Reviewed by Vicki
TITLE: Absinthe of Malice
SERIES: Sinners #5
AUTHOR: Rhys Ford
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 22nd, 2016
We’re getting the band back together.
Those five words send a chill down Miki St. John’s spine, especially when they’re spoken with a nearly religious fervor by his brother-in-all-but-blood, Damien Mitchell. However, those words were nothing compared to what Damien says next.
And we’re going on tour.
When Crossroads Gin hits the road, Damien hopes it will draw them closer together. There’s something magical about being on tour, especially when traveling in a van with no roadies, managers, or lovers to act as a buffer. The band is already close, but Damien knows they can be more—brothers of sorts, bound not only by familial ties but by their intense love for music.
As they travel from gig to gig, the band is haunted by past mistakes and personal demons, but they forge on. For Miki, Damie, Forest, and Rafe, the stage is where they all truly come alive, and the music they play is as important to them as the air they breathe.
But those demons and troubles won’t leave them alone, and with every mile under their belts, the band faces its greatest challenge—overcoming their deepest flaws and not killing one another along the way.
Woohoo! The band is back together! If you have followed the Sinners series, you know what this means….
This series follows four couples as they find love. Each book features a couple, but they are all intertwined, four of the men are musicians, and the other four are part of the Morgan family. Each book also has a mystery of some sort, as the underlying plot that brings the couples together. Miki St. John is sort of the center point of it all, he and Damien Mitchell are the surviving members of a band called Sinner’s Gin. The two reunite after much drama, and eventually get to a point where they think they’d like to start performing again. Over the series they hook up with Rafe and Forest, each of whom have their own book, their own drama, and their own men. Sill with me? So here we have the four musicians forming a new band called Crossroads Gin, and heading out on the road for a small tour. Alone. With no roadies, no security, no boyfriends.
This book follows the band as they drive around the country on their own in a van, staying in shitty motels, eating bad food, and playing in dive bars. There are issues along the way, they get in to trouble a few times, and their partners pop in and out. The perspective changes from man to man, and couple to couple, and we get to spend time with each of the four couples. There is definitely something more happening that we don’t know about, and this book ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, hinting at what will be in the next book. There is also a lot of internal crap going on with Miki, and Damien to a certain extent, the tour bring up some old shit for Miki, and that starts to come out as the book progresses.
So I liked this book a lot, and I struggled with the rating for it. I gave three of the previous books five star ratings, and one I gave four stars. This one is good, but I can’t say it’s AS good as the others in the series. It’s partly due to the plot, although it was good, it didn’t have the excitement of the previous books. There are hints at something more, but mostly it’s them driving around the country in a van. I’d just start to get bored, then something dramatic would happen, then we’d go back to the driving around in the van again. I liked when the partners of the band mates showed up, there were some lovely sex scenes and moments of sweetness between the couples I really enjoyed. Donal and Brigid come to the rescue, I loved seeing them again, and I liked the drama going on inside Miki’s head. But when I compare this one to the other books, it’s just a tiny bit not as good, not bad, just not quite as good. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it, but I didn’t LOVE it! I feel guilty about a four star review! Crazy. I guess I’d say this book is more about the relationships between Rafe, Damien, Miki, and Forest, which is all good and interesting, but it’s less about the individual couples. I think I missed that…
As always I am in awe of Rhys Ford. She keeps getting better and better the more she writes. There are eight main characters in this book, plus a few side characters, and they each are so distinct. Partly from listening to the audio books, but mostly from her writing, I can hear their individual voices as I read. The Morgan men should be similar but they really aren’t. The musicians should be similar, but they aren’t either. Each chapter starts with a bit from a song, or a conversation, or a few lines from a journal. I love that. It sets the mood for the chapter just perfectly. The bits of song make me want to hear the song. I get so emotionally involved, I get anxious when Miki is anxious, I’m happy when Forest is happy, I feel the rush as they all perform. I felt Rafe’s pain at one point, and Damien’s confusion about Miki. I love the Morgan men and their strength, even Quinn who isn’t as physically strong as Kane, Connor and Sionn, but he’s still got a backbone. Donal and Brigid are the best parents ever.
This book is obviously part of a series, they need to be read in order, none are stand alone books. If you have read the others, you’ll love this one. If you haven’t, get to it!
I loved this book as part of the overall series, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!