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Ice-T, rapper and one of the stars of Law and Order: SVU, tries his hand at crime fiction, with the help of co-writer Radcliff.

Marcus “Crush” Casey is paroled from Attica after serving 20 years on charges related to his leading the Vicetown Kings, a New York City gang. Gulliver Rono, his chief lieutenant, betrayed him to the authorities to take over leadership of the Kings. Now Crush wants revenge, but he’s been “schooled” in prison by the legendary “Mack D,” an autodidact intellectual. From Mack, he has soaked up the wisdom of nearly every deep thinker from Aristotle to Sun Tzu. Now Crush has contrived an elaborate plot to take vengeance on Rono and regain leadership of the Kings. Crush also wants to make the gang into something more than a rough bunch of dope “slangers.” Crush is intelligent and ruthless, but not a particularly likable protagonist, and the authors never make clear whether Crush intends to move the Kings into legitimate activities. Most of the action spins around the revenge quest against Rono and the co-opting of both the city’s prominent Hispanic gang, the Blood Devils, and its remorseless Asian gang, the Black Lotuses, a group involved in the sex-slave business. Crush may be down with supplying drugs, but he cannot stomach the brutal abuse of young girls. As Crush’s campaign moves toward its conclusion, readers learn there is more than one "playa" seeking his own brand of justice and more than one schemer pulling stings. While this vengeance tale is sometimes plagued by overly clichéd writing, the use of gangster slang lends an air of believability. It is, however, a relatively slow-moving crime caper, with much rationalization and philosophical musings apparently meant to add gravitas.  

The open-ended conclusion suggests Crush may appear again. The snipers, flash grenades and car chases suggest Ice-T is readying a screen treatment.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7653-2513-6
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Forge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2011


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