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Book Review: Vice City by S.A. Stovall

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Book Review: Vice City by S.A. Stovall

Book Info

Book Series
Vice City #1
About the Author
S.A. Stovall grew up in California’s central valley with a single mother and little brother. Despite no one in her family having a degree higher than a GED, she put herself through college (earning a BA in History), and then continued on to law school where she obtained her Juris Doctorate. 

As a child, Stovall’s favorite novel was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. The adventure on a deserted island opened her mind to ideas and realities she had never given thought before—and it was the moment Stovall realized that story telling (specifically fiction) became her passion. Anything that told a story, be it a movie, book, video game or comic, she had to experience. Now, as a professor and author, Stovall wants to add her voice to the myriad of stories in the world, and she hopes you enjoy. 
Publication Date
June 20, 2017
Available Formats
epub, mobi, pdf
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.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Brilliant and Original!
  Cover – Perfect!
 POV – 1st person, present tense, one character
 Would I read it again – Yes!
 Genre – LGBT, Crime, Mystery


 Wow, that was one explosive, original take on the mafia sub-genre.

 Before I go any further, there are some content warnings – the story deals with drugs, death, murder, very light Dom/sub elements, the usual Mafia and gang related activities, mild torture and discussion of children being beaten.

 With an intriguing start, I was hooked from page one and drawn into this world of vice, guns, crime and mafioso. Pierce is a great character to give his POV and the adventures he went on through this novel was staggering for the amount of pages. Yet it never felt overdone. Every 'adventure' had a purpose, a meaning and a connection to the others that came before and after it.

 With a great balance of pace and detail, we were able to explore this world that Pierce has been part of for about twenty years, starting with the night he meets Miles for the first time and his life changes forever. I love the logic and reason that went into bringing Miles and Pierce together, and keeping them together. It never felt forced or unrealistic. It felt exactly the way it should; a series of circumstances that resulted in an inevitable solution. Even when Miles decides to use sex as a payment method for all of Pierce's help, it makes sense. Both because of Pierce's well known reputation for being gay, but also for the situation, for Miles' sense of pride and honour, but also because the burning curiosity was already shown in Miles right from the start. Their May/December romance is in some ways predictable, given their state of minds and their ability to get on so well together, but also lovely and surprising for them both, after being alone for so long.

 There is first-time sex, with a guy who was either closeted or just too young to really experience much of life beforehand. We know Miles' father and older brother used to beat him, so maybe it was because he was gay or maybe it was just because they were trash who were jealous. Either way, I loved the way that Miles navigated this new experience he was so uncertain about. Like he says to Pierce, at one point, he might be submissive by nature, but he knows when to ask for things he wants and when not to be a doormat, which I loved to see.

 To say the characterisation was good would be like saying I love reading. It's a gross understatement. Through a balance of showing/telling the past of the characters and experiencing their present time together, while they had conversations and thoughts that illuminated parts of their personality, we were able to quickly care about and learn about Pierce and Miles in a way that made them feel familiar. They were a natural fit with each other, while being somewhat relatable to us readers, even if just in small ways. I really loved their honesty with each other, even when it came to the awkward stuff.

 I even loved Brisko and Guinevere, who had a great part in the story. I liked Rodger, who was quirky and a little weird in a sweet, innocent way, while Jeremy and Jayden were a real piece of work. Nick was an intriguing boss and someone who reminded me of The Sopranos or The Godfather; he had a real head for business, logic and reason guiding him to make the best decisions, while having some hot headed moments.

 I'll admit, there's not a lot I can say about the plot without spoiling it, which I won't do, but I loved how it had this careful balance between Pierce enjoying his time with Miles (and worrying about it, frequently) while equally exploring his time as an enforcer and all that it entailed. One never outdid the other, because they were both just as important to Pierce. There are some very minor editing issues which had next to no effect on the reading or understanding of the story, which is brilliant.

 Overall, I loved every inch of it. It was gritty, tough and serious at times, but with lighthearted moments in between. It wasn't dark, though, as some books go. It didn't delve into the truly horrifying aspects in a way that would make you turn away and not be sure if you wanted to finish it. It simply told a very realistic story about a gang enforcer and how he navigated his familiar world with a newbie who, as each day passed, looked more and more like a shining light of revelation. I can't wait to read the next book! My fingers are itching for it already.


 Favourite Quotes

 ““At least you're not an idiot like Brisko and Pete,” I say as the elevator reaches the top. “I prefer workin' with someone who knows a yard can also be a unit of measurement.”
 He laughs once and then quiets himself, but his posture goes back to relaxed.”
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