Rating: 5 stars out of 5
In the seventh book of the best-selling Boystown Mystery series, Private Investigator Nick Nowak finds himself simultaneously working two cases for his new client, law firm Cooke, Babcock and Lackerby. A suburban dentist has been convicted of murdering her adulterous husband.
Nick is asked to interview witnesses for the penalty phase of the trial—and possibly find the dead man’s mistress. At the same time, he’s deeply involved in protecting Outfit underboss Jimmy English from a task force out to prosecute him for a crime he may not have committed. While juggling these cases Nick slowly begins to rebuild his personal life.
In Bloodlines, Nick Nowak is slowly putting his life back together after the shattering events of Murder Book. He’s back in the investigative business and working for his friend Owen’s law firm on several cases at once, one of which he has personal ties to.
On the home front? Several things have shown him its more than time for him to find a new apartment, issues with teenager Terry arise and Mrs. Harker becomes an ever bigger part of Nick’s life.
Thornton’s ability to weave so many different emotional threads through his stories, keep them all vividly alive and connected at the right places to NIck and the reader, while pushing through not one but two murder/mystery cases? Just amazing!
Plus in Nick’s awkward, “yeah, that’s not working well” sort of way, a romance or at least a burgeoning relationship is trying to take some baby steps. Of course, with Nick, that means sex immediately. For the other person? Not so much. Which leads to issues and some very frustrating times.
The cases that Nick is working on have very deep moral/philosophical questions behind them if one is the type to ask them (as Nick is). One case involves the older mobster Jimmy English, who has always been good to Nick, and while he may not have committed this particular murder, has most certainly committed many others in his past. And the other case? A woman who refuses to talk about why she killed her philandering husband. Owen wants Nick to find out anything that will make a jury more sympathetic. Two muddy, convoluted cases, full of roadblocks, and craters before Nick can find any answers.
How each investigation unrolls won’t be discussed but they are compelling, moving, and the results of each astonishing. One I guessed halfway through partially but it was only a half of what was to come. As is with most of Nick’s investigations, Marshall Thornton uses his knowledge of human behavior, and gives us another Nick Nowak novel that contains both the bittersweetness of life and some hope for the future.
Thank the gods for the perspective of Nick Nowak. His voice makes the series. It’s caustic, knowing, rueful, determined, reasonably kind, and always human. I can’t get enough of it. Bloodlines, the path to his recovery, is a great example of that. Yes, I can see why it won the Lambda Literary Award but then I don’t see why the others didn’t.
I highly recommend this story and all the others in the series. But read them in the order they were written. None are stand alone stories and follow along the narrative order.
Cover art matches the others in the series and works emotionally.
Kindle Edition, 194 pages
Published March 6th 2015 by Kenmore Books
Literary Awards Lambda Literary Award for Gay Mystery (2016)
Boystown Bundle 1 – 3 – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 A Time For Secrets – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #5 Murder Book – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #6 From The Ashes – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #7 Bloodlines – Amazon US | Amazon UK (ON SALE for 99c)
Book #8 The Lies That Bind – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #9 Lucky Days – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #10 Gifts Given – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #11 Hearts Desire – Amazon US | Amazon UK (PREORDER