Boystown 4: A Time For Secrets
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Boystown 4: A Time For Secrets (Boystown #4)

4.59 of 5 stars 4.59  ·  rating details  ·  101 ratings  ·  27 reviews
In the first full-length novel of the Boystown series, it's late summer 1982 and private detective Nick Nowak is asked to find a retired gentleman's long lost lover. Instead, he finds himself embroiled in a decades old murder connected to the man who wants to be Chicago's next mayor. Meanwhile, an ambitious young reporter develops a friendship with Nick's lover Bert, makin...more
Paperback, 223 pages
Published March 30th 2012 by MLR Press, LLC
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Written June 28, 2014

4.7 Stars - heartbreaking on all fronts; the love-life, the investigations and the awful reality. Shudder good!

Book #4

It isn't much to say; I adore these books. I'm a Nick Nowak addict. ...and I just love to listening to great narrated audiobooks. (view spoiler)

A highly recommended series for romance readers which also love...more

”I caught his eye, and we looked at each other. This was going to be good, I could tell.”

Politics, murder, secrets and more. So much more!

Book 4 in Marshall Thornton’s Boystown series hits hard. A “find-this person” case that appeared simple enough on the surface quickly turns to BIG time trouble for Nick. The it-can-get-you-killed-in-a-hurry kind of trouble! A case with a world of hurt attached to it and a strangle hold on witnesses, history, and the truth. Can Nick reveal the truth without get...more
Although this is the fourth book in the Boystown series, it's the first full length novel. The other books have been a collection of two-three novellas. It's also a change in publisher for the series, with the other books published by TQ and this one from MLRP, so don't let that confuse you either.

This book follows on almost directly from book three. Nick Nowack, our PI hero, is employed by a man, Ronnie, who helped to save Nick and his lover (now ex-lover) Daniel when they were attacked in a ga...more

The real treasures don't lie on the surface.

You have to dig deeper to find them.

Have patience and you'll be rewarded.



4.4 stars

This review might be spoilerish to those who have not read Book 1 to 3 which I strongly urge you to read before reading this book.

Thornton interweaves the cold case Nick is asked to investigate with Nick’s own story masterfully. The cold case definitely starts to warm up again and things spiral out of control both on a personal level and in the story.

At last Nick starts to acknowledge that his sexual shenanigans are leading him to trouble. This reminds me a bit of the film ‘Shame’, wer...more
Olga Troian
Boystown 4 picks up around a month after the last novel left off. It's still very hard on Nick to deal with his lover, Bert, being, what he suspects, deadly sick. It seems like everything is a mess in his life and in his attempt to cope with it he makes some very irrational, illogical personal mistakes that lead to unfortunate consequences. Even after he takes an easy job of finding a long lost friend for his old acquaintance, Nick finds himself tangled in another deadly net of lies and deceptio...more
Kaje Harper
I really enjoyed this first full novel of the series. Nick is asked to locate a client's long-missing acquaintance, and is drawn into murder and corruption within the city. As someone who lived in Chicago in the early eighties, I love the period feel of this series, and am taken by (although not charmed to remember) the level of political machinations and corruption that marked the city in that era. Nick battles to see justice done, against the influence of those with wealth and power. We meet a...more
Lou Harper
As I said about previous Boystown books, this is not m/m but gay genre fiction, mystery to be exact.

Boystown 4 is a hard boiled detective novel set in Chicago in the early eighties. It's probably the grittiest of all the books--corrupt police, corrupt politicians, prejudices, murder, and the beginning of the AIDS epidemic come together in a volatile and often emotional mix.

It's not a light read, but it's gripping and rewarding. Marshall Thornton is superb at bring the location and the era alive-...more
"Everything works out for the best." It always irked me when people said shit like that. I didn't believe it for a minute. Things did not work out for the best unless you bent logic into a pretzel."

This review contains spoilers for books 1-3.

First of all the mystery in this one was the best so far. This being the first full length novel, instead of a series of novellas, we get a much more complicated case. When Nick is hired to find a man's long lost lover, he stumbles across a decades old murde...more
These Boystown books are SO hard for me to read. Not because they aren't great, they truly are. Well-written, tightly plotted, with excellent characterizations.

No, it's that sick feeling in my stomach every time Nick has random sex with someone. I was once a volunteer for an AIDS support group in Atlanta and I saw first hand the devastation of the plague years. These books just bring all of that back in technicolor and it just rips my heart out.

In 1982, no one knew that AIDS was sexually transm...more
"Everything about my life, everything about my work told me that secrets were like knives. But they didn't just cut both ways; they cut any way they could. I didn't like it. I didn't like it one bit. But I understood it."

Boystown 4: A Time for Secrets--such excellent writing--everything about this story feels real--the city, the mystery, Nick--

So damn good
Val Kovalin
May 04, 2012 Val Kovalin added it
Recommended to Val by: Elisa Ramblings, Jenre
Just for fun (6-word plot): Gay 1980s investigator battles Chicago corruption

The crisp writing, realism, and solid plot kept me turning pages. Though part of a series, the book can be read as a strong stand-alone. I appreciated the vivid Chicago setting , and the perfect details of 1982. The main character is complex and likable despite the selfishness that surfaces in his personality during his sex scenes. The sex scenes are explicit and frequent and done well, kept in balance with the plot.


Written by Marshall Thornton – Narration by Brad Langer

Review by Jon Michaelsen

In Boystown 4: A Time For Secrets, Marshall Thornton has penned the first full-length novel featuring tough, rough around the edges, at times jaded, former Chicago cop turned private detective, Nick Nowak, which is perhaps my favorite of the series thus far. A Time For Secrets contains a stunning mystery that reveals an older gentleman’s longing to learn whatever happened...more
All I can say is that I love this series. Okay, I can say more than that. The mystery again was just as riveting as his earlier stories, and I just love how Nick handled it in the end.

What is surprising and after living through the AIDS scare, I'm finding how hard it is for me to see how casual Nick is to sexual encounters. And I didn't realize that it wasn't clear that it was sexually transmitted. I'm so scared for Nick and his friends and encounters because we know that Bert is sick from this...more
Tami (synchro from BL)
This fourth book in the series is the only one of novel-length. It is a gripping story about a more or less cold case of gay-bashing and murder that spins into the present (here beginning of the 80ies).
This one was the best as there was more room for the more personal history of Nick and his boyfriend - most of it was told also very matter-of-factly, but it evoked strong emotions though.
It was not a funny or light-hearted read, altough it has some humor in it, the overall tone is a bit darker. I...more
Very good gay mystery in which Nick obtains information about a 25-year old murder that has dangerous current implications.
This series has unexpectedly become a favorite; however, its favor did not evolve until I read/listened (I purchased the first three books in audio and read the remaining two)to the entire series. The first book was incredibly entertaining, full of steamy encounters and barely suggesting an emotional depth to the PI protagonist, Nick Nowak. Honestly, it was borderline porn-erotic fiction. So, that got my attention on a more base level of interest and kept me reading. I was surprised as the chara...more
ARe Cafe
Boystown 4 is a bleak but compelling gay mystery. It is listed as book 4 in a series, but works fine as a stand-alone, which is how I read it. The writing is clear, fast-paced, and stylistically minimalist. The vivid setting is Chicago as seen by someone who clearly knows the area well. The mystery itself is easily solved by the hero, but the consequences of him solving it are far-reaching and kept me turning pages to see how it would all work out.

The novel is not a romance, but works as a gritt...more
Limor moyal
This installment wasn't as amazing as his previous, mainly because it didn't pushed the plot much foreword and the murders weren't that fascinating, still it's my beloved Nick and Marshall great writing so it's deserves four stars .
Mare SLiTsReaD Reviews~Lover of all things MM~Sarcasm Junkie n Kissing SLut~
Soooo. I loved this book so very very hard.
It has humbled me. So far this series has humbled me.

I finished this morning and TBH I am VERY SCARED to start book 5.

But like a a flame.... yah thats me.

here we go!

Who's gonna be here to wipe up all my tears??? WHO!
This was hard to get through for me. The mystery was excellent but Nick's attitude towards his very sick lover just didn't sit well with me. I mean l know there was someone to take care of his lover and Nick had to work but still he could have made effort than what he did. Either way l enjoyed it. And will highly recommend it.
Hearts On Fire Reviews
Reviewed by: Asabat
Genre: M/M Mystery
5 Hearts

See Review Here: Hearts On Fire Reviews
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Nick 's witty thoughts
Nick 's vast selection of quick BJ's
Nick 's thought processes...always in PI mode

and ALL the other great things in this book puts me in a very happy place!!! that's all the time I have folks. off to book 5 with Kleenex and IF, with Nicky
Fantastic book! I absolutely love this series. It's ripping my heart out but gahhh! I can't stop reading it.

Another excellent installment in the series! And the first full length novel too.
Just fabulous, of course now I'm waiting for another instalment!
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Marshall Thornton is an award-winning novelist, playwright and screenwriter living in Long Beach, California. He is best known for the Boystown detective series, which has been short listed for a Rainbow Award three times and has been a finalist for the Lambda Award for gay mystery twice. Other novels include the erotic comedy The Perils of Praline, or the Amorous Adventures of a Southern Gentlema...more
More about Marshall Thornton...
Boystown: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries Boystown 2: Three More Nick Nowak Mysteries Boystown 3: Two Nick Nowak Novellas The Perils of Praline Boystown 5: Murder Book

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“Since I was pretty sure he was just an asshole and not a murdering asshole, I told him to suck my dick.” 3 likes
“How was church?” I asked.
“I’m going to hell.”
I shrugged like it was of no importance. “That’s good. You’d be lonely in heaven without me.”
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