Title: Night Drop (A Pinx Video Mystery #1)
Author: Marshall Thornton
Publisher: Kenmore Books
Release Date: September 15, 2017
Genre(s): Murder / Mystery
Page Count: 201
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 1 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
It’s 1992 and Los Angeles is burning. Noah Valentine, the owner of Pinx Video in Silver Lake, notices the fires have taken their toll on fellow shopkeeper Guy Peterson’s camera shop. After the riots end, he decides to stop by Guy’s to pick up his overdue videos, only to find Guy’s family dividing up his belongings. He died in the camera store fire—or did he? Noah and his charmingly meddlesome downstairs neighbors begin to suspect something else might have happened to Guy Peterson. Something truly sinister.
Night Drop is a departure from the gritty heartbreak of Thornton’s extraordinary Boystown Mysteries, set in Chicago at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. This first book in the Pinx Video Mysteries series is set in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles at the start of the riots in 1992 in response to the Rodney King trial. We meet 28-year-old Noah Valentine, the owner of Pinx Video:
At twenty-five, I was a businessman, a homeowner and a devoted partner. Life was perfect. For about a year.
At times I felt like a ghost. I think I hadn’t had enough time to become myself before I met Jeffer, and then I was part of Noah and Jeffer, Jeffer and Noah. We went to a party once and I overheard someone saying about me, “It’s like he has no personality when Jeffer leaves the room.” It was a cruel thing to say, mostly because it felt true.
When Noah learns of the death of an acquaintance Guy Peterson, dead in an apparent riot-related fire at Guy’s Camera, something just doesn’t feel right and he begins nosing around. The murder / mystery plot unfolds beautifully as Noah and his neighbors Marc and Louis plus their friend Leon uncover possible police corruption and hints of blackmail; the story kept my interest every page of the way.
Thornton does a marvelous job of developing his characters, even minor characters whom he fleshs out with just a few sentences, and although Noah isn’t flashy or quirky like Lionel in Femme or tormented and pragmatic like Nick in the Boystown Mysteries, as the book unwinds, Noah really touched my heart. I loved his obstinence in pursuing the mystery, his tender heart and as his history with Jeffer is slowly revealed, I felt gut-punched with the information given in the last chapter. Noah is a character I want to read more about, and I want to know if a certain attractive detective continues to pursue him. 4.5 stars!