki’s arm, and he looked up, craning his neck to take in the enormity of the man holding his hand out to him.  “I’m Donal, Kane’s da.”

Incredibly well-written.  Five stars.

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