Shoot: A Valentino Mystery
Film detective Valentino is always on the hunt for rare and lost cinematic treasures, hoping to preserve them for the ages and prevent them from being snatched up by rich private collectors. So, when cowboy legend Red Montana offers him a lost piece of Western history — and threatens to destroy it if Valentino refuses his case — Valentino reluctantly agrees. And unless Valentino can locate a blue film featuring Red’s partner Dixie Day before she made it big, a Hollywood legend will be tarnished forever, and a cinematic prize will be destroyed…
Shoot has a darker tone than the previous Valentino mysteries, and it makes for a surprisingly tense reading experience. Although a lost cowboy film doesn’t feel like a Macguffin as rich as Greed or Lugosi’s Frankenstein screen test, the unpleasant idea of being blackmailed over a youthful indiscretion gives the story some heft. Thankfully, a comedic element isn’t lost entirely, as Valentino finds himself trying to organize a bachelor party for his mentor, and this brings not only some enjoyable banter along, but a convenient deus ex machina as well.
Although the pages pass quickly, Shoot is a worthy addition to the Valentino Mysteries series.
Loren D. Estleman