cover image High Country Nocturne: A David Mapstone Mystery

High Country Nocturne: A David Mapstone Mystery

Jon Talton. Poisoned Pen, $24.95 (326p) ISBN 978-1-4642-0398-5

In Talton's intricately plotted eighth David Mapstone mystery (after 2013's The Night Detectives), a shipment of rough diamonds has been stolen, and Mapstone's ex-boss, former Maricopa County Sheriff Mike Peralta, who's now Mapstone's partner in their PI business, has disappeared in the Arizona high country, allegedly with the diamonds. Doubtful of the circumstantial evidence implicating his friend and partner, Mapstone, who has a Ph.D. in history, investigates the cryptic clues Peralta left behind and comforts the man's wife. Meanwhile, Mapstone revisits a cold case at the request of the current sheriff, Chris Melton (aka Crisis Meltdown), and also contends with a revenge-crazed former Canadian Mountie. Encounters with undercover agents, corrupt cops, and the Russian mob add to his travails on his way to the unexpected ending. 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. (June)