cover image City of Dark Corners

City of Dark Corners

Jon Talton. Poisoned Pen, $15.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-4642-1325-0

Gene Hammons, the narrator of this enjoyable mystery set in 1933 Phoenix, Ariz., from Talton (the David Mapstone series), was once a well-respected homicide detective, but he now scrounges a living as a PI after an unwillingness to compromise principles led to his fall from grace. Hammons’s troubled older brother, a police detective, drives him to a crime scene, where the neatly dismembered body of a young woman dressed in pink has been found alongside the railroad tracks; inside her purse is the younger Hammons’s business card. After someone tries to lead Hammons astray with a fake job offer, it becomes apparent he’s being set up to be framed for the murder of the woman in pink. Hunting for a killer that neither Phoenix’s well-connected citizens nor the city’s burgeoning criminal element want found is Hammons’s only option. References to movie actors and other celebrities of the day, as well as speakeasies and bootleggers, lend atmosphere to this well-crafted tale involving desperate people who could easily disappear. Hopefully, Hammons, a man of too much integrity for his own good, will be back soon. (May)