Thursday, 25 August 2011

Boystown by Marshall Thornton

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?

Nick is a loveable slut. He sleeps around, but hey, you can’t help but fall in love with the guy because although I don’t think he’d never say it outright, he’s hurting. The love of his life, Daniel, is no longer in his life, although he loves him still. I felt that rather than find another long-term partner, Nick buried himself (literally!) in other men to give himself moments of connection. These moments weren’t loving, they were all about sex, but these particular scenes aren’t long and drawn out but rather they give you just the right amount of imagery you need to get the idea. I really liked that. Here we have a guy intent on trying to move on, and then the delicious little snippets and memories that show why he can’t.

I adored the voice in Boystown. It’s 1st person—some people are born to write it, Marshall Thornton being one of them, in my opinion—and carries you along through Nick’s world and current case. There are three cases in this book, all wonderful, all equally interesting, and I couldn’t put the damn book down.

“Big Old Fag ready to find your missing boyfriend.”

He shrugged and said, “I love him,” as though that made up for everything.

It was the kind of line that would start a sex scene in a porno.

…with what turned out to be a potato.

“Don’t come on my rug.”

But you don’t want to be wrong about a thing like that.

A very enjoyable set of three mysteries that have a special something I can’t quite put my finger on. They have this wonderful P.I. ambience going on that could be cheesy but isn’t. Mr Thornton got the balance just right. I think Nick became one of my favourite characters to date with his sexual exploits and his warm heart hidden away in case it got broken again. Yes, I did love him. I think you will too!

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