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.
Deputy David Mapstone, of Maricopa County, Arizona, once taught history at San Diego State. His reputation has spread ever since he started cracking high-profile cases (Camelback Falls, 2003, etc.). Still, it’s unsettling to be tapped for sleuthing help by the FBI. The badge in question, Mapstone’s told, belonged to Agent John Pilgrim, killed in the line of duty back in 1948. Where has his badge been ever since? And why, the feds want to know, was it in the possession of the late and unlamented John Doe, drowned in a forgotten swimming pool? Before he can dig into the Pilgrim case, however, Mapstone is distracted by the Russian Mafia. His operations stymied by the cleverness of Detective Sergeant Lindsay, detestable local godfatherski Yuri has put out a contract on the delectable computer whiz, who happens to be Mapstone’s wife. Is there a connection between the state-of-the-art cyber-crimes and the John Doe–John Pilgrim mystery so shrouded in history?
Talton’s characters are consistently more interesting than their story. Maybe next time.