Rating: 5 stars out of 5
It’s about a dress. A valuable blue sequined dress worn by a famed actress in a film from the 1940s. For some reason everyone thinks video storeowner Noah Valentine has it. Which might not be a big deal except that it’s connected to the murder of a prominent Hollywood costumer.
In the second of the Pinx Video Mysteries, Noah attempts to solve the mystery of the dress. To do so, he must confront a legendary film icon Wilma Wanderly, hunky police Detective Javier O’Shea, the dowager Queen of Watts and a couple of bitter ex-friends.
I am wild about Hidden Treasures and the Pinx Video Mystery series by Marshall Thornton. Extremely well written, evocative of an era still so close to ours that we can remember all the telling details that makes this book and series ring with familiarity and yet far enough removed that it feels nostalgic. Ah video tapes cartridges…VHS…some may remember from Blockbuster if you didn’t have the smaller privately owned stores like this nearby? Clunky black rectangles that you rushed to return? No?
Thornton’s tales are supplied with the names of songs, tv series, movies, books, and every day “go to” gadgets and calendars you had to have. Yet, none of it feels false or as though the author is dumping too much “historical” facts into his novel. No, it’s all woven into this series with an ease and a “normalcy” that often hardly ripples the narrative. Maybe a slight double take, an appreciative nod, a “oh I forgot about those” from me…but often I’m so buried in the story and the characters that a mention bubbled up pages later in my mind and a note to go back later to look it up.
Oh, man, these characters. Especially the pragmatic yet wounded Noah. I have a hard time coming up with the right words not only to describe him but also how much I love this character. And it’s a love that is growing deeper by the book. He’s admirable, intelligent, courageous, and often kind. He’s not hopeful, not yet. I’m not sure he ever will be in these times. But each book is proving to be a revelation about him and for him. I won’t say more. You need to read the first story Night Drop (A Pinx Video Mystery, #1 to understand what’s going on with Noah and his history. To say anything more spoils that incredible story and this one. And that just won’t do.
Noah is surrounded by friends equally memorable. You got to know them in Night Drop but here they actually feel like family. As does a certain Detective. They feel alive, believable, authentic, and in some cases, haunting. This was the 80’s after all.
Marshall Thornton has won awards for his writing. I hope he’s won them for this series. If not, he should because they are incredible. The writing is superb, the characters beyond memorable, the mysteries complicated and entertaining, and the stories themselves have staying power, an emotional heft that carries far beyond those little words The End.
Now to wait and see what’s next in store for Noah and Pinx Video. I can hardly wait. If you haven’t discovered Marshall Thornton, pick up his Pinx Video series, both of them. I highly recommend them both, including Hidden Treasures.
Cover art is amazing. I just love the covers for this series. Interesting, pertinent, and great for branding.
Kindle Edition, 229 pages
Published January 28th 2018 by Kenmore Books
SeriesA Pinx Video Mystery #2