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A Time For Secrets

(Boystown #4)

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  374 ratings  ·  69 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, making
ebook, 275 pages
Published March 30th 2012 by MLR Press, LLC
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4.41  · 
Rating details
 ·  374 ratings  ·  69 reviews

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5++++++ You're Mine stars

It is 1982, Police brutality, Police corruption, Politicians corruption is high in Chicago.

The freedom of having unprotected sex with strangers is still a thing and GRID got a new name.

“By the way, they’ve changed the name. They’re not calling it GRID anymore. They’re calling it AIDS. It stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.”



-Nick, Harker, Daniel, Mrs. Harker, Ross, Brian, Sugar and Christian have become family.

-The mystery in this one was the best.
R * A Reader Obsessed *
Nick, Nick, Nick.

At first I think I gave you too much credit from the last book, because over and over in this installment you should have known better.
You should have known better than to tell Harker's secret.
You should have known better than to continue feeding your huge libido.
You should have known better than to interfere with a police investigation.

Most of the time things work out for you because you're part lucky bastard and part quite good at your job. But I have to say that I've never b
Audible headphones_icon_1

I want this series to be a movie.

It'll be great, I'm sure, but it'll never be as great as the book itself.

Boystown is my all time favourite series, Nick Nowak is my all time favourite PI, Marshall Thornton is one of my favourite mystery writers, and Brad Langer is one of my favourite narrator.

That's all I really want to say.
If you have not read it yet, you can chose between an audible, print or an ebook version. Doesn't matter what you chose, you won't be disappointed.
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
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cover-me

”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
Another great part in this moving series.

The report continued, “’s a race against time for those with this terrible disease. How long before they finally have answers, finally have the hope of a cure?”

“By the way, they’ve changed the name of what you have. They’re not calling it GRID anymore. They’re calling it AIDS. It stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.”

Almost 40 years later. For many, a whole life later, and still no vaccine in sight.
To experience the beginnings of AIDS, on

The real treasures don't lie on the surface.

You have to dig deeper to find them.

Have patience and you'll be rewarded.


Jun 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Apr 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites-mm
"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
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Jun 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, thriller
A Time For Secrets is the first Boystown book that isn't a story collection. You quickly understand why when you realize just how powerful this latest threat is. It is almost untouchable. Still, someone innocent had been murdered and whether you like Nick Nowak's lifestyle, his decisions, his choices or his mistakes, you know one thing is certain - he will not let it be.

In addition to the self-appointed case Nick has to face the thing that's been looming above him for quite some time. It finally
Ije the Devourer of Books
'He looked about one meatball sub away from a major coronary'

I love this series.

First of all the mysteries are really great, very gripping and keep me guessing. I don't like reading stories where I solve the mystery early on in the story and these stories have so many satisfying twists and turns.

Then I like the context. I like the fact that these stories are rooted in real history - Chicago in the eighties just as the Aids Pandemic begins its relentless devastation. For me as an Aids activist f
Kaje Harper
Jun 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, m-m, mystery
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
I really like the longer format story. Cracking a cold case isn't easy, even when the case becomes red hot again, but Nick is up to the task. We also get to see a bit on the home front, where he is dealing with Harker's health issues and his mother. Oh, and Harker makes a new friend causing Nick to deal with new emotions.
You can notice the switch to a novel, compared to the grouped little stories before. Everything feels more intense. And there are so many things happening:(view spoiler) ...more
I've realized with series books there is a part of you that is always forward thinking. Moments within your current read that aren't acted on but your brain says, oh, that will come up later. It's like a bus that you know just keeps moving when there are more books in the series. Sometimes it is your only focus.

This series is just like that but oh so different.

Yes, my brain is thinking forward and trying to figure things out, within the current read and what is going to come but never, never, ev
Lou Harper
Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, gay-fiction
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-
Mar 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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 added it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Molli B.
I wasn't initially sure how I felt about a full-length novel popping up in this series after all of the novellas. Novellas work well with my (poor) attention span. But this easily held my attention start to finish. I really liked the mystery; it was as compelling (maybe more so) as all the others, and it was appropriate that it was novel-length.

Thornton puts together good mysteries. "Good" not just in the sense of interesting, but also relevant to the times and what life was like in the early 8
Dec 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dee Wy
Oct 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful complex mystery, solved by the master Nick Nowak, Private Detective. Just love Nick who's like a hound dog, always on the scent even when the Chicago police make up reasons for him to spend a night in jail and shoot at his car just for the fun of it. They can't keep a good man down though.

Love this series!
Mare SLiTsReaD Reviews
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!
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 .
*4.5 stars*

”You’re mine.”

Easily the best and most intriguing mystery yet. But heart is getting a workout here.
Jan 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, gay, ebook, mystery, done, signed
Very good gay mystery in which Nick obtains information about a 25-year old murder that has dangerous current implications.
Kistal Gordon
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before it all went down

What makes this series so powerful and painful to read is the relationships that goes on in this community and how the sickness is tearing through the community without anyone understanding what the sickness is.

This story is set around the early 80s. AIDS was a new thing and no one really knew what it was. Watching people in this series die from it, and slowly deteriorate is hard to read.

Especially since no one even considered it sexually transmitted, and everyone is fuc
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Ask Marshall Thor...: Boystown4 1 7 May 19, 2014 02:21PM  
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Two-time Lambda Award-winning author, Marshall Thornton is best known for the Boystown and Pinx Video mystery series. Other novels include the erotic comedy The Perils of Praline, or the Amorous Adventures of a Southern Gentleman in Hollywood, Desert Run and Full Release. Marshall has an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA, where he received the Carl David Memorial Fellowship and was recognized in the ...more

Other books in the series

Boystown (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Three Nick Nowak Mysteries (Boystown #1)
  • Three More Nick Nowak Mysteries (Boystown #2)
  • Two Nick Nowak Novellas (Boystown #3)
  • Murder Book (Boystown #5)
  • From the Ashes (Boystown #6)
  • Bloodlines (Boystown #7)
  • The Lies That Bind (Boystown #8)
  • Lucky Days (Boystown, #9)
  • Gifts Given (Boystown, #10)
  • Heart's Desire (Boystown #11)
“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.”
“Since I was pretty sure he was just an asshole and not a murdering asshole, I told him to suck my dick.” 3 likes
More quotes…