Review: Absinthe of Malice (Sinners #5) by Rhys Ford

We’re getting the band back together.

Those six 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.

Crossroads Gin is ready to hit the road, even if its members have some reservations. Damien wants the band to become closer, beyond the family ties. So there are no fancy hotels, big arenas, or high-tech tour buses. The boys are doing it old school, taking a crappy van from one seedy venue to the next.

While the tour gets off to a good start, it doesn’t take long for things to go south. Mike, Damie, Forest, and Rafe each have their demons, and being away from their other halves takes its toll. It also doesn’t help that these men seem to be magnets for would-be murderers and general chaos.

The Sinners series is one my favourites. It’s over-the-top, full of drama, and just so romantic. I’ve loved watching the broken men of this series fall in love and build themselves back up.

I wasn’t completely sold on Crossroads Gin, because I didn’t think the band members had much in common other than them all falling in love with men from the same extended Irish family. So I was happy to see the four men bonding throughout their tour and working out how to interact as a group.

And while the Morgan clan takes a back seat for much of the book, they’re still as loving and rowdy as they’ve ever been when they pop in to visit the band. I make no secret of my life’s goal - to nab a Morgan man for myself, in all his muscular, handsome, Irish glory.

I’m a sucker for Miki St. John and Kane Morgan. I’ve loved them both since book 1. So I was very happy that Miki got a lot of page time in ‘Absinthe’. I think I swooned a bit each time Miki thought about his man. After everything they’ve been through, Mike and Kane are completely devoted to each other.

That being said, in ‘Absinthe’ we see Miki finally begin to confront the trauma he’s suffered. This is one thing that’s always bothered me: that Miki clearly isn’t okay but refused to address it. I was happy to see him change his mind, with a bit of coaxing from Kane and Damien.

While Miki’s storyline got the lion’s share, the other members of the band each had a good amount of page time. Fans of this series will be thrilled to catch up with the couples - Damien and Sionn, Forest and Connor, and Rafe and Quinn. I loved seeing how each band member was incomplete without the love of his life, and that those lovers would drop everything to reunite, no questions asked.

Yes, the band members still have issues, but they’ve got their men at their sides as they work towards being happy and whole.

As much as I liked catching up with the couples of this series, I wasn’t as happy with the mystery in this latest book. I know that when I read a book by Rhys Ford, I’m in for a crazy mystery involving blood and gore. At the end of ‘Absinthe’, I had many questions but no answers. I guess I’ll have to wait for the next book to find out what’s going on.

Overall, this book was an excellent follow-up. It’s got the feels, the romance, and the action that I love about the Sinners series. Fans will enjoy this latest installment!

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

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