Review: Bullet for a Star by Peter Kaminsky

I feel like I would have enjoyed Bullet for a Star by Peter Kaminsky more than I did if I were a fan of old movies. The story takes place in Hollywood circa 1940 and several of the big names of the day show up, but I miss a lot of the charm of the book by not actually knowing who these people are. Errol Flynn, for example, is one of the main characters, but while I recognize the name I don’t have much other info to go with it.

Warner Studios has hired our PI, Toby Peters, to deliver a blackmail payment in exchange for a photo of Errol Flynn and a too young girl. Flynn says the photo’s a fake, but the studio’s not taking any chances. Of course, it doesn’t turn out as easy as it sounds. Toby gets knocked out and when he wakes up he finds the blackmailer murdered and both the money and picture gone. He has to a.) retrieve the photo to get his fee, b.) protect Flynn from an unknown someone who is trying to kill him, and b.) keep himself out of jail.More cameos, another killing, Flynn holed up in a hotel room with a couple of women.

It’s a sylish mystery, breezy, full of name-dropping and authentic setting touches, but for me it was just meh. A cute enough way to pass the time, but not outstanding. I do wonder if the series gets better as it goes along. It might be fun to watch the movies mentioned in the story while reading it, too.

2½ out of 5 stars

Category: Mystery & Detective

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Toby Peters #1
First published 1977
Read by Christopher Lane
4 hours 9 minutes

Book source: Library

Toby Peters Series

  1. Bullet for a Star
  2. Murder on the Yellow Brick Road
  3. You Bet Your Life
  4. The Howard Hughes Affair
  5. Never Cross a Vampire
  6. High Midnight
  7. Catch a Falling Clown
  8. He Done Her Wrong
  9. The Fala Factor
  10. Down for the Count
  11. The Man Who Shot Lewis Vance
  12. Smart Moves
  13. Think Fast, Mr. Peters
  14. Buried Caesars
  15. Poor Butterfly
  16. The Melting Clock
  17. The Devil Met a Lady
  18. Tomorrow Is Another Day
  19. Dancing in the Dark
  20. A Fatal Glass of Beer
  21. A Few Minutes Past Midnight
  22. To Catch a Spy
  23. Mildred Pierced
  24. Now You See It

This was my eighth read for R.I.P. VII, a reading event embracing the ghastly and ghostly, mysterious and grim. R.I.P. VII is hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings.

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4 Comments

  1. I have only read one of these (or at least within my memory that is true) and it is this one, and I liked it. But I am a fan of old movies and fairly knowledgeable in that area. It probably does make a difference. Some of the later ones may be more related to historical characters not in the movies… Like Eleanor Roosevelt or Dali. And Kaminsky writes another series I like set in Russia.

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