Monday, August 27, 2012

Lis’ Review: Latin Boyz by P.A. Brown

P.A. Brown
Latin Boyz
Amber Allure, February 26, 2012 | 250 pages

Author’s website | Goodreads | Buy book here

Gabe's entire world is gang-ridden Cypress Park, in South Central L.A. His mother died in a drive-by gang hit on the wrong house. His fourteen-year-old sister was left brain-damaged by the same bullet. He dreams of escaping and rescuing the rest of his family before the gang jumps him or finishes the hit on him.
Gabe's life is further complicated when the shooters return and young LAPD officer Alejandro Cerveras answers the 911 call. To the Eme, the all-powerful Mexican Mafia, homosexuality is not an acceptable lifestyle choice, so will Gabe's attraction to Alejandro be his undoing or his salvation?

The police and courts have failed him every time. Now, with his back against the wall, Gabe can either run or fight on his own terms...

Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Contemporary, Gangs, Death, Coming Out, Multi-Cultural, Suspense, HFN

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2 out of 3 flames


Reviewed by Lis:

**Warning: this review contains spoilers**

Latin Boyz is a very hard book to read. It has very dark elements and I would count it more drama, with detective/mystery elements than a romance. Note that this doesn’t take away from the book.

The story focuses on the hard life Gabe and his family have in the gang infested neighborhood Cypress Park, in South Central LA. Recently his mother was killed in a drive-by that left his 14-year old sister brain damaged. The drive-by was executed by gang bangers Gabe knows, but the police won’t do anything. It’s almost like a war zone or a country onto itself.
When there is another drive-by, Gabe doesn’t expect the police to do anything, but he then meets LAPD officer Alejandro Cerveras, who might just be different from all the other cops.

What then follows is a story that has very dark elements. Hardest for me to read was the rape of Gabe’s sister and her death and the lack of justice this story has. Gabe has a lot to endure in this story, from violence to loss and the burning of his house and there is not much to counter that.
There is no revenge, not in the way I would have liked to see it. The end, although hopeful, is also downright depressing.

What makes it hard to read this story is that there are elements of truth in it. L.A. has parts, like other major cities in America that are gang riddled and called war zones. There is no justice there and there might as well be a Gabe out there. And for someone who lives in a small country like the Netherlands where we do have cities where you’d rather not be and cities that even have gangs, neighborhoods like the ones described here are absent. In a way it’s hard for me to face that there really are such gang infested cities in such a western country. In a way this would have been much easier to read if it had been fantasy or science fiction.

There were times that I didn’t understand how nothing could be done. It was obvious who was behind the attack and even with all the evidence; P-Bull should have been arrested. There was DNA from Natty’s rape and statements; yet, nothing was done about it, making me wonder if the police were even competent and if Alejandro was even doing anything. That part of the story was underdeveloped for me. It made me wonder if it was just used to portray the hardships Gabe and Natty go through.

Back to the story, despite my ramblings, this is not a bad story. Dark yes, but well put together in a story that brings the world Gabe and Alejandro live in to life. Bring tissues if you read this one though.

There are a few niggles in the continuation of Latin Boyz but nothing essential and nothing that takes away from the story as a whole.
The characterizations are neatly done making both Alejandro and Gabe rounded characters with their own flaws and perks. Gabe has an incredibly strong spirit to weather all the storms that come his way. He is also stubborn, because being gay in his culture is something that kills you faster than a mouse in a house full of cats. Combined with his catholic upbringing, his reluctance to come to terms with being gay is understandable.

Alejandro has a strong sense of justice and duty, but is also caring. He cares way more for Gabe than he lets on or that Gabe even notices. The story is much less about Alejandro; it’s more that he is part of the story and becomes part of Gabe’s life and family.

Latin Boyz is a dark, gritty story that shows the harsh realities of living on the wrong side of town. It’s not a read for everyone. By the end of it, the story had me so wound up and frustrated that I wanted to growl and ask the author to make it right. There is romance, but it doesn’t take precedence, it’s more integrated in the story as a whole.


  1. I found this more frustrating than rewarding - it was like reading an Oprah book, where nothing good ever happens.

    1. It is one hell of a frustrating read and if I wasn't reviewing it, I probably wouldn't have picked it up, but objectively, it's a good book. It's hard to read though.

  2. Lovely review Lis. Hmmm. I love books that have that real feeling, when villians don't necessarily get their comeuppance, but...I do like some hope at the end. And it does sound like a hard book to read...

    1. Thanks Orannia. It's a hard book to read and there is sort of hope at the ending, but it's a difficult time, so it's hard to gauge.


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