The main thing that needs to be known is that the blurb is both very misleading and does not do the book justice. If you're looking for an amazing book set around an underground organization you will get it. However, if you're looking for a book with a focus on gay romance you will not. It's difficult for me to classify this as m/m at all because honestly the romance between Nikki and Nate was more of a behind the scenes romance that you barely saw while the m/f romance between Morgan and Julian took center stage.
The trials and errors of what Julian and Nikki did within the organization were both fascinating and horrifying. I enjoyed reading about what they did. I loved seeing them go through with their plans, seeing them get hurt and seeing them fight as only proud men can. The setting and the problems with the city and the organization is exactly what I'm looking for when I want a mobster book. I want to know about the crimes that happen, the people that are murdered and the innocents that are lost. I would give this book 10 stars if it had just been that because in all honesty it was an extremely captivating world. I was sucked in literally from the start because of it.
While I had a couple of problems with the book my main issue was how weak the m/m romance was. I was expecting a lot of it from the blurb but instead I felt like I got slapped in the face with an m/f relationship instead. In reality, this book turned out to be completely different than I expected but once I got past my shock of girlie bits I ended up loving the book (that of course didn't stop me from bitching about the m/f or from hating the stupid girl in it).
The plot in this book is shocking, chaotic, suspenseful, heart breaking and absolutely fucking crushing. Its funny at times and sweet at others then it'll be heart-clenchingly sad. I've cried at least twice during it and even now my chest hurts. Even when I thought things would start to settle, events are again set into motion Such as Julian being a complete dumbass and basically starting his own city which causes old enemies to return that makes Julian and Nate unable to leave their old life behind but at the same time it cements Nate getting something he truly wants. Don't mistake me, however, this story does end happily mostly.
One thing that needs to be said is this story is in no way easy. Something completely major and completely fucked up happens towards the middle and things turn crazy and havoc reigns and things just get worse because of it. The characters are all broken in one way or another and if they aren't at the beginning they are after the tragic event that happens. I fell in love with Nikki, Nate and Julian. They are all damaged but they all need each other. If I could change anything I would allow Nikki to survive. The book was intense but I would have given anything for him to cheat death just one more time and see him and Nate get the HEA they truly deserve. And even though that didn't happen, I'm still happy with how the book turned out. Sure, I still have my hangups about it but I absolutely loved it anyway.
The writing is good but at times it feels stunted and choppy. There are more than just a few editing mistakes and there are POV shifts almost constantly so at times the head-hopping gets a bit annoying. The flow of the story is easy to follow even though the beginning was a bit hard to get through but once you get used to the style, it's very easy to follow along.
All in all, would I recommend this book? Yes and no. The premise is the absolutely best thing about this story. The idea that an organization can literally rule a whole city is unrealistic but in this book it's completely believable and I'd recommend this book just for that because in the end, it's not all roses and daises. The organization does fall and we see that happen. Some people are turned off by m/f romances and all I can say is I am too. I probably wouldn't have read this if I'd known it's predominately m/f and while I would have missed out on an amazing book I wouldn't have been the wiser about it. I'm glad Nate got an HEA but in the end while he and Nikki are in the blurb, I still know barely anything about them besides a few facts I learned here and there from Julian or Morgan. They weren't the focus of the story even with how influential Nikki is to everyone. So if anything, let this be a warning that you'll be reading a het romance but also that this was bittersweet. It does not end well for almost everyone but it does have an HEA for those who do survive. It was both a painful read and a intense one but in the end I walk away with the pleasure of being able to have read it.