How did I forget to write and post a review of this? The second of Marshall Thornton’s “Pinx” series, it takes us deeper into the life of Noah Valentine, a twenty-something who inherited his ex, Jeffer Cole’s video store in Los Angeles’ Silver Lake. Noah is HIV-positive, and given the year is 1992, he stands at the edge of that moment when the plague that decimated my generation began to become something one might possibly live with rather than unavoidably die of.
Then the murders start. Again. This time, it seems to be about some mysterious Holy Grail of Hollywood memorabilia, and Noah is once more dragged away from the shelves of his video store and into the shadowy back rooms of the film industry and its sometimes-less-than-sane denizens. Everyone he meets is a revelation and an education, for him as well as for Thornton’s readers.
Supporting him in every way, without confronting his real issues, are his erstwhile friends and downstairs neighbors Marc and Louis. More complicated is their friendly local detective, Javier O’Shea, whose evident interest in Noah was so heart-breaking in the first book.
The mystery that Noah and his underqualified friends have to puzzle out is interesting and peculiar—two traits one expects from any novel set in Los Angeles. But the book is really more about Noah and the shifting sands of his own life. Unlike the noir Nick Novak series—which is magnificent and almost operatic in its romantic darkness—there is something weirdly sitcom-ish about this, as if a gay Lucy and Ethel (and Fred and Ricky, I guess) were trying to solve a murder while one of them secretly had cancer.
Yeah. Weird like that.
Marshall Thornton doesn’t really let us have any easy emotions. This series isn’t like his truly comic stories. Noah and Nick have different challenges in their lives, and Chicago is not like LA; but they share a darkness that can’t help but touch our hearts in a very profound way.
Anything Thornton writes is worth reading. But even with his lighter books, he’s no lightweight.
- Paperback: 214 pages
- Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform (29 January 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1983576204
- ISBN-13: 978-1983576201
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.4 x 20.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 295 g
- Customer Reviews:
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 302,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)