Marshal Thornton is a novelist, playwright, and screenwriter living in Long Beach, California. He is best known for writing the Boystown detective series. I just finished reading the two Boystown novella prequels: Little Boy Dead and Little Boy Afraid. The books revolve around former Chicago policeman turned private investigator Nick Nowak.
Little Boy Dead takes place during the 1979 Film Fest Chicago where Nick has gotten a job as a driver and as head of security. In a very short time, Nick deals with stalking fans, a crowd of protesters, and a critic’s stolen wallet that leads to murder. The novella is fast paced and an easy read. Oh and Nick is a bit of a slut since the breakup with his boyfriend, so there are plenty of steamy sex scenes.
As soon as I finished reading the first prequel, I immediately started on Little Boy Afraid. It’s now the winter of 1980 and Nick has one of his first jobs working for an openly-gay state senate candidate. The candidate has been receiving death threats, a lot of them, and it’s Nick’s job to keep him alive until the election.
I really enjoyed both novellas. I love how he adds a little bit of history in the novellas such as the peanut farmer running for president. I have one question though: who ran for president in 1980 who became famous selling 20 Mule Team Borax? The choices seem to be Ted Kennedy, U.S. senator from Massachusetts, Jerry Brown, governor of California, and Cliff Finch, former governor of Mississippi. None seem to fit the bill.
I highly recommend the Boystown prequels. I can’t wait to delve into Thornton’s other Boystown detective books.