Guest Reviewed by Trish
Title: Boystown: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries
Author: Marshall Thornton
Series: Boystown #1
Heroes: Nick Nowak
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 210 Pages
Publisher: Marshall Thornton
Release Date: (previously released – November 1, 2009) January 9, 2015
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: A former police officer turned private investigator, Nick Nowak is haunted by his abrupt departure from the department, as well as, the traumatic end of his relationship with librarian Daniel Laverty. In these three stories set in Chicago during the early eighties, Nick locates a missing young man for a mysterious client, solves a case of arson at a popular nightspot, and goes undercover to prove a dramatic suicide was actually murder. When he isn’t detecting, and sometimes when he is, Nick moves through a series of casual relationships. But his long suppressed romantic side surfaces when he meets Detective Bert Harker. Will he give love another chance? Or, will he continue to bury himself in the arms of strangers.
Review: Yes! Just what I needed to read. This is not a romance, but it did give this girl lots of feels.
First, let’s start with the time frame. 1980s! Yes, my teenage upbringing was all 1980s. Even though I would consider this a contemporary story, some could argue it is historical. Let’s face it, 1980 was 35 years ago. There were no cell phones, no Grindr and definitely no condoms. The setting takes place in the popular Boystown of Chicago. This story does not hold back, and kudos to the author for a gritty, in-your-face story about a gay man living life in pre-aids 1980s.
The main and humanly-flawed character, Nick Nowak, is a retired cop who owns his own PI business. I think Nick is a character that people will either love and connect with instantly or completely hate. I was fortunate enough to fall head over heels. He keeps people at a distance with his aloof and sarcastic persona and lives a bit on the wild side with lots of loveless and nameless sex. As I said, it’s not a romance with flowers and cuddles, but ultimately, the series has an underlying love story.
Boystown is book 1 in the series. Each book has their own mysteries, which on their own, were realistic and entertaining but not mind blowing. However, one does not read a Nick Nowak story for just the mystery, one reads a Nick Nowak story for NICK the man! It’s his journey and how he deals with his not-so-great family, his friends, his old co workers and his ex Daniel. And as Nick moves through his life solving cases, he meets Chicago Detective Bert Harker. And this Detective just may change Nick’s life. Nick and Bert; To be continued in Boystown 2.
If your kind of story trope requires sappy, sweet romantic interludes, then run fast from Nick. I love that Nick is written as a flawed man who makes no excuses for his life and how he lives it. He’s not a bad guy, he is a real guy who is, shockingly not perfect. If that kind of character intrigues you, then run fast to Nick in Boystown.
Overall Impression: I liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*