Audiobook Review: Sinner’s Gin by Rhys Ford

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

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Miki goes out on a day trip on his own

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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  1. Great review, Michelle! Sinner’s Gin is another of those books which has been sitting in my ebook for a while now. It seems that I always get distracted by something else. But the audio edition sounds good (no pun intended); I may try it once I finish listening to the Adrien English series (I have only the last book left). I love audiobooks but I need to listen to them in one go (I hate to interrupt narrations). That’s why I normally listen to them at the weekends, when nothing can interrupt me.

    Thank you for the review

    • I completely understand-I can have more than one ebook going at once but prefer to have only one audio going at a time. I listened to the second one in this series already and the narration got even better. Thanks for commenting. 

  2. I have yet to read a book (or listen to one) by Rhys Ford, but I’m looking forward to doing so as I keep reading very favorable reviews. This book sounds appealing with a character working to overcome past challenges, rock bands, and a dog … oh, and a man in uniform. Thanks for your thoughtful review.

    •  The author has also put out a collection of free shorts written from the perspective of the dog-his name is Dude. The collection is called Hair of the Dog. 

    • oh, Kareni, Rhys is such an amazing author, I’d recommend anything she has written. Sinner’s Gin is a fabulous series.

  3. This is one of my all time favorite series.  I love Miki, Kane, and all the brothers and characters who follow. When I finished the last book I felt like I was invested in the characters and their lives. To me, that is the sign of a really great writer. Thanks for a great review. 

  4. This is one of my favorite audio series. It’s honestly the one that got me hooked on audio books. Love it.

  5. I have this in my TBR & it fits in with another challenge I’m doing this week, so there’s a very strong possibility I’ll end up reading it this week. Thanks for your review!

  6. I enjoyed SINNER’S GIN in print, but I haven’t tried the audio yet. I admit I haven’t warmed up to audiobooks as a whole (I get distracted easily, especially if the voice seems wrong to me), but an Irish accent would go a long way toward fixing that!

  7. I’ve read the book but have not listened to it. Great book. I sill haven’t gotten into audio yet. I like to make up the voices in my head.

    • I listen when I can’t read and sometimes it’s like getting in an “extra” book for review. We won’t even say anything about the “voices” in your head. 

  8. I really like this series (actually I think I have Rhys Ford’s entire backlist) but I don’t have the audio yet. I can get it for
    $1.99 (because I bought the ebook on Amazon?) but I really haven’t gotten into audio books. Maybe I’ll give this one a try. 🙂

    • I’m really into audio so I would definitely say give it a try for that price to see if it’s for you. 

    • I find audio is great when I am driving for a while or otherwise doing errands where I need my hands, like grocery shopping. It is amazing how much I look forward to going to the store when I know I get to listen to my favorite audio book. It makes the time fly by!

  9. I love this book and the whole series. I’ve read them all, though not listened to any of them. This is a favorite of mine.

  10. I loved this book when I read it in ebook, just a lot of emotion and storyline that was really well done. I’m glad to get a good rec for the narration, especially on the accents. I’m listening to one right now where the two narrators are really not good at the either of the characters that have an accent, though their unaccented voices are great. It just makes a difference. And you’re so right about how if a book’s a favorite a great narration will give the characters life. It’s something I love to do, to get an audiobook for books I’ve already loved in text form. Thanks, Michelle!

    • There is a difference to reading and listening. I’m enjoying both and there are more options available recently. Thanks for your comment. 

  11. I don’t get to listen to much audio books. This is a series I’ve been meaning to give a read. Thank you for the review!

  12. This is the first in this series, right? Reading your review, which is very informative, reminds me that I have actually read it, back when it first came out. I never went on to the next books in this series, so there must have been something or other that just didn’t make it a five star read, or it might have be me who wasn’t in that sort of reading mood. Whatever the reason this review makes me want to go find it again and maybe see if it is a series I should pick up again.

  13. Denise Dechene says:

    I had never heard of Rhys Ford until last year sometime. In the MM Rec group they were talking about Sinner’s Gin. Sounded interesting to me so I went ahead and got. it. Damn the woman can write. Loved the book. Miki breaks my heart, and everyone should have a Morgan family. I have become a big fan of Ms Ford’s books.

  14. Another winner from Rhys Ford. She not only writes a mean mystery, her handling of difficult, buttoned-up characters whose lives have been torn apart, leaving them wary of interacting with other people and almost unable to trust, is masterful. The development of Miki’s (reluctant) relationship and his reaction to the Morgan clan is moving, emotional and, yes, funny (sorry, Miki). Everything Rhys writes is worth a read; this one is one of her best.

  15. I love Rhys Ford’s books!  While the Cole McGinnis series is my favorite, this one is also wonderful.  Thanks for the review and highlighting this book.  

  16. waxapplelover says:

    I love this book. I may even do a re-read soon. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the audiobook.

  17. I love this series and I actually do have the audiobook for this one as well! Rhys writes some really f*cked up villains in her series and I think in audio format they are even creepier!

  18. Love this series, and just re-read it a few weeks ago, in preparation for the latest book, which was outstanding!

  19. Thanks for the review! This is the first book I read by Rhys Ford (and that was just before book in the series was released) and fell completely in love with her writing. Who knows how long could have gone without me noticing such a great author. And I’m not much into audiobooks although I’d like to listen to one -specially one with a British narrator. 

  20. This is a wonderful book.  I loved it!

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