If you are looking for Story Titles or Author names, use Quick Search in the Stories Archive by clicking Stories or Authors on the main menu and clicking in the box at the top left. Here is link to for additional help on how to use quick search:
The Search bar on this page is unlikely to find the stories. You MUST use the quick search linked above.
Search the Community
Showing results for tags 'marshall thornton'.
Found 2 results
The hard-bitten American PI, working on his own to solve a murder, has become such a staple of crime fiction that it is now a cliché and has been parodied more times than I can even begin to count. There has to be something original to one to even make me think about reading it, and Marshall Thornton has found that something original with his Nick Nowak mystery series. Nowak is working as a one man PI, in 1981 Chicago, when these stories start, but he enters these three novellas with his own baggage. His life has recently been turned upside down. Novak was walking home with his lover Daniel when they were queerbashed. This leads to him being outed at work, as a Chicago cop, and losing his job, being ostracised by his own family, a lot of whom are also Chicago cops, and his relationship with Daniel ending. This all happens before the first novella even starts. Marshall Thornton has created three interesting mysteries for Nowak to solve. The first is a missing person that is anything but straightforward. Then there is an arson attack that has a shocking path. Finally, there is an apparent suicide that is anything but. These three stories are very rooted in gay Chicago of the 1980s. As engaging as these mysteries are, the real enjoyment here is Nick Nowak’s own life and his navigation of the unfriendly world of the 1980s, especially if you were gay. Nowak is an engaging narrator, someone whose voice makes these stories fresh, but Marshall Thornton has created a supporting cast of characters who are just as interesting and engaging. Nowak’s world isn’t unrelentingly negative; there is joy and friendship here and sex. Nowak has no problem finding other men to enjoy his sexuality with. The Nick Nowak books are much more than hard-bitten PI stories; they are the chronicle of a man’s life and his relationships. They are also wonderfully evocative of 1980s gay life. Marshall Thornton should be applauded for this; these are very enjoyable and easy reads. So often crime stories can be guilty pleasures, but the Nick Nowak books are far better than that and should be enjoyed as such. But do read them in order, so many characters return in later books, providing different strains to the stories, and if you don’t know who they are it could be a difficult read. Find it here on Amazon
Nick Nowak is back in three mysteries that follow directly on from the first book. It is the second half of 1981 and Nowak has three new cases to solve. Firstly, he is hired by a defence attorney whose client is refusing to help in his own defence. Next, he is hired to find the killer of a porn star. The last story sees Nowak searching for the only survivor of that most American of crimes, a serial killer. These are tight and involving mysteries and on their own would be interesting reads, but again the joy here is Nick Nowak’s life, which also fills these stories. He is now in a relationship with Detective Bert Harker and dealing with having a lover in the profession that has excluded Nowak. But he also has to deal with the return of his ex, Daniel Laverty, the first man he loved. Nowak handles this all poorly, doing the wrong thing as he realises he’s doing it. This makes the character all too real. He’s not a hero, he’s a real character and very flawed; he still carries a chip on his shoulder for the deeply homophobic treatment he received when he was thrown out of the Chicago police force. He also has a bad habit of sleeping with clients, witnesses and the wrong people. He is also the narrator of these stories and his voice is refreshingly original. These stories are firmly set in a time and place. Chicago is so prominent here that it’s almost an extra character. It is also set in 1981; Nowak and Harper discuss the emergence of AIDS in America via obscure newspaper stories about gay men coming down with strange cancers. Marshall Thornton has hit on a great detective story series with Nick Nowak, interesting mysteries, character development and a story arc for a personable narrator, with all his flaws. Fortunately, there are a lot more books in this series. Find it here on Amazon