Reviewed by Susan65
Title: From the Ashes
Author: Marshall Thornton
Series: Boystown #6
Heroes: Nick Nowak
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 196 Pages
Publisher: MLR Press
Release Date: May 23, 2014
Available at: MLR Press, Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: The most unlikely person in the world asks Private Investigator Nick Nowak to investigate the un-suspicious death of a priest. It’s winter 1984, Private Investigator Nick Nowak has allowed his life to fall to pieces: he’s stopped taking cases, lost his apartment and works as a bartender at a sleazy bar tucked under the El. All he wants to do is lick his wounds after the death of his lover, Detective Bert Harker. But, when the least likely person in the world shows up and asks him to take a new case he finds himself investigating the very un-suspicious heart attack death of a priest. Nick is convinced he’s wasting his time until the clues begin to add up to.
I don’t know that I had any set expectations when I started the Boystown series, but it wasn’t what I just read. In the MM genre, there are normally two main characters that surround the series, or at least ends up with two at the end. In this case, we are following the life of Private Investigator Nick Nowak.
Nick is recovering from the murder of his lover in the last book (and his subsequent killing of his lover’s murderer, who also happened to be a wanted serial killer), and seems to floundering pretty badly. He’s given up his PI career and replaced it with alcohol, now conveniently working as a bartender. That’s just sad, understandable, but really sad.
His own private pity party is put on hold when his lover’s mother, the crazy Mrs. Harker, guilts him into investigating the death of her priest…a priest who died of heart attack in front of witnesses. Nick knows that this investigation is going nowhere, but he decides to do it for her anyway.
What makes this such a unique story, and series, is the storytelling. The world building and life according to Nick is told in a beautiful, but blunt way. He is not the most endearing man, and his thoughts are quite negative at times, but the man himself is scarred. The world has not been very kind to Nick and he’s a bit jaded, but he is a good man at heart and that shows. It also comes out in his handling of the crazy Mrs. Harker; their photo album scenes made me sad.
The investigation into the death of Father Connie took twists and turns that I didn’t foresee. I was wrong in who was the antagonist; and not only was I wrong, I was way off base. So, if you like a good mystery wrapped around a troubled man who is trying to get his life back together, and you don’t mind forgoing the romance to get there, then this book is for you.
Overall Impression: I really liked it!
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*