Title: Vice City (Vice City: Book One)
Author: S.A. Stovall
Publisher: DSP Publications
Length: 234 Pages
At a Glance: A fantastic and intense read that deeply satisfied my love of gay fiction and noir. Buon appetito!
Reviewed By: Ben
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: As a lover of noir and crime fiction, I highly recommend this first book in what will hopefully be a very long and satisfying series. Our protagonist, Nick Pierce, was ‘saved’ from a life of poverty by the Vice family mob, and has single-mindedly worked for them as a head enforcer for twenty years, killing and torturing people for cold cash. He’s pretty good at what he does and has made some considerable money, but he lives a rather bleak existence: he has no friends, is most definitely an alcoholic, probably has issues with narcotics, and despite him being faithful to a fault, the entire Vice family treats him like a dog.
They throw money at him as a justification for tossing him into impossibly dangerous situations. For his efforts, he’s looked down on and called names. Along with cash, they bribe him with ass and push drugs on him. It’s clear the Vice family is going to use him up and spit him out. While some may see a successful and skillful businessman in Nick Pierce, I see a man who is merely waiting for the jig to be up. There’s no escaping. There’s nothing to escape to. Until Miles.
Miles is a punk kid who finds himself involved with the mob because his brother is stupid and greedy and gets roped into working for the Cobras, the sworn enemy of the Vice family. He has one goal, to get both he and his brother out of the mob and out of town, but every attempt lands him that much closer to being axed. It’s no surprise when he’s finally caught in the Vice family’s net and Nick is sent in to take him out.
Nick has killed hundreds of people for doing less stupid things than being an informant for the freaking police; however, there’s something alluring about the kid, and Nick can’t seem to bring himself to kill him. So, he makes up a story, takes him home, and plans to give the kid some cash and let him skip town. That decision causes Nick’s world to take a sudden turn.
Miles is barely an adult. As an idealist—weren’t we all at that age?—he looks to Nick as if he’s his own personal savior and angel. You and I know that isn’t the case, but Miles… he’s young and stupid, and he’s not leaving without his brother. He needs Nick’s help and he’s prepared to get that help any way possible.
Nick is a mobster, through and through. Sure, he has a code, or whatever you want to call it, and sure, he did nice things for the kid, but he’s not a good guy. He beats people, kills people, and he really doesn’t feel that bad about it. With these kinds of stories, there’s only so many ways they can go, y’know?
I’m not going to blow sunshine up anyone’s ass on this one. It ain’t a romance. Nick’s keeping this kid around maybe because there’s something in the kids eyes that speaks to him on some kinda profound level, but mostly because his dick wants to be all up in that kid’s junk. And the kid knows it.
I can’t speak much about my favorite parts of this story without spoiling a measure of the suspense, but Nick is a brilliant asshole and quite the character. His every move betrays a deep and cunning viciousness. It’s no question that if I were to meet Nick in person, I’d want to be on his good side. But I wouldn’t want to be on that good of his side, if you know what I mean. He’s a kinky and intensely dominant fucker.
While Miles is clearly hopelessly misguided, and possibly missing a few brain cells, Nick is revealed to be the severely confused and vulnerable one, who is constantly thrown off balance by Miles’s demands. While attempting to save Miles and his brother from the impending turf war, Nick finds himself headed for a phenomenally inconvenient personal crisis. Nick’s a loner, a cold-hearted killer, and he uses some rather impolite language, if I do say so myself. He knows there’s no real hope for him.
And it’ll be a miracle if he can get the kid out.
The noir setting absolutely gripped me with stark details, and the plot moved along nicely. Besides Miles and Nick, some of the characters were perhaps a bit one-dimensional, but I still enjoyed them. It’s as if I were coming home to old friends, but instead of some dame with legs that go on for miles, there was a sir whose legs stretched on for miles. Part of me wonders if Miles and the name of the town, Noimore, was a bit of a play on words, but what’s certain is that this was a fantastic and intense read which deeply satisfied my love of gay fiction and noir. Buon appetito!
You can buy Vice City here: