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Reviewed by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers' Favorite
Two Shades of Vice: Based on the True Story of an Interracial Couple's Life Together in Crime by Dewey Reynolds is a true crime story that explores powerful cultural and political issues in a great historical setting. In a story set against the tumultuous backdrop of Kansas in the 1960s, readers are introduced to Gordon Reynolds, a nasty criminal who served time in prison in five different states over a period of twenty-five years. Now he is determined to establish himself in the world of prostitution, cigarettes, robbery, hijacking, and bootlegging whiskey.
When Gordon Reynolds meets a woman, Alla Mae Briggs, who has a string of convictions behind her for soliciting and prostitution, he is certain she is the perfect recruit. Alla Mae Briggs has what it takes to create the connection he needs between clients and hookers. At the time his business starts thriving, they meet with a lot of difficulties and these include racist cops, jealous pimps, unforgiving gangsters, and supremacist groups. Can this interracial couple come out of the fray unscathed?
Dewey Reynolds’ book is well-written and the narrative voice is boosted by the strong descriptive prose and exciting dialogues. One gets the feeling that the book is well-researched and one notices the skillful development of the setting. The themes are well-treated, and whether it’s about the color line or crime, love or friendship, the author does a wonderful job of weaving themes seamlessly into the narrative. While the story is very entertaining, it also depicts the atmosphere in Kansas in the 1960s and the compelling social commentaries add to the strength of the narrative. Two Shades of Vice: Based on the True Story of an Interracial Couple's Life Together in Crime is gripping, a true crime tale that reads like a well-crafted piece of fiction, a real page-turner.