Sinner's GinStory Rating: 4.5 stars
Audio Rating: 4.25 stars

Narrator: Tristan James
Length: 7 hours, 57 minutes

Audiobook Buy Links: Audible
Book Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance

Found alone on the streets as a toddler, Miki St. John was taken into the foster care system only to be placed with men that sexually abused him. Unable to break free, Miki learned how to survive. A chance meeting puts him in the path of Damien and the two men become part of the band, Sinner’s Gin. Damien and the band members become Miki’s family and they rise to fame. One night all of that is taken from Miki and he is left alone once more. When Miki’s former abuser is found dead in Miki’s car, all of his darkest secrets are brought into the light.

Kane Morgan is a detective with the SFPD and a small dog leads him to his first meeting with Miki. When Kane is the one to find the dead body, he initially thinks Miki is involved in the murder. As more evidence is presented, Kane begins to unravel Miki’s tortured past and learns quickly how truly broken Miki is. Kane is attracted to Miki and feels a need to protect him and the men form a close relationship. But the killer is still out there making it clear that Miki could be next.

challenge monthFavorites List Week and books with rock stars will always have me taking a look. Combine that with me never having read a book by Rhys Ford (it’s true) and then having it out on audio and I’m ready to listen. While Miki is a rock star, this book deals less with that lifestyle and more about Miki’s personal demons combined with Kane’s police work and a murder to solve.

If you like reading about wounded and broken characters, reading about Miki fits that perfectly and Miki is the type of character that can carry a good portion of the story all on his own. On what should have been the best night of his life, Miki’s life crashes again and everyone is taken from him. Now, Miki is physically and emotionally beaten down and he keeps himself locked away at home.

There is an initial spark immediately when the men meet. Kane is strong and solid and just wants to wrap his arms around Miki and keep him safe. And while everyone sees Miki as broken and damaged, Kane is able to see past that to see how special Miki really is. Miki also recognizes something in Kane and grows to depend on him when more bodies from Miki’s past turn up and clearly someone is sending Miki a message. For as tough as Kane is, however, Miki speaks his mind and has the inner strength of a survivor and the pair complement each other really well. The mystery element of the book offers the opening to look into Miki’s past as with each turn of the case more is revealed. And while the identity of the killer wasn’t shocking, the reveal tied the story together well.

Kane’s large Irish family is also a part of the story as Kane has many siblings. His brothers, as well as his father, really added to the story and help illuminate where Kane came from. I did have some difficulty with Kane’s mother as she takes over with the intention that she knows what is best for Miki despite what Miki himself may want. And then almost as suddenly as she appeared, she disappeared once again.

Everything about this story was working for me until the end. Because of the severe danger that Miki is in with a killer on the loose, he has been watched over between the police, Kane, and the Morgan family. Then [spoiler] Miki goes out on a day trip on his own[/spoiler] and this went counter to everything that had been previously presented about keeping Miki safe. Even with that, this book is totally worth it to meet Miki and watch the love story grow between him and Kane. And then the absolute final ending will have you looking to the next book in the series.

The audio version is definitely a way that this book can be enjoyed. Tristan James offers the narration and his strongest point is the Irish accents he provides for the entire Morgan family. They all have their own inflections and even when they are in conversation together the characters are distinguished from each other. James’ narrator voice was smooth, but was reminiscent of a weekend radio DJ offering a top 40 countdown that had the tendency to pull me out of the story at times. Most characters, even the secondary ones, had their own voice, but Miki was voiced with just the basic narrator tone and that was an area that was lacking for me for such an engaging character. The quality of the audio as well as the pacing were both excellent and it was a well done production as a whole. If you haven’t had the chance to get to this book yet, the audio version is an excellent way to fit it into your schedule. Or, if it’s a favorite of yours, it’s an excellent way to bring most of the characters to life.

This review is part of our September Reading Challenge Month for Favorites List Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win this week’s fabulous prize of books and swag from Samhain Publishing, as well as our amazing grand prize sponsored by Riptide Publishing. You can get more information on our Challenge Month here, and more details on Favorites List Week here. And be sure to check out our prize post for more about the awesome prizes! 

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

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