For Vice City, my first novel with DSP Publications, the main character, Nicholas Pierce, is a criminal. He’s a mob enforcer that does all sorts of dirty work for a family syndicate, and he’s pretty darn good at it, too.
Here’s the thing—I went to law school and worked in the drug courts for quite some time, and I know the terrible effects that long-term criminal activity can have on a person (and a community). Crime really isn’t a laughing matter, and it destroys people through and through. That being said, why have the main character actively engage in criminal activity, especially when I’ve seen the horrors in real life?
Firstly and foremost, it’s because I love redemption stories. I love, love, love anti-heroes, villains-turned-hero, and all that jazz. Pierce isn’t a good man, but through the process of saving Miles (and his douchebag brother) a small piece of him changes forever. Those kinds of stories really get to me. I knew I wanted to write one at some point in my life.
Second, I wrote from the perspective of a criminal because it’s exciting. I don’t read many stories where the main character is a bad guy coming around to the light, and I really enjoy them. The excitement of being neck-deep in criminal affairs and attempting to claw your way out is something that sparks the imagination. Pierce has gangbanger “friends,” but are any of them trustworthy? Can he trust them to keep secrets? And what if the whole syndicate turns against him?
I love the tension it brings to the table, and I like rooting for a man who knows he’s done wrong and wants to make it right. It gives me hope for humanity—especially because I saw it in the drug courts from time to time. Criminals wanted to change, and those that did managed to live happy lives. It’s heartwarming, and reminds me that anyone can change, even drug abusing neo-Nazis.
So if you want to see a hard-won redemption story involving a few mobsters, check out Vice City.