Author: Shami Stovall
Publisher: DSP Publications
Rating: 4 stars
Provided by Publisher
Blurb: After twenty years as an enforcer for the Vice family mob, Nicholas Pierce shouldn’t bat an eye at seeing a guy get worked over and tossed in the river. But there’s something about the suspected police mole, Miles, that has Pierce second-guessing himself. The kid is just trying to look out for his brother any way he knows how, and the altruistic motive sparks an uncharacteristic act of mercy that involves Pierce taking Miles under his wing.
Miles wants to repay Pierce for saving his life. Pierce shouldn’t see him as anything but a convenient hookup… and he sure as hell shouldn’t get involved in Miles’s doomed quest to get his brother out of a rival street gang. He shouldn’t do a lot of things, but life on the streets isn’t about following the rules. Besides, he’s sick of being abused by the Vice family, especially Mr. Vice and his power-hungry goon of a son, who treats his underlings like playthings.
So Pierce does the absolute last thing he should do if he wants to keep breathing—he leaves the Vice family in the middle of a turf war.
Review: Vice City is a dark and gritty tale about a mob style family locked in a turf war with a rival gang. Pierce is the main enforer of the Vice family. He’s their go to to make sure ANYTHING that needs done gets done. Pierce is not what most people would consider a good man considering he kills and tortures people for the mob. He has a moment of weakness when during the interrogation of about a young guy new to their organization. They think he’s a snitch. Instead of just killing him like he normally would he takes him under his wing to save his life. Miles has gotten mixed up with the Vice family because he wants to help his brother get his life back on track. He needs money to send him to school. Basically Miles is a martyr. Perfectly happy to trade his own life and happiness for his brother. Miles did not have a happy or healthy upbringing. Sadly the small amount of kindness Pierce shows him is more than he’s ever known. This and his strong attraction has the two getting closer when the plan was for Miles to skip town with his brother.
Pierce wasn’t exactly a likable character but he is an intriguing one. He’s gruff and straightforward. Doesn’t want any kind of attachment given his job. He knows he won’t live long in this life. Pierce thinks he’s not meant for a normal life or happiness. Even though he’s a huge trustworthy asset to his boss he still has to mind his tongue and do what they say. I think reading about his thought process in getting out of each volatile situation was the most compelling part of this story. He never had a chance to finish high school but he’s street smart and good at reading people. He’s also VERY capable of handling almost anything thrown at him physically. I will say I appreciated he wasn’t untouchable. He’s tough but he hurts and has to swallow his pride to those with his life in their hands. True freedom is an illusion for guys like him. His character development was amazing and well worth reading this book. Miles character was a very much the kicked puppy pulling at your heartstrings. He’s capable and smarter than people give him credit for however. Miles loyalty to his brother never wavers even as his brother cuts him at every turn. You get a sense of why he’s so easily drawn to the most basic kindness shown by Pierce.
I have to admit the relationship between Pierce and Miles was a little icky for me at times. There’s little sweetness between the two until the end. It starts off as Miles paying him back in sexual favors though he’s never done it before for saving his life. Miles wants to do these things. He gets off on it apparently. To submitting and being used. Pierce shows no tenderness and treats him like the sex toy others claim Miles to be. Miles is young and inexperienced. Pierce sees no problem with taking what Miles offers. Basically don’t eexpect any warm and fuzzy here. Ultimately it works for them.
Another thing I loved about this book is the strong tone set from the first page. You’re basically dropped into this dangerous world with messed up characters struggling to survive. There are tons of brutal fight scenes. Some interrogation beatings and lots of violence. The Vice family dynamic was interesting. I did think the book was fairly predictable in regards to the mole but I still enjoyed it. The ending goes off the rails a little with some OTT the top bad guy craziness. It does fit that Pierce doesn’t see himself as a person of value beyond his work for the Vice Family. He’s a tool to use until he’s of no more use to them. In any way they see fit. If you’re in the mood for a violent Noir Crime Fiction then I’d suggest picking this one up. Looks like it’s going to be a series so there’s more to come from this world.