Book Review: Night Country Nocturne – as many twists and turns as Lombard Street!

High Country Nocturne

High Country Nocturne

By Jon Talton

317 pages

David Mapstone is comfortable with his life.  He loves his wife, lives in a quiet old Phoenix neighborhood in Midtown and has a Private Investigating business with his friend Mike Peralta, the former Sheriff of Maricopa County. The problem is Peralta is missing as well as the diamonds he was hired to guard.

As with most cases, things are not always what they seem. Good guys are bad and bad guys are good. Mapstone needs to find where Peralta falls on that scale. Both eye witnesses and surveillance cameras show Peralta shooting the other security guard and making off with the suitcase containing the gems. Did he really flip from lawman to lawless? If so, what could possibly motivate him to do an about face and turn his back on all his beliefs, family and friends?

The clues Mapstone discovers just don’t add up to Peralta deciding to risk his life and those he cares about for money he doesn’t need. Then things go from bad to worse in Mapstone’s life as he tries to find Peralta before the cops do.

First, a mysterious woman is trying to kill him. She has impersonated a deputy, stalked him and is earning the nickname Mapstone gave her: Strawberry Death. When she gets too close to someone he loves, Mapstone realizes the stakes are much higher and more personal than he imagined.

Then he gets a call from the current Maricopa County Sheriff Christopher Melton. He is, from all reliable evidence, a dirty cop. As deadly as a scorpion, the sneaky Sheriff “Call me Chris” Melton makes an offer Mapstone can’t refuse. He cannot risk his wife’s reputation and safety, so he reluctantly agrees to work for Melton investigating a old cold case file. Mapstone was the first deputy on the scene of a suicide in the desert. Now Melton wants Mapstone to find out if this was really a murder.

Mapstone has so much on his plate he needs a platter.  He doesn’t need one more thing to complicate the mess he is trying to untangle with the missing diamonds and the cold case. But life keeps adding another heaping helping of trouble to the pile. His personal life is in disarray, he is working for a man he hates, his best friend might be an international jewel thief and his cold case might be heating up and somehow linked to his other problems.

This fast paced mystery is intricately woven to end up with a completely surprising, yet deliciously satisfying end. The main plot of finding Peralta didn’t mind sharing page space with the subplots. Strawberry Death and Sheriff Melton frequently took over demanding attention from Mapstone and the reader.

Talton made me hate some characters, like others and become very frightened for Mapstone when some showed up on the page. Only extremely talented authors can create characters that resonate so deeply with their new readers and he is one of them.

High Country Nocturne is the eighth book in the David Mapstone Mystery Series. Set in Maricopa County, Arizona It works very well as a stand-alone book, with just enough background without long flashbacks or walks down memory lane. This fast-paced novel is easy to read in spite of the twists and turns. I can’t wait to read the rest of this series.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

Copyright © 2015 Laura Hartman

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Filed under Book Review, books, Mystery, poisoned pen press

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