Title: Gifts Given (Boystown, #10)
Author: Marshall Thornton
Release Date: November 17th 2017
Genre(s): Gay Mystery, Historical, the 1980s
Page Count: 213
Reviewed by: LenaRibka
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
In the tenth installment of the award-winning Boystown Mysteries. it’s Christmas 1984, and Nick is busy juggling a couple of cases with his hectic personal life. Sugar Pilson has decided to marry and has asked him to check up on her fiancé. Meanwhile, he’s hired to investigate a shady financial planner at Peterson-Palmer. When the two cases begin to have too much in common, Nick searches for the link. Only to find out that he himself might be the link.
Given what I’ve seen, given what I’ve lived, it strikes me that love is a kind of madness. An insanity that poses as a necessity, tricking us into believing we need it as much as breath, as much as life itself. A sensible man would run from it, bar the doors, hide in a cupboard like a child, rifle through the kitchen drawers looking for a weapon to stave it off. A sensible man would have nothing to do with love. I am not a sensible man.
It is the opening lines, and yes, this installment is inspired by love. Even if it is not THAT obvious at the beginning. Though it is difficult NOT to notice it later. LOVE is a central thread woven throughout the whole book.
Nick is in LOVE. Though I still haven’t got warm with Joseph, it is fascinating to see how good the ex-priest adapted himself to his new live outside the church, to his new surroundings, to Nick’s friends.
- And HOW quickly Joseph changed Nick! I honestly didn’t even imagine something like THIS would EVER happen. There are 4 years between the first book and the last one. And totally different Nick: he has settled down, becomes a TV shows expert (he didn’t even have a TV all this time!) and listens to piano music (he has a good taste though), and he quit smoking (because Joseph doesn’t like it). No doubt, he becomes a better person, but I am still trying to find out how to deal with this fact. It is why I was fluctuating between 4 and 5 stars, but the writing is so good, and the story is so captivating, so 5 stars it is. But I am wondering (and somehow afraid), if the reason for changing in Nick character could be explained with Marshall Thornton’s consideration to come slowly to the end of the series??!! NOOOO!
Nick, Joseph and Ross live in a tiny one-bedroom apartment (with a couch in a living room for Ross) with a great view on Lake Michigan. It is Christmas time, and Nick plans to invite Mrs. Harker to spend Christmas with them together that could become a very difficult task. She still doesn’t know that Joseph is Nick’s boyfriend.
Though Nick won’t have enough free time to find Christmas gifts for his friends. At first his long-time friend Sugar asks him for a favor. She is also in LOVE and she wants Nick to make a standard background check on her lover. At the same time his old client Vincent Renaldi urgently needs his service as a PI for a very delicate case. And what a surprise – again this L word. Yes, people in love could do crazy things, sometimes illegal things, and criminal things if they have enough criminal energy. The job that seems very easy at the beginning turns out to be very dangerous at the end. At this place I shut my mouth. I am not going to give anything away.
The final lines frames the whole story in the Boystown number 10 PERFECTLY (and yes, Marshall Thornton is the best writer of ENDINGs):
Life is pain. Life is danger. Life is love. There have been times when I have hidden from life. It didn’t work. Life found me. Love found me. Try as I might, I could not hide.