Normally I wouldn’t post a new book but as a lover of old movies I had to post about this series and the latest entry. Valentino works for UCLA hunting down pieces of old films. Of course he ends up doing some P.I. work. Through it all he’s restoring an old movie theater named Oracle.
The first book is “Frames” (2008) involving missing footage of the 1924 classic “Greed.” The second book is “Alone” (2009) about an unknown letter from Greta Garbo. This is the third entry. The latest is 2016’s “Brazen.”
Valentino is on the trail of Bela Lugosi’s audition to play the Frankenstein Monster. His ex-friend Chuck Hunter is an actor on the skids. He’s involved in gambling, drugs and just about anything else that can turn self destructive. He’s been constantly calling Valentino who has been ignoring all the messages. Now Chuck’s dead. He was beaten to death in an alley outside as restaurant owned by a gangster.
In Chuck’s suitcases Valentino finds books on the films of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi with a number of passages underlined. A gangster’s stepmother may have the two reels of Lugosi’s Frankenstein audition. Valentino meets the mobster at the restaurant. Now he’s in trouble.
Along with it all Valentino continues to restore the Oracle Theater. He also has to deal with Teddie Goodman. She works for a collector who is Valentino’s rival. Before it’s all over he’ll need the help of his intern and his Steampunk friends.
The book is great for lovers of the Universal horror films and pays homage to Bela Lugosi. For whatever reason after the main storyline is resolved there’s a long section that comes across like an aftermath that could have been done in a couple pages. Up to that point it’s an extremely entertaining read. Then there’s the Closing Credits section which has some terrific recommendations on books about the Frankenstein series and other classic movies.