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Summary

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?

Finalist for Lambda Literary Award - Gay Mystery 2012

©2009 Marshall Thornton (P)2013 Marshall Thornton

What listeners say about Boystown

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A 1980s Noir Mystery

The first thing you should know is that Boystown is not a romance. The second thing you should know is that Nick Nowak, the main character, is a hard man with many flaws. And third, this book deals with many issues and subject matters that can also be possibly triggering for some people.

Set in the early 1980s Chicago, Nick Nowak is a former cop who was unofficially kicked off the force when he was outed as gay. Now he works as private investigator, alienated from his former friends and family, and finding brief moments of pleasure in casual one night stands. Nick is a hard man to like at times – he’s self-centered, emotionally constipated, and bullheaded, yet despite his attempts, he’s also unsuspectedly compassionate and tender. This dichotomy makes Nick a fascinating character which only emphasizes the depth of the trauma he experienced in previous years.

This book is composed of three different novellas each featuring one case. The novellas are full of action, thrills, and sex, with a mystery that is solved by the end. However, each novella builds on the series plot. These plots are fascinating and completely enthralling – I was completely captivated. I also loved Marshall Thronton’s writing. He is a new-to-me author, but I can see why he was a finalist for the Lambda Awards.

The audiobook was narrated by Brad Langer who does a wonderful job. Nick Nowak is such a dynamic and complicated character, and Brad was able to bring him to life with all the right nuances and energy. The performance was well done and I found it engaging and thrilling without being over the top. The audiobook production sounded extremely professional and it made for a great listening experience.

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting Story

The concept is interesting and well written. The characters are likeable and the narration is good.

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Soo good

Not my normal sort of book, but it was so good.
A PI working in Chicago, this is 3 stories in one but all linked. Great writing and well narrated. Can't wait for the next lot.

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Three gritty and steamy stories

I really enjoyed listening to these gritty PI stories and the introduction to Nick Nowak 's life. The narrator's voice and style seemed to match the main character's personality. His narration is easy to follow.

I liked that these stories are set in the early eighties and that there's an overall romance ARC to the series. We witness the smoking, the homophobia shown by the cops, as well as Nick's frequent unprotected sexual encounters with strangers. You get a snap shot of life in Chicago nearly forty years ago. I have my guesses where this story is leading for one or two secondary characters.

Nick comes across as a likeable and hard-working character, whose heart is in the right place much of the time. I'm rooting for him to get his happy ever after later in the series.

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Digging this author

This is the first book of the Boystown Series by Marshall Thornton and the second book if his that I have read and enjoyed. I would have to say that Mr. Thornton definitely brings something different to his stories.
Based on the storylines and some of the dialogue you can tell these stories are a bit older but it doesn't detract from the stories at all.

The narrator is great at bringing Me Thornton's characters to life. And his stories so far are not your run of the mill gay romances. They are, however, very entertaining.

I was fortunate enough to receive this book for free as well as Boystown 2 and I cannot wait to listen to it.

This book is a great listen and well worth a credit.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 14-01-16

Three little mysteries

Nick is definitely a man of the 1980's and the story reads as though told by a man from that generation... So there is no anachronistic shock to deal with; we have smoking, drinking, unprotected sex (as AIDS was still ahead) and a dour attitude towards policing in Chicago. All in all a great listen/read.
I believe Brad Langer as Nick so the narration works well.
I believe Nick as a PI so the story base works well.
Yes, I'll read again. Also, adding the rest of the series to my TBR pile.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Heather
  • 19-09-14

Gritty, gay PI stories

If you like hard-boiled PI stories (think Raymond Chandler) and centering on the gay community you will like this series. there is no romance in this book - but there is sex. Sex that is just as grim and gritty as the story they are set in.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jackson
  • 24-10-13

chicago!

What did you love best about Boystown?

the author writes about life just before the beginning of the AIDS epidemic before people thought of casual sex as deadly. i know the history but for some reason it didn't strike me so much until reading this series. maybe because it's set in chicago, in the neighborhoods where i spend the most time. but anyway these stories are mostly fun, sexy mysteries with a serious back drop.

Any additional comments?

did i already say this? i loved reading a book set in chicago that never once mentions downtown or, god forbid, navy pier. in fact, they are set back when navy pier was just an old pier and not a tourist circus.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mark Regiec
  • 17-10-20

Liked it so much but more credits, for series

If you like James Lear, Dan Stagg Mystery series, and then you will like these. The sex scenes are hot and steamy, and the plots are equally interesting.

1 person found this helpful

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  • 🎧🌹BlueRose Reviews🌹🎧
  • 15-09-20

Triggering, quaint story

4 Blue Roses
4.5 Blue Flames
Narrator Brad Langer dryly delivered the Nick Nowak Mysteries series. His emotionless monotonous narration is as old skool as the plot itself, which for some reason drew me deeper into the life of the most sexually active private investigator; Nick Nowak.

The cases he investigates are kind of intriguing. The longer I listened, the more I wanted to hear. The plot time is depicted in the 1980s. It’s the time of no lube or condoms, only spit, and if you are lucky maybe vaseline. Venereal diseases and GRIDS, or gay-related immunodeficiency syndrome, is just being noticed. Nick, is a dude who has a lot of sex. If it’s male and willing, he is fucking it. I’m not judging, good for him, the more sex the better, but unfortunately in hindsight, we know what happens with HIV. Each time Nick is having sex, I see more and more men getting infected. That left me conflicted between listening and enjoying hot sex scenes.

The victimization of gay men is vividly described, the book conveys a silent internal truthfulness, a very lifelikeness of being gay in the 1980″s, and the reality or consistency of the sad world these characters lived within.

I do recommend this series. It’s one of those, you would miss if you don’t experience it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • K. April Holgate
  • 28-01-15

Not really my genre

I really tried to like this series, it is just too gritty PI for me. I am sure there are folks who will love this series. Folks who are into noir will dig this, it just isn't my genre.

The detective is a tough as nails type. Replace the doxy gals with guys, cause it is an MM read. That wasn't a real issue for me, but I know some who are not into the genre.

There is open bedroom door steam, not quite as detailed as an erotic but plenty of naughty bits. I just found those interactions as more rough and tumble as well. I like sweet words and feelings in my steam.

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Brad Langer, who does a great job with the material. He has a wonderful gruff edge to his voice that perfectly fits the material. I would love to hear him read another smexy book, cause his voice is delicious. His pace is smooth and he adds great energy to the narration.

Overall this was a good read, just not my taste. I think people who are into the genre will really appreciate the quality of the writing.

Disclosure – I received this audiobook in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts opinions and ratings are my own.

*** If you found this review at all helpful, please take a moment to let me know. I love reading and sharing my opinions with other readers. Thanks for taking the time to read my review! You can see more audiobook reviews on my blog Eargasms Audiobook Reviews ***

1 person found this helpful

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  • LenaRibka
  • 05-05-14

I. LOVE. BOYSTOWN.


I don't do re-read normally. I have a re-read shelf, but it has more a symbolical character, it's a way to show how much I enjoyed a book. Well, I did a re-read already but it is a big exception.

I am not sure that listening to an audio book after you've already read a book falls in the category re-read.
I think that if a narrator doesn't match you, you might even regret to listen to it. But if he does it perfectly, it could be a great experience that opens totally new perspectives. I wish I could have more of audio books, in the first place of the books I like, but the English audio books are unfortunately so ridiculously expensive in Germany, that I'd most likely won't have too many of them.

A narrator Brad Langer and Nick Nowak's POV fit PERFECTLY together, and I just want to say, that my second READ -actually it was listening to- of Boystown series, when I know already how it goes on, was not less thrilling but even more exciting.

I. LOVE. BOYSTOWN.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jessica Whitney
  • 30-01-21

Excellent!!

You won't regret geting this one. 3 stories of mystery and sex. I'm buying the next one!

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  • Tekna Gypsy
  • 28-09-20

Marshall Thornton is a new to me author.

Nick is a P.I. in the 80s Chicago. There are 3 different stories in this Audiobook. In the first one, Nick gets a mysterious phone call asking him to find a missing person but, things don't add up as he starts looking into the case. In the second one, Nick has a side job as a bouncer at a bar & when it burns down his boss asks him to find out who did it. In the Third story, Nick goes undercover because a woman believes her son was killed. He finds out that there's more to the story than meets the eye...

I really love these stories, he did a great job of bringing the 80s P.I. to life & Brad Langer's voice is perfect for Nick!!!!

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  • Heather
  • 24-08-20

LOVE THIS SERIES

Mr. Thornton is a new to me author! I'm so glad I found these gems. Born in 70, the history he includes is rich and masterful. I love his writing style, character development and the plot kept me hanging and wanting more I can't help but to fall in love with Nick and continue to explore Chicago during the 80's. Thanks Mr. Thornton for sharing your gift with all of us!