Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Buy Used
$3.99
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Like New
Comment: Unbeatable customer service, and we usually ship the same or next day. Over one million satisfied customers!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

Alive! (Valentino Mysteries) Hardcover – April 2, 2013

3.8 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
Book 3 of 4 in the Valentino Series

See all 8 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$0.95 $0.01

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The third in Estleman’s always-entertaining series starring film archivist Valentino again delivers a delightful mix of comedy, mystery, and movie history. This time the archival jewel that inspires murder and puts Valentino in hot water is a long-lost screen test of Bela Lugosi trying out for the role of Frankensteins monster that would eventually go to Boris Karloff. A down-and-out actor and onetime friend of Valentino’s was trying to peddle the screen test before he was murdered. The cops like Valentino for the crime, leaving Val no choice but to find the Lugosi snippet and clear himself. The backstory on Legosi, Karloff, and the horror-movie genre in general will have film fans salivating, and, as always, Estleman seamlessly incorporates the movie bits into the mystery plot. And, for good measure, this time he throws in—equally seamlessly—a subplot involving a gaggle of steampunkers who come to Val’s aid in the hunt for the screen test. Great fun on multiple fronts. --Bill Ott

Review

“Shamus-winner Estleman's captivating second mystery to feature L.A. film detective Valentino. Readers will eagerly turn the pages.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review on Alone

Frames melds Estleman's love of movies with his gift for swift, satisfying storytelling.” ―San Francisco Chronicle

“Great cast, great subject, flawless delivery from a real pro.” ―Booklist starred review on Frames

Frames is gripping entertainment. If you love movies, you'll love this mystery.” ―Lawrence Kasdan, Oscar Award-nominee

“Estleman has scripted yet another wacky comedic mystery. His snappy dialog, feisty characters, Hollywood lore, and gentle romance make this his funniest to date.” ―Library Journal on Frames

“Estleman has laid claim to a fresh new franchise and the turf is all his. My hat's off to him.” ―Sue Grafton, New York Times #1 bestselling author on Frames

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Series: Valentino Mysteries (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; 1st Ed edition (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765333317
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765333315
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #455,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bonner '62 VINE VOICE on June 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was introduced to this character in the volume of short stories which I enjoyed. I also enjoyed this book but think 3 stars is enough. I think the reason is I have never connected with the protagonist. I don't like him or dislike him. He is just kind of blah. The same goes for the secondary characters. In this book the really minor characters like the steampunk gang or the hoods have the most personalities but they come and go quickly. The story about trying to find a lost audition reel is interesting enough. I am no old film maven but know enough about them to get the author's references. I just come away with the idea that the series could have been great not just good.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A friend of Valentino’s, washed up action film star Craig Hunter, is found beaten to death in a known mobster’s bar. The last person he phoned was Valentino. Val goes to comfort Hunter’s grieving ex-wife and finds a case full of books about Universal monster movies. The amateur detective and film preservationist discovers that Hunter was trying to broker a deal for a long lost screen test for Frankenstein. Universal had wanted the iconic monster to be played by there then reigning horror film star Bela Lugosi. The screen test was so awful that the studio ordered it burned. Was the film saved from destruction and if so is it valuable enough that someone would kill for it?

This is the third book in the Valentino series. I like reading this series because of the film history. Estleman did a lot of research for this novel and included a bibliography of resources at the end.

One of the characters in this installment is a young man who is part of the steampunk movement. The author writes about the clothes, music, and basic esthetics of steampunk. It fits in well with the Frankenstein theme of the book.

Like all of the books in this series, it is an enjoyable read that I recommend to anyone interested in classic movies and likes a good mystery.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
"Film Detective" Valentino, who searches for rare movie footage for the UCLA film department, is contacted by Craig Hunter, a former friend and one time actor. Valentino hangs up on him because he is tired of being hit up for money by Hunter who has become a bit of a derelict. But when Hunter ends up murdered, Valentino learns that he had planned to offer him rare footage of a screen test of Bela Lugosi as Frankenstein's monster, the part that eventually went to Boris Karloff. Valentino wants to solve the murder, partly to avenge Hunter, and partly to keep the film footage out of the hands of the police department who, if they seized it as evidence, would not properly preserve the fragile film stock.

His investigation leads him to Hunter's widow, a gangster and his mouthpiece lawyer, a horror movie magazine publisher, a competing rare film archivist, and others.

The banter between Valentino's co-workers/investigators, Kyle Brodhead, college assistant Fanta, and--new to the team--Jason Stickely is light-hearted, an attempt at a screwball comedy out of the thirties and forties. Unfortunately, the dialogue just doesn't ring true, nor is it that funny. The mystery is adequately handled, with a few twists and turns, but the novel goes on too many pages past the resolution of the mystery. These people just aren't that interesting.

What is interesting is the background of old Hollywood movies. This series is for movie buffs, which is what kept me reading. I am fascinated with the history of old movies. To me, the scene in a wax museum that depicted famous movie scenes was a gem.

If you like old movies, this is a good read; if you don't, it's a so-so mystery.
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
i keep giving estleman another try and he keeps disappointing. i don't know how anyone can make a mystery with one foot set in old hollywood and the other in present-day L.A. dull, but he's found the formula. reading this is a chore--fade to black.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a true Monster Kid, i.e. one who grew up watching classic monster movies on TV, with commercials and hosted by various ghouls, I felt right at home with this book! So many inside references, with many pointed right at Monster Kids. The story reminded somewhat of the movie NATIONAL TREASURE: a mix of non-fiction and fiction, wrapped up in a fun and exciting package. If you know who Karloff, Lugosi and Chaney are and can name some of their movies, chances are you'll enjoy this book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Loren D. Estleman has been known for hard-boiled detective stories for quite some time, but his stories and novels featuring the character Valentino, finder of lost films, have a wonderful new quality that make them a brand new sub-genre of detective stories. If you are a film buff with a knowledge of old films and old Hollywood, there are wonderful multiple levels of fun here. Estleman gives us enough true background in film preservation, like the crumbling, and explosive qualities of old cellulose nitrate fim stock to understand the urgency of finding old films, enough true background in Hollywood history to be fascinated by the odd workings and personalities of the old studio systems, and lots of fictional characters, that if you know some modern Hollywood truths, are not as entirely fictional as you might at first think. All this truth coupled with his usual very well designed purely fictional characters and plotlines give us a book that is surprisingly fascinating and fun. if you love mysteries, but think film preservation sounds like a weird, possibly dry subject for a whodunit, you are severely underestimating Mr. Estleman's storytelling abilities. This book is a hoot.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews