Reviewed by Becca
TITLE: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries
SERIES: Boystown #1
AUTHOR: Marshall Thornton
PUBLISHER: Kenmore Books
LENGTH: 241 Pages
RELEASE DATE: January 9, 2015
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 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.
I have to admit I was very intrigued by Marshall Thornton when I read another book of his. So when the opportunity came up to review his Boystown series I leaped at the chance. And I was not disappointed. The author is an exceptional writer and I love his mysteries. If this first book is any indication of the rest of the series, then I am in love. This first book was really good.
We travel back in time to the 80s in Chicago where the mafia still runs everything and being gay is unfortunately taboo. Nick Nowak had to leave the Chicago PD quickly after he and his boyfriend were mugged walking home. Being ousted for being gay, Nick turns to P.I. work. His normal work includes background cases and the such but the next three cases he gets are definitely a mystery and get a little rough.
His first case seems like a simple missing person case, but it is far from it. From the beginning, Nick suspects something is off about the phone call he receives to hire him to find this boy. His second case involves a bar he worked at part-time. It was burned down and someone was badly injured. Again, something right off the bat proves hinky. The final case in this book involves a young boy who the police claim was a suicide. But after looking around less than a day, Nick knows something is off yet again.
Nick is a good P.I. I really loved how quick his brain works to put things together. Of course being a cop at one point in his life sure helps. But he has a good eye and a good common sense indicator which really helps in some of these cases. These cases become personal for him as he ends up with connections to the people he is investigating or looking for. And they cause him to face some things he doesn’t necessarily want to. But to get at the truth, he keeps digging until he finds what he is looking for. Sometimes he even faces death to get to the bottom of it.
The only thing Nick isn’t very good at is keeping it in his pants, lol. The man has more casual flings than anyone and isn’t afraid to boot them out after. I think that’s the only thing I disliked about Nick’s character. He is just too casual about sex and doesn’t seem to care. But I can almost understand to a point because after things ended with Daniel, the boyfriend he was with when the got mugged, he sort of gave up on life. And love. But during the last case, he meets Bert Harker and maybe things are finally looking up.