Books by Jon Talton

THE BOMB SHELTER  by Jon Talton
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 2, 2018

"Talton continues to ladle out murky complications long after most patrons will be looking for the exit. Readers most likely to last till the final curtain are those with a serious interest in the real-life criminal history of Phoenix."
History professor-turned-sheriff's deputy David Mapstone celebrates the 40th anniversary of the only recorded murder of an American journalist on American soil by reopening the case, with decidedly mixed results. Read full book review >
HIGH COUNTRY NOCTURNE by Jon Talton
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: June 2, 2015

"A bit of mystery, some hints of adultery, a dose of gun (well, holster) lore, and the requisite macho posturing. Somehow, though, the ingredients of Mapstone's eighth never add up to much more than a miscellany."
What could come between the partners of Peralta & Mapstone, Phoenix's most active firm of private investigators (The Night Detectives, 2013, etc.)? A cache of stolen diamonds, that's what.Read full book review >
THE NIGHT DETECTIVES by Jon Talton
Released: May 7, 2013

"The partnership of secretive, pensive Peralta and anguished, impetuous Mapstone (South Phoenix Rules, 2010, etc.) is intriguing, their love lives less so. But NRA aficionados will go nuts."
Would a pretty ex-hooker strip herself naked, handcuff herself, then vault over a married john's 19th-floor balcony and willingly kill herself? Read full book review >
POWERS OF ARREST by Jon Talton
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: May 1, 2012

"Talton (Deadline Man, 2010, etc.) crafts a solid mystery while telling the engrossing, sometimes poignant story of a cop with a cane who refuses to be pigeonholed."
A brave cop finds the kind of courage he didn't know he had. Read full book review >
SOUTH PHOENIX RULES by Jon Talton
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Dec. 1, 2010

"Though a gripping beginning loosens its hold somewhere around the middle, tough but vulnerable Mapstone will keep you hooked at the sticking point."
After a one-volume hiatus, Talton revisits Professor/Deputy Sheriff David Mapstone (Arizona Dreams, 2006, etc.), now a more troubled man in a darker, drearier city. Read full book review >
DEADLINE MAN by Jon Talton
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: May 1, 2010

"Talton (The Pain Nurse, 2009, etc.) serves up a well-crafted mystery that is also a heartfelt threnody for the journalism that was."
In Seattle, a beloved newspaper's death coincides with more mysterious sudden deaths. Read full book review >
THE PAIN NURSE by Jon Talton
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: April 1, 2009

"Nicely done. Though she's a pain nurse, Cheryl Beth is a pleasure."
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 (Cactus Heart, 2007, etc.). Read full book review >
CACTUS HEART by Jon Talton
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: May 1, 2007

"The prose can go over the top now and then, but this fifth in the series (after Arizona Dreams, 2006, etc.)—tightly plotted, smartly paced and enlivened by dollops of enthusiastic sex—is purple-proof. Talton's best yet."
In an entertaining prequel, Talton tells how series hero David Mapstone got to be the way he is. Read full book review >
DRY HEAT by Jon Talton
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Dec. 6, 2004

"Talton's characters are consistently more interesting than their story. Maybe next time."
When a homeless man is found dead with a late FBI agent's badge sewn into his jacket, it's time to send in the History Shamus. Read full book review >
CAMELBACK FALLS by Jon Talton
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Jan. 1, 2003

"The plotting goes a bit shaky near the end, but Deputy Mapstone, firmly in the neo-noir tradition, is strong, suitably sensitive, and increasingly sympathetic: a notable improvement over his debut in The Concrete Desert (2001)."
Though he's still entitled to wear the uniform and carry the badge and gun, David Mapstone is 20-plus years away from being a real cop. These days he's a semi-cop, a former history professor working for the sheriff's office in Maricopa County, Arizona, sifting through the dust of old unsolved cases in the hope that a fresh look might work some kind of magic. It's a dilettante's job, but dramatic change is just around the corner. The swearing-in ceremony for newly appointed county sheriff Mike Peralta is ended violently by a bushwhacker's bullet. Peralta, Mapstone's longtime friend, is rushed to the hospital barely clinging to life. To his astonishment, Mapstone learns he's become the politically expedient acting sheriff, charged with holding the department together until the county fathers find somebody better. With his serious criminal-catching days so far behind him, no one expects Mapstone to go after the shooter. No one, that is, except Mapstone, for whom necessity is the mother of reinvention. Once again the steely-eyed law-enforcement officer, he rises to the challenge. Aided by Deputy Lindsay Faith Adams, the "star of the cybercrimes task force" and incidentally his girlfriend, he follows a twisted trail to dark and unsettling places, among them his own half-forgotten history. Read full book review >
CONCRETE DESERT by Jon Talton
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: July 16, 2001

"Though he's certainly depressive enough, Mapstone, out of Archer, out of Marlowe, lacks both the style and substance that made those dark-natured Mean Street walkers memorable. A lackluster debut."
The road's been bumpy recently for melancholic history teacher/sleuth David Mapstone. His wife has left him, his failure to get tenure at San Diego State has left him virtually jobless, and now here's Julie Riding, slightly drunk, banging on his door, promising trouble. Mapstone hasn't seen Julie since they were college sweethearts at Arizona State, a relationship she terminated with heartbreaking casualness. That was 20 years ago, but she still has those ultrapersuasive legs. From Maricopa County Chief Deputy Mike Peralta, Julie's learned that Mapstone has signed on for a temporary investigative gig, and she figures that qualifies him to find her vanished sister, Phaedra. Reluctantly—he knows the local cops won't like him for it—Mapstone agrees to sniff around. Pretty soon, he's sniffed out a brisk Phoenix-area cocaine operation as well as a motive for Phaedra's murder. By that time he's neck-deep in complications involving: (1) a seriously angry and very powerful politician; (2) a vintage serial killer called "The Creeper," and (3) webs of deceit wherever he turns. Meantime, tempting Julie has all but vanished except for a series of enigmatic phone calls. Mapstone, however, is one of those neo-noir figures not easily deterred in his search for the truth, which when he finds it turns out to be as gloomy as the neo-noir genre demands. Read full book review >