When Noah Valentine’s downstairs neighbors tell him they want to investigate a murder, Noah has both a serious case of deja-vu and a real reluctance to play amateur detective again. Then Marc and Louis inform Noah that the victim was none other than Anthony Mercer—a former friend of Noah’s deceased boyfriend, Jeffer. On the heels of that revelation, Jeffer’s sister contacts Noah and offers him a boatload of cash for a costume dress that Noah has no idea he was supposed to have. It seems once again Jeffer’s secrets and lies are coming back to haunt Noah.
As the trio, along with a friend, Leon, begin to investigate, more offers for the mysterious “Wilma Wanderly” dress come out of the woodwork from the grand dame herself. With the lovely and recently out Detective Javier O’Shea comes around, all hell breaks loose that leads to a second body being dumped—this time at Noah’s apartment complex. Noah and the gang are hot on the trail of the killer and once again the good detective is hot on the heels of Noah. With humor, a healthy dose of sarcasm, and remarkable timing the gang decide to help solve the murder—fervently hoping they can crack the case before one of them become the next victim.
Hidden Treasures in the second installment in Marshall Thornton’s Pinx Video Mystery series. It must be said that it’s best if you read these in order beginning with the first, Night Drop. It must also go without saying that one must suspend some disbelief when indulging in this series. Set up as a historical due to the time frame, there is also the idea that four run of the mill guys happen to be aces at solving murders. But if you can let that go and indulge in the fun that Thornton creates in his mystery series, then I think you will find them very entertaining. I know I do.
The nearly non-existent slow burn romance that has begun between Detective O’Shea and Noah is just lovely. But Noah’s secret is going to prevent him from diving head first into any relationship and most definitely not one with a newly out and carefully proud Javier O’Shea. One must remember this is only 1992 and while these men do live in Los Angeles, there is still a price to pay for being gay, particularly if you are a cop. Also, Noah has been badly hurt by his deceased boyfriend, Jeffer, whose lies left behind more than just tears and remorse for Noah to handle. But Javier is most assuredly persistent and Noah, despite his resolve, is lonely. I cannot wait to see the next step in this not quite there relationship.
Lest you think that only Noah and Javier are the draw in this series, think again. I really enjoy the many interactions Noah has with his downstairs neighbors, Marc and Louis. While we get only snippets about these two men, it’s really fun to watch them care for Noah from near nightly dinners to setting up a surprise date with Javier. Between these two and the gang down at the Pinx Video Store, there is truly a small community of folks who surround Noah and who are concerned for his well-being.
The mystery aspect of the stories is fairly transparent, so if you are looking for something complex this is not the series for you. However, there is enough meat to the plot of Hidden Treasures to keep one’s interest and Noah is so very endearing that a reader can quickly become invested. Plus, the additional new characters introduced in this second installment are both entertaining and cringe-worthy—making them fascinating enough to hold your attention.
In the end, I thought Hidden Treasure was a wonderful follow up to the original book in the series and actually built solidly onto the back story of both Noah and his cohorts in crime. I really am enjoying this series by Marshall Thornton and can easily recommend it to any mystery lovers out there.