Review: Sloe Ride by Rhys Ford

sloe ride by rhys fordFormat read: ebook provided by the author
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genre: M/M romantic suspense
Series: Sinners #4
Length: 246 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Date Released: September 4, 2015
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

It isn’t easy being a Morgan. Especially when dead bodies start piling up and there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.

Quinn Morgan never quite fit into the family mold. He dreamed of a life with books instead of badges and knowledge instead of law—and a life with Rafe Andrade, his older brothers’ bad boy friend and the man who broke his very young heart.

Rafe Andrade returned home to lick his wounds following his ejection from the band he helped form. A recovering drug addict, Rafe spends his time wallowing in guilt, until he finds himself faced with his original addiction, Quinn Morgan—the reason he fled the city in the first place.

When Rafe hears the Sinners are looking for a bassist, it’s a chance to redeem himself, but as a crazed murderer draws closer to Quinn, Rafe’s willing to sacrifice everything—including himself—to keep his quixotic Morgan safe and sound.

My Review:

tequila mockingbird by rhys fordI had planned to wait until Friday to review Sloe Ride, since that’s the day it comes out. But I couldn’t wait. I wanted some contemporary, and more important, I wanted to see how the Sinner’s Gin story wrapped up. Tequila Mockingbird (reviewed here) ended on quite a bombshell, and I just couldn’t wait any longer to see how THAT got resolved.

After the events in Sloe Ride, I am even more firmly convinced that the new band’s name should have been Bad News Bears. Or Bad Karma Bears. Or even Love and Near-Death. These guys have some serious bad luck.

However, unlike the previous books in the series, the bad luck this time mostly falls on the Morgan in the story, and not on the guy who hopes to be in the band. Not that it’s all sunshine and roses for Rafe Andrade – more that he’s already inflicted all his bad karma on his own self. His part of this story is him getting his shit all the way back together.

Quinn Morgan’s side of this story is that someone seems to be targeting Quinn with extreme malice – and murdering anyone who gets too close. The question is, who?

Rafe was Quinn’s teenage crush. Rafe is just a few years older, but he was running off to tour the country with a rock band while Quinn was still in school. While Quinn graduated with multiple degrees, Rafe hit the stratosphere as a rock god, then pissed it all away with drugs and bad choices.

Three years post-rehab, Rafe finds himself jonesing for his two remaining addictions – Quinn Morgan and getting back up on stage. Rafe is still a great bass guitarist, and whatever the remains of Sinner’s Gin are going to call themselves, they need a bass player to complete the band.

sinners gin by rhys fordRafe’s adopted family, all those Morgans from Sinner’s Gin (reviewed here), Whiskey and Wry (here) and Tequila Mockingbird, may be the entree that Rafe needs to get an audition. But just as Rafe gets close to his dream of playing again, he discovers that nothing is as important as keeping Quinn Morgan safe, and alive, and in his arms.

Escape Rating B+: I can’t imagine Sloe Ride making sense without having read the other books first. Start with Sinner’s Gin and just wallow. It’s awesome.

That being said, what about Sloe Ride as a book and as a culmination of this series?

There are lots of things to like in Sloe Ride. One of the threads that has run through the whole series is about the way that his family treats Quinn. He’s different. At first, it just seemed that he was different because he went into academia, where nearly all the other Morgans have become cops like dad. (There is one who became a firefighter instead, but he’s the black sheep of the family).

It turns out that it’s not just that Quinn took a different life path, it’s that Quinn really is different. In Sloe Ride, we finally get to see a bit into Quinn’s head, and it’s a fantastic place. Like M.C. Escher painting fantastic. If I were practicing psychology without a license, I would say that Quinn has a high functioning form of autism, probably Asperger’s. Exactly what makes Quinn different is never specifically said, but his mind is definitely wired slightly off-kilter. Particularly in the middle of a family of no-nonsense police officers.

That Quinn is gay is not what makes him different. That’s also cool. Whatever is strange about him has nothing to do with who he sleeps with, and that’s a much more interesting way to tell his story.

We also have a story about making a real relationship with your high school crush/older brother’s best friend. It’s a classic for a reason. There’s been lots of looking without touching, lots of history of friendship that can’t be anything more, lots of bittersweet memories. Again, not because Rafe is gay, but because Quinn needed to grow up first.

And because Rafe went out and made a complete clusterfuck of his life. He reminds me of Ezra Hurley in Lauren Dane’s Broken Open. Both men were rock stars, and both men fell into a vicious cycle of drugs and broken promises. Now both have come out the other side of rehab and are trying to find ways to go on with their lives and make up for their assholery with as many people as are willing to listen.

A big part of this story is about Quinn standing up for himself against his family. They all mean terribly well, and they all treat him as fragile as glass. It’s partly because he’s not a cop, and partly because he attempted suicide in his teens. But now he’s pushing 30, and he wants to stand on his own two feet. He just has to elbow his entire family out of the way to get there.

That they all have had this pattern for so long means that no one sits back and looks at a reasonable way of dealing with what is a very real threat to Quinn’s life until it is almost too late. They’ve all been so busy trying to protect him for his own good that he pushes them away, and it is not an unreasonable reaction on his part – it’s just the one most likely to get him killed.

As much as I adore this series, I’m kind of glad that it’s over. I don’t want anything else bad to happen to any of these guys, I love them and they’ve all been through enough. And I’ll confess that the one part of the story that stretches my willing suspension of disbelief is the way that all four guys have become targets of crazed murderers. No group this small has luck this bad.

And even though the reasons that Quinn, and eventually Rafe, were targeted seem slightly more plausible than in a couple of the other books, it was starting to feel like living in the small town where Murder She Wrote used to take place. Too many crazed killers too close together.

Hopefully, now they are all safe. And YAY! there’s a new band in town and they are awesome.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.
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