Five years ago, the Boystown series began; a hard-boiled, gay mystery series, taking place in Chicago during the early eighties. The series follows private investigator Nick Nowak, a former police officer haunted by his abrupt departure from the CPD, as well as the traumatic end of his relationship with librarian Daniel Laverty. The five books follow Nick’s cases, and his personal relationships as he chooses between his former love and a new relationship with police detective Bert Harker.
I lived in Chicago through most of the eighties in the neighborhood I now write about. At that time, the neighborhood was called Newtown – occasionally it was called Boystown, though mostly with derision. Now, it’s officially Boystown on Googlemaps. In fact, the marker sits on the apartment Nick lives in through most of the early books.
Originally, I conceived the series as short stories to be sold separately. My publisher suggested grouping them consecutively so they read somewhat like a single novel with more than one mystery. The first two books have three stories each, the third two novellas, and then with the fourth book I began to write complete novels. There is also one short story, Little Boy Dead, which is a prequel and sold on its own so that readers can sample the series.
Both of the publishers I’ve worked with are primarily romance publishers. My books, though, are really more classic-style mysteries. Nick does have an active romantic life, sometimes too active for his own good, but the real focus is on the mysteries.
The series has been very well reviewed and fortunate enough to receive two honorable mentions in the Rainbow Book Awards in 2011 and 2012, and was also chosen as a finalist for the 2012 Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Mystery.
Currently, I’m working on the next book in the series, tentatively titled, Boystown 6: Resurrection.
The six available titles, in chronological order, are:
Little Boy Dead
Boystown: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries
Boystown 2: Three More Nick Nowak Mysteries
Boystown 3: Two Nick Nowak Novellas
Boystown 4: A Time For Secrets
Boystown 5: Murder Book