Book Reviews

Boystown: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries (Boystown Mysteries 1) by Marshall Thornton

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 02-March-2018

Book Blurb

"Like most guys, I'm a sucker for easy sex and a fast buck. Unlike most guys, I should know better."

Finalist for the Lambda Award in Gay Mystery, Boystown: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries takes place in Chicago during the early 1980s. Haunted by his abrupt departure from the Chicago Police Department and the end of his relationship with librarian Daniel Laverty, Nick Nowak is a beat cop-turned-dogged private investigator. In this first book of the best-selling series, Nick works through three cases: a seemingly simple missing persons search, an arson investigation, and a suicide that turns out to be anything but. While working the cases, Nick moves through a series of casual relationships until he meets homicide detective Bert Harker and begins a tentative relationship.

First Edition published by Torquere Press, November 2009.

Second Edition self-published, August 2013.

Book Review

‘Boystown' is a collection of three mysteries from Detective Nick Nowack's case files. The stories are so tightly entwined that it was difficult for me to review each separately. The tales reminded me of the 1950s law enforcement series 'Dragnet'. In several instances, I could hear Joe Friday, the main character of 'Dragnet', reading Nick's words in his dead pan narration style.

In the very first paragraph, Nick sets the tone when he says, “Like most guys, I’m a sucker for easy sex and a fast buck. Unlike most guys, I should know better.” Nick Nowack 'does' know better. Although he is a good detective, he is caught up in a self-destructive pattern of denial and pain causing his outlook on life to be skewed.

After Nick was fired and virtually shunned by everyone who once respected and loved him, including Daniel, the love of his life, he understandably becomes bitter and resentful. Nick sees the world through eyes of pain. He has a 'hurt before I get hurt' attitude. While not allowing himself to feel anything, he won't feel the inevitable pain and rejection life so often brings. However, he also will not receive the nurturing brought about by love and joy. This is Nick's way of punishing himself for all his regrets.

'Boystown' is a collection of hard boiled detective stories with suspects, clues, many twists and turns and a resolution. These are not just stories about a gay detective. They are detective stories in which the main character happens to be gay. The stories are an unsentimental look at Nick Nowack's life. They're not at all romantic. The stories are to the point--no frills, no foreplay. The collection has the ingredients of sufficiently mysterious, sexy, and brutally honest stories. The final story even has a hint of a happy ending.

If you are looking for gay romance stories, it's unlikely that you will like this book. However, if you want to read complex stories with an even more complex main character, 'Boystown' may be a book you will enjoy.





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Additional Information

Format ebook, print and audio
Length Collection/ 3 short stories, 241 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 09-January-2015
Price $6.99 ebook, $11.99 paperback, $17.95 audiobook
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