Vice City & Vice Enforcer by S.A. Stovall
* Strong characters
* Engaging story
* Some intense scenes (not really a negative, more an FYI)
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.
Vice City: Book Two
Holding on to a life worth living can be hard when the nightmares of the past come knocking.
Eight months ago, Nicholas Pierce, ex-mob enforcer, faked his death and assumed a new identity to escape sadistic mob boss Jeremy Vice. With no contacts outside the underworld, Pierce finds work with a washed-up PI. It’s an easy enough gig—until investigating a human trafficking ring drags him back to his old stomping grounds.
Miles Devonport, Pierce’s partner, is currently top of his class at the police academy while single-handedly holding his family together. But when one lieutenant questions Pierce’s past and his involvement in the investigation, Miles must put his future on the line to keep Pierce’s secrets.
The situation becomes dire when it’s discovered the traffickers have connections to the Vice family. The lives of everyone Pierce cares about are in danger—not least of all his own, if Jeremy Vice learns he’s back from the dead. Pierce and Miles face a conspiracy that reaches the highest levels—one that will gladly destroy them to keep operating. As Pierce uses every dirty trick he learned from organized crime to protect the new life he’s building, he realizes that no matter how hard he tries, he might never escape his past.
But he’s not going down without a fight.
Lately I’ve been in a ‘not hearts and flowers’ kind of mood in my reading. First came Amy Lane’s ‘Fish’ series, and now the Vice City series by S.A. Stovall. If you’re looking for sweet, you’re definitely barking up the wrong tree here. Because it’s a two book series, with the second one coming in a few days, I decided to go ahead and do one review to cover both books.
Meet Nicholas Pierce. He’s not a nice man. In fact, he’s hard and dark and… Okay, sexy. He’s a killer, but he has a code of ethics that he lives by. He doesn’t hurt innocent people–if he can help it–and he treats regular people decently, not only because they may be useful to him at some point, but because deep down he’s not a really bad guy. Oh, it’s confusing, but you’ll have to trust me on this. When the first book opens, we meet Pierce as he’s watching a young man be beaten. Harshly. Like with a wrench harsh. And he stands back and watches as it happens. Now, a good man would step in here and rescue the victim, like a white knight. Not Pierce. He’s standing there, thinking about how these guys are doing it all wrong. Yes, when we first meet Nicholas Pierce, you want to hate him.
See, it’s that ‘but’ we have to be concerned with. Pierce has to make a decision. Let the kid die, or save him. To be honest, it’s not much of a decision, because if he killed him, we wouldn’t have a book. So he saves the kid–Miles–and thus starts the story of one man’s attempt to rise above who he is, and become someone he can like.
Throughout the book, Pierce deals with moral ambiguity. Yes, he kills people. Yes, he saves people. Yes, he wants to kill some of the people he saves. It’s all a morass for him. But Miles? He’s a good guy. He’s a moral compass for Pierce, and he’s guiding him on the path to becoming something…more.
S.A. Stovall has many layers in this book. Things you think will happen, don’t. Things you’re sure won’t happen, do. It’s a fascinating, sometimes psychological, read as Pierce struggles with how he’s going to live his life. Or die trying.
Now, in book two, we see the aftermath of what’s happened in the first book. As you can see by the blurb, Pierce survives, but is reinvented as another man. A private investigator who, for better or worse, is training under another guy. This…is harsh. They stumble upon a human trafficking ring–or do they actually stumble?–and Pierce’s past come back to haunt him, but his future’s not looking so rosy either, as old enemies, new friends, and a life-altering decision rocks his already fragile world.
If you’re looking for a great read without a lot of romance, this is for you. If you’re looking for romance? Well, this book has some, but it’s not sweet or pure. It’s hot, raw, and sweaty.
Give it a chance, and you may be surprised how the journey to vice can be worth the trip.