Heart’s Desire (Boystown #11)

Lucky Days
Title: Heart’s Desire (Boystown #11)
Author: Marshall Thornton
Publisher: self-publishing
Release Date: August 10th, 2018
Genre(s): Gay Mystery, Historical, the 1980s
Page Count: 210
Reviewed by: LenaRibka
Heat Level: 1 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

It’s February 1985. Nick struggles to recover from a gunshot wound, while taking on the case of a woman with a mental illness, who may or may not have witnessed a murder. As he attempts to determine exactly what the woman saw and how much danger she may be in, he juggles the approaching DeCarlo trial, an ill Mrs. Harker, and the sexually precocious Terry. Valentine’s Day with boyfriend Joseph produces some big changes in their relationship. Life is evolving, but there’s no guarantee it’s for the better.

This sequel feels different. And while every encounter with Nick makes my day (or some days considering my current reading speed), his transformation is something I really first have to get used to.

There are 9 years between the first book in the series, Three Nick Nowak Mysteries, and the book 11, Heart’s Desire (Boystown #11), but the series covers the period of only 4 years, from the early 1980s up to the February 1985.

Could a character perform such a full conversion in such a short time?
The answer is YES, because it is the period of time when the HIV/AIDS epidemic has begun to be the awful reality. It is the time of radical rethinking of sexual behavior. And even if we just forget that Nick is also in love, it is well understandable that he is not more a slutty Nick from former times(installments) who did not omit any opportunity of having sex. The question is also, could I, as a reader, accept this enormous change of a character image within such short period of time? I must. But my emotions live their separate life, outside my rational thinking, and the moment I reached the last page of this book, I realized that I simply missed the previous Nick and his initial first person POV. Maybe I should re-read the first sequels, just to become this Boystown’s feeling again or at least how I remember it: dark, emotional, very sultry, and just different:

I can’t totally accept Nick turned into a movie/TV shows expert spending cosy evening on the sofa in front of TV. In many scenes it felt rather like A Pinx Video Mystery Series than Boystown series : collective watching TV, movies talking and get-together parties.

I think it is the first time when I finished a Boystown sequel and don’t want immediately to read the next one. I am just afraid to find out what will happen next, because if Marshall Thornton decided to postpone some events, some things are just inevitable. It is maybe the reason why we spend more time with Nick, his lovers and his friends, Mrs.Harker, and less with Nick completely occupied with his current case. It is a quiet farewell to the old world that begins inexorably to change before our eyes- and those people who were the essential part of Nick’s life.

Let us enjoy these insightful moments…

What didn’t change: a fantastic time feeling of the 1980s, the greatest possible care and attention to detail, excellent knowledge of Chicago, a simple-but-ingenious writing style and a great ending.

Boystown Mysteries Series

Buy Link Amazon Global Author Link GoodReads More Author Reviews

Advanced Review Copy

ARC of Heart’s Desire (Boystown #11) provided by Marshall Thornton in exchange of an honest review.


A passionate reader from Germany. I learned to read at the age of 4 and never stopped since then, though my books from that time were very different from what they are now. English is my third language, and I’m sorry for all grammar mistakes I made in my reviews. But I assure you, that my reading English is much better than my writing English. I’m a seeker for the books that differ from mainstream, that provoke the reader or have very often very opposite ratings.

Please comment! We'd love to hear from you.