Title: Sin and Tonic (Sinners #6)
Author: Rhys Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 15th 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary, Mystery, Romance
Page Count: 270 pages
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Sinners Series: Book Six
Miki St. John believed happy endings only existed in fairy tales until his life took a few unexpected turns… and now he’s found his own.
His best friend, Damien, is back from the dead, and their new band, Crossroads Gin, is soaring up the charts. Miki’s got a solid, loving partner named Kane Morgan—an Inspector with SFPD whose enormous Irish family has embraced him as one of their own—and his dog, Dude, at his side.
It’s a pity someone’s trying to kill him.
Old loyalties and even older grudges emerge from Chinatown’s murky, mysterious past, and Miki struggles to deal with his dead mother’s abandonment, her secrets, and her brutal murder while he’s hunted by an enigmatic killer who may have ties to her.
The case lands in Kane’s lap, and he and Miki are caught in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse. When Miki is forced to face his personal demons and the horrors of his childhood, only one thing is certain: the rock star and his cop are determined to fight for their future and survive the evils lurking in Miki’s past.
As the sequel to Absinthe of Malice (Sinners #5), this story picks up where the last one left off and as such makes for a much larger and more fully developed story than others in the series. There are of course a core set of characters to the series and this book makes a point of having all of the key players present and making their presence felt. Of course, the much larger story allows for a bigger cast. This is also the last book in the series and it uses the lot structure to draw together the various threads that have been introduced throughout. In addition, it uses the opportunity to go back to the beginning of the series and highlight how there has been change and growth and reflects on the nature of that change.
There is a plot to the story but largely this is a book based on reflection and introspection. This is a difficult focus to maintain and still remain fresh. Of course, as with us all, there is internalization that is repetitive, but this is not overly played and therefore avoids frustration on the part of the reader. As with the first book, this is a story about the lead singer of the band and addresses a lot of the questions that were left unresolved at the end of that book. The character has suffered throughout his life and this book is to a certain extent a cathartic resolution to a lot of the baggage that he carries. If the reader likes the character and can empathize with the way he deals with life, then the story will be a pleasure, if not then I would avoid it.
The plot is, as ever, woven into the character development and is sufficiently gripping that it does not become a subsidiary theme. It is interesting and offers moments of tension that are sufficient to break away from the internalization that dominates the story. The characters introduced as part of this plot are reasonably well developed but there is room for more richness to the characterization. One of the things the author does very well is the description of the physical context. The author engenders a particular feel for both the environment and those who populate it.
This is a book about relationships: sexual, familial and quasi-familial, what makes them work and what are the tensions that place them under stress. The central character is an established outsider who protects himself from emotions both positive and negative. As such the book deals with the continuing erosion of this and the growth of love of various kinds with key others. There are moments of passion and these are presented experientially, but with particular emphasis on how sex can be part of bond development.
As there is a lot of reflection and introspection the pace is not frenetic. However, where the underlying plot intrudes the pace takes a marked uptick and the tension is raised.
The end of the story and the series ties up all of the central threads, but there are a few loose ends. It is to be assumed that the series, like life, cannot be neatly tidied up with no more to say. The series has run its course; each of the central characters has had their time in the spotlight and all have resolved whatever issues needed to be faced. Now is clearly a time to move on to something else.