Guest Review: The Devil's Brew by Rhys Ford

A Sinners Series Novella

Miki St. John’s life has been turned upside down but it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

His best friend, Damien Mitchell, is back from the dead. He has a dog named Dude. And more importantly, he and his lover, SFPD Inspector Kane Morgan, now share Miki’s converted warehouse.

For the first time ever, Miki’s living a happy and normal-ish life but when Valentine’s Day rolls around, Miki realizes he knows next to nothing about being domestic or domesticated. Nothing about the traditional lover’s holiday makes sense to him but Miki wants to give Kane a Valentine’s Day the man will never forget.

Can he pull off a day of wine and roses? Or will his screwed up childhood come back and bite Miki in the ass?


Our boys from the Sinner’s Gin band are back and they are better than ever in Rhys Ford’s The Devil’s Brew.    Miki St. John may have found the love of his life in Kane Morgan but loving his cop and becoming part of the massive Morgan clan didn’t come with an instruction manual.  Being in a loving relationship and part of a supportive family is something that Miki doesn’t have a frame of reference for and it doesn’t come easy for him.  Most of the time Miki is white knuckling his way through and letting the three men that mean the most to him: his best friend, band mate, and brother Damien Mitchell, his sweet Irish love Kane and Kane’s father, the strong and steady Donal Morgan guide him through the choppy waters of domesticity and family.  But now Valentine’s Day has come, love is in the air and Miki is in a panic because he’s on his own with this stupid holiday and as usual, when it comes to “normal”, Miki is convinced he has no idea how to do it “right”.

The Devil’s Brew takes us into Miki’s head and it’s not the easiest place to be.  Miki’s had to fight his entire life—and he’s got the battle scars to prove it.  He struggles with his self-esteem and self-worth and even though he knows he has love in his life (romantic love with Kane, platonic love from Damien and familial love from Donal, Brigid and the rest of the Morgans) he has a difficult time accepting that he deserves it.  It humbles him.  It terrifies him.  And because this is Miki we’re talking about here, it pisses him off that he can’t do any of it right

And I think that’s the thing that makes Miki such a relatable character.  We all want to get it right but where most of us have some sort of a frame of reference for what getting it right should look like or feel like, Miki’s flying blind.  Before Kane nothing, save his music and the family he created with Sinner’s Gin, has ever been right.  And now Miki has his man, he has his music, he has his Damie, he has a family, he’s even got Dude the dog and it’s all so good and he’s doesn’t know what to do with any of it.   And most of the time, that’s okay because if he stumbles Kane or Damie or even Donal is there to catch him before he falls but now with this whole Valentine’s mess he’s sure that he’s on his own and he’s having a TMZ worthy internal freak out because of it.

But in his panic Miki’s forgotten that Valentine’s Day is all about love…and while he may not always know what do with it or feel he deserves it, he has the love of three very good men and they all step up to the plate to help Miki knock it out of the park.

First up is Damien and while his relationship with Sionn isn’t quite the same as Miki’s with Kane it’s similar enough that he gets it.  And more importantly, he gets Miki.  The conversation that Damien and Miki have is a tear jerker.  Their relationship isn’t sexual or romantic but the depth of their devotion to one another would rival that of any lovers.  So Damien, because he knows Miki down deep to his soul, knows exactly what Miki needs and he makes sure that he gets it. They have one of the most achingly honest conversations about where they’ve been, where they are, and where they’re going and by the end of it Miki’s head was above the water but I was drowning in a sea of feels.

Then there’s Donal.  Donal Morgan is the best dad who ever did the dad thing.  Donal has won the title and the crown, everyone else can sashay away.  When Miki falls –hilariously and hard—Donal does what all great dads do.  The way he handles Miki and what transpires between them is a reminder that familiar love is a beautiful, powerful thing and just gave me all the warm and fuzzies.
Then comes Kane and while the love he and Miki share is vastly different from what Miki has with Damie, it’s no less capable of anchoring Miki when he feels like he’s drifting.  Miki and Kane are by turns funny, sweet, and scorching hot.  They slot together like puzzle pieces.  Damien may be the guy that keeps Miki’s head above the water but Kane is the one that scoops him up out of the sea and sets him on dry land.  Miki and Kane are perfect for each other.

And speaking of being perfect, what Miki ultimately ends up giving Kane for Valentine’s Day is PERFECTION.  Miki manages both a sentimental nod to their past and swoon worthy celebration of their present (and future). 

Don’t let the page count fool you.  Rhys Ford is one of those brilliantly talented writers that manages to craft a tale full of richness and depth and feels utterly, totally complete and then pack it into a limited number of pages.  It’s more than a skill; it’s an art form and Rhys Ford does it masterfully.

If you’re a fan of Sinner’s Series, prepare to fall in love with Miki and Kane and the Morgans all over again.  I would give this book all the awards but Donal and his epic dadness already walked away with them all.   

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
~Guest review by Shelley~


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