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About the books:
• Concrete Desert, the First David Mapstone Mystery: Meet David Mapstone, unemployed history professor forced to come home to Phoenix, where his only job prospect is working for his old friend in the Sheriff's Office. He gives David a stack of old cases — "clear them if you can." Using the historian's tools along with his .357 magnum Colt Python, Mapstone adapts.
"More intelligent and rewarding than most contemporary mysteries." — The Washington Post
"Talton looks at his hometown with just the right combination of love, melancholy and understanding." — Rocky Mountain News
• Cactus Heart, a David Mapstone Mystery: Mapstone discovers new evidence in a notorious Phoenix kidnapping from the 1940s, a very contemporary killer is on the loose, and a mysterious and very beguiling new woman in Mapstone's life.
"Tightly plotted, smartly paced and enlivened by dollops of enthusiastic sex...purple-proof. Talton's best yet." — Kirkus
• Camelback Falls, a David Mapstone Mystery: When Sheriff Peralta is nearly assassinated, David and Lindsey are racing the clock to find the killer and the mysterious meaning of the sheriff's last words. The trail takes David back 20 years to his days as a young deputy.
"An interesting, original mystery…Talton has produced an entertaining and appealing detective, and his affection for the desert and its denizens is apparent."— Dallas Morning News
"The story is twisty and crafty, and a large part of the book's charm comes from Mapstone's ambivalent feelings about his Arizona hometown. — Chicago Tribune
• Dry Heat, a David Mapstone Mystery: The mean streets of Phoenix have never been more dangerous, with Lindsey on the run from the Russian mafia and David struggling to solve the 40-year-old murder of an FBI agent -- whose badge turns up on a dead homeless man.
"Taut prose helps tighten the screws, and the winning, sensitive portrayal of the Mapstones—both of them a relief after too many hard-nosed PIs who are all gristle and no brain—lends credibility to the noirish narrative." — Publishers Weekly
Winner of Arizona Highways' 2005 Best Fiction award.
• Arizona Dreams, a David Mapstone Mystery: When a skeleton is found in the desert, it's not an ordinary Phoenix body dump. Historian-turned-deputy Mapstone is soon caught up in a quintessential Arizona crime -- with lethal stakes.
"Talton crisply evokes Phoenix's New West ambience and keeps readers guessing with unexpected plot twists." — Publishers Weekly.
"As engaging as its predecessors. Talton weaves a couple of primary plot threads with parallel personal narratives, and the resulting synergy produces a more suspenseful tale and a satisfyingly multidimensional protagonist. Make this your Arizona series of choice." — Booklist
• South Phoenix Rules, a David Mapstone Mystery: A handsome New York professor is brutally murdered, and he's not who he claims to be. The crime leads Mapstone on a trail that will change him forever.
"A haunting noir story vividly rendered by Talton's white-hot prose...original...impressively unyielding." — The New York Journal of Books
"Gripping...tough but vulnerable Mapstone will keep you hooked." — Kirkus Reviews
"A profound, heart-rending crime tale." — Publishers Weekly
• The Night Detectives, a David Mapstone Mystery: Out of the Sheriff's Office, Mapstone and Peralta embark on their first case, the suspicious death of a young woman who fell from a San Diego condo tower. She was keeping deadly secrets and the killers still aren't done.
"As their private lives settle down, both Mapstone and Peralta face heightened danger from a terrifying and all-too-plausible enemy... Mapstone’s seventh outing (after South Phoenix Rules, 2010) features tight prose and plotting and a pair of complex and fallible protagonists whose character development continues in a series that just keeps getting better." — Booklist starred review
"Succinct, wry descriptions of politics and the unwieldy development of Phoenix run alongside the fast-paced plot...The journey is thoroughly satisfying." — Publishers Weekly
"Even writers who have found their groove like to refresh themselves and their sleuths. Jon Talton started the process when he arranged for his Phoenix sheriff, Mike Peralta, to be voted out of office, making things considerably tougher for his series hero, David Mapstone, the sheriff’s deputy. In The Night Detectives, Mapstone and Peralta have gone into business as private detectives, and their first case sends Mapstone to San Diego to investigate the death of a young woman whose thuggish “brother” isn’t happy with the official suicide verdict. The case itself is only mildly interesting, but the trip drags Mapstone out of his slump, gives his marriage a boost and gets the new partnership off to a flying start." — Marilyn Stasio, The New York
• High Country Nocturne, a David Mapstone Mystery: A cache of diamonds is stolen and the prime suspect is former Maricopa County Sheriff Mike Peralta, now a private investigator. Disappearing into Arizona’s mountainous High Country, Peralta leaves his business partner and longtime friend David Mapstone with a stark choice. He can cooperate with the FBI, or strike out on his own to find Peralta and what really happened.
Mapstone knows he can count on his wife Lindsey, one of the top “good hackers” in law enforcement. But what if they’ve both been betrayed? Mapstone is tested further when the new sheriff wants him back as a deputy, putting to use his historian’s expertise to solve a very special cold case. The stakes turn deadly when David and Lindsey are stalked by a trained killer whose specialty is “suiciding” her targets. In depressed, post-recession Phoenix, every certainty has become scrambled, from the short hustle of the powerful real-estate industry to the loyalties Mapstone once took for granted. Could Peralta really be a jewel thief or worse?
"Talton keeps the reader guessing throughout, but Mapstone's learned, insightful first-person commentary is what really stands out; his comments about the decline of the Phoenix he's always called home are particularly revealing and believable." — Publishers Weekly
Winner of the 2016 Spotted Owl Award.
• The Bomb Shelter: a David Mapstone Mystery: Forty years ago, a Phoenix reporter was killed by a car bomb in one of America’s most notorious crimes. Three men went to prison but was the assassination ever really solved? It’s a case custom-made for David Mapstone, the historian-turned-sheriff’s deputy. But the past never rests easy in Arizona and when Mapstone’s boss, Sheriff Mike Peralta, promises to reopen the investigation, new murders commence.
The crimes are reenactments of Phoenix’s mob-riddled past, where gangsters rubbed elbows with the city’s business elite amid crosscurrents of corrupt cops, political payoffs, gambling, prostitution, and murder cloaked by the sunshine of a resort city. But who is committing them now? A former soldier who is an explosives expert and deadly with a knife? A woman with screen-siren looks and extraordinary computer skills? Or someone out of Phoenix’s seamy, swinging 1970s with secrets to keep?
Mapstone will need all the help he can get. He enlists a Ph.D. candidate and Black Lives Matter activist to help him comb through secret archives of the original bombing. His wife Lindsey, a top hacker, rejoins the Sheriff’s Office and plays a dangerous cat-and-mouse game with the woman — one that goes from the digital to the real and risky world. In the house of mirrors from the 1970s killing, they must find the key that connects the past to the present where a big city is trying to keep its darkest past off limits.
"Through Mapstone’s wryly witty first-person narrative, Talton expresses his genuine love of Phoenix as it once was, as well as his exasperated but tolerant attachment to the city as it is today. Clear writing, an intricate plot, and credible characters make this entry a winner." — Publishers Weekly
• The Pain Nurse, the first Cincinnati Casebook: A doctor’s brutal murder shakes a big-city hospital and someone stalks nurse Cheryl Beth Wilson. But to the police, she’s a potential suspect. One patient, a detective, knows the chilling truth: this killer will strike again and the clock is running. The first Cincinnati Casebook.
"Talton, author of the award-winning David Mapstone series, demonstrates his versatility...A strong series launch." — Library Journal (Starred Review)
''A nurse who understands pain, a cop who's got plenty of it and a cold case turned hot mesh smoothly in the latest from Talton . . . Nicely done. Though she's a pain nurse, Cheryl Beth is a pleasure.'' --Kirkus Reviews
• Powers of Arrest, a Cincinnati Casebook: A seemingly random murder in a bad neighborhood, but Detective Will Borders isn't buying it. The trouble is, a rare illness has caused him to be bounced from Homicide to public information officer. Borders must fight the department, a sly killer and his own body in this gripping tale. A brave cop finds the kind of courage he didn’t know he had.
"No one who’s ever served with Will Borders doubts that he’s a stand-up guy. The son of a hero policeman killed in the line of duty, Will has the right stuff in his DNA, glittering commendations on his personnel jacket, and unswerving momentum in his climb from street cop to detective in the much respected Cincinnati Homicide division. He’s an authentic highflier until suddenly he becomes one of those forced to consider “the senseless, incomprehensible ways our bodies could go wrong.” A tumor on his spinal cord requires complex surgery from which it takes months to recover. Now Will needs a cane to walk—the stand-up guy can’t stand very long without recourse to pain pills—and he isn’t a homicide detective any longer, for his bosses have shifted him to work that is more commensurate with his so-called handicap. Still, he’s glad to be alive. Digging deep, he finds in himself another kind of courage sufficient to fend off lurking depression while he awaits a chance to prove that a cop with a cane can catch a murderer with the spryest of them. And then a vicious serial killer makes a crucial mistake. He singles Will out for special attention. — Kirkus (Starred Review)
"Excellent...The Ohio local color lends depth, and the threat of extreme violence compels, but the novel’s chief interest is watching two mature, vulnerable people become real partners whose survival really matters" — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
• Deadline Man, a novel: He's a man whose life is so intertwined with his job that we know him only as "the columnist." He writes for a Seattle newspaper and isn't afraid to stir up trouble and keeps his life — including his multiple lovers and his past — in safe compartments. It's all violently upended when he goes out on what seems the most mundane of assignments, looking into a staid company that " never makes news." But from the moment one of his sources takes a dive off a downtown skyscraper, the columnist is plunged into a harrowing maze of murder, intrigue and secrets powerful forces intend to keep hidden at all costs.
"Talton combines a moving paean to the free press with a chillingly plausible thriller built around black ops...A knockout novel" — Booklist starred review
"Well-rounded characters and a lightning-paced plot raise this well above the average global conspiracy story" — Publishers Weekly
"Deadline Man takes off from the first chapter and never lets up. This is a great read!" — Michael Connelly.
Winner: Best Mystery of 2010, Arizona Book Publishing Association.