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Dry Heat: A David Mapstone Mystery Hardcover – October 14, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Talton avoids the excessive carnage and high body count that too often mar otherwise competently handled crime novels in his compelling third mystery to feature the Phoenix deputy known as "The History Cop" (after Camelback Falls and The Concrete Desert). When an FBI badge turns up with the body of a homeless man found facedown in a swimming pool, Mapstone recalls the story of John Pilgrim, the only FBI agent ever murdered in Arizona. Although the unsolved slaying occurred in 1948, the gang suspected of Pilgrim's shooting death is still operating. When Mapstone's police officer wife, Lindsey, obtains proof of their guilt in Pilgrim's murder, she becomes their next target. And so the heat is on—and it's mostly on Mapstone, who proves a resourceful and intelligent protagonist. Taut prose helps tighten the screws, and the winning, sensitive portrayal of the Mapstones—both of them a relief after too many hard-nosed PIs who are all gristle and no brain—lends credibility to the noirish narrative. While Talton breaks no new ground, he knows all the angles and plays them for maximum impact.
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About the Author

Jon Talton is a fourth-generation Arizonan. He has worked as a columnist and editor for newspapers in Charlotte, Cincinnati, Dayton, Denver, and San Diego. He currently works as a columnist for The Arizona Republic. Jon and his wife, Susan, live in Phoenix.

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Product Details

  • Series: David Mapstone
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (October 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312333854
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312333850
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,016,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jon Talton is the author of 11 novels, including the David Mapstone Mysteries and the Cincinnati Casebooks. His latest book is the mystery, High Country Nocturne.

Jon's award-winning work has been widely praised by the critics. The Washington Post BookWorld called Concrete Desert "More intelligent and rewarding than most contemporary mysteries." In a starred review, Booklist called it "a stunning debut." The Chicago Tribune lauded Camelback Falls for its "twisty and crafty" plot. For Dry Heat, Publishers Weekly wrote, "Taut prose helps tighten the screws, and the winning, sensitive portrayal of the Mapstones -- both of them a relief after too many hard-nosed PIs who are all gristle and no brain -- lends credibility to the noirish narrative."

Jon is also a veteran journalist and blogger. He is the economics columnist of the Seattle Times and is editor and publisher of the blog Rogue Columnist. Prior to that, he was a business and op-ed columnist for the Arizona Republic. He also worked for newspapers in San Diego, Denver, Dayton, Cincinnati and Charlotte.

Before journalism, he worked for four years as an ambulance medic in the inner city of Phoenix. He also was an instructor in theater at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Jon is a fourth-generation Arizonan now living in Seattle.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on December 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Having a homeless person die is no big deal anywhere in this country. However, having a homeless person die with an FBI's badge sewn into his pocket raises eyebrows. When that badge found on the John Doe belonged to Agent John Pilgrim murdered in 1948, nothing makes sense.

The FBI asks Maricopa County, Arizona Deputy s David Mapstone to help on the case because he brings a unique perspective to an investigation. A former San Diego State University Professor of History, David looks at clues from the viewpoint of a historian sifting through information. The Feds believe that point of view might explain how a badge lost over fifty years ago surfaced on a dead; ironically the FBI fails to cooperate when it comes to providing full information on the long dead agent. However David has other concerns involving his wife Lindsey; a computer whiz, she several others cracked a case involving the Russian mafia; now three members of her team have been assassinated. As the Mapstones struggle to stay alive, the professor begins solving the current spin of the cold case homicide.

The third "History Shamus" tale is an intriguing mystery especially when David works the cold case with little cooperation from the FBI, who wants to restrict his investigation to how the homeless person got the badge. His work also puts him in professional conflict with the Cold Case Squad. The sidebar involving his spouse adds suspense and ultimately ties back to the prime theme, but can be distracting until the reader sees the links. DRY HEAT is a terrific entry in a fine unique police procedural (see CAMELBACK FALLS and CONCRETE DESERT for the previous novels).

Harriet Klausner
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sandra L. Loveland on March 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
David Mapstone and his wife Lindsay are a delightful pair of crime solvers: David because he really doesn't want to be but can't refuse the order of the Sheriff to work a long-dead case, and Lindsay because her life is in serious jeopardy if they don't solve the case soon. It's also great to read about a couple that are not romanticized but are definitely committed to each other.

The reason these books are so appealing is that the author Jon Talton makes such wonderful, insightful and downright derogatory comments about Phoenix that are SO true! It is a city without a soul. Talton's style is clean, clear, and the plots are complex enough to keep the reader going.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Tipple VINE VOICE on June 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"'It's a new dark age," he said at one point. "Nobody reads anymore. People are losing the ability to think. Television has destroyed us. I'm glad I won't live to see the worst of it.'" (Dry Heat, Page 73)

History and the dead, victims of crime or otherwise, have been constant themes of this enjoyable series. So too has been the price of progress and resulting urban sprawl and what that has done to Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area. Those themes continue in this third novel of the series, which also deals with modern day realities of the Russian Mafia and terrorism.

In 1948 the body of FBI Agent John Pilgrim was found floating in a canal outside what was then small city of Phoenix, Arizona. Over 200 agents spent more than two months working the case before it was ruled a suicide and buried by FBI management. Now, an elderly homeless man has been found dead, floating in a swimming pool, at approximately the same location. Homeless people die everyday across this country and that isn't why the media are circling above by helicopter or clogging the neighborhood streets below with satellite trucks. Word is already out that the dead homeless man had the dead agent's badge. A badge that vanished in 1948 and never found, was sewn inside the dead man's coat.

An interagency taskforce is formed and launches an investigation with all the political backstabbing and power plays that go along with such things. Assigned to the case, Deputy Sheriff David Mapstone should be focused entirely at the matter at hand but he can't focus that well. Recently married to Deputy Lindsey, he knows how lucky he is and is reminded thanks to the death of a good friend and mentor, how fragile life is.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ralph W. Bradshaw on December 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
With Dry Heat, his third David Mapstone novel, Jon Talton has joined the ranks of the best of detective novelists. His first two are excellent reads, but in this one, Talton seems to have reached a new level of maturity in his writing. The somewhat complicated plot is neatly woven together by Talton as detective David Mapstone delves into the dusty archives of the old county courthouse to discover the identity of a homeless man, whose body is found in an abandoned pool in an undesirable neighborhood. Mapstone's wife, who has used her considerable computer skills to crack the Russian Mafia, finds her own life in danger, and Mapstone must try to protect her, while continuing to investigate the death of the homeless man. Talton deftly manages the interweaving plots, describing the research skills of former professor, Mapstone, displaying the investigator's dedication to seeking truth, and revealing his genuine and deep love for Lindsey. Talton knows Phoenix and Arizona and has an obvious love for the city, yet is painfully aware of its problems and particularly of the sprawl that has changed this city so drastically in the past several decades.

Anyone who has lived in or visited Phoenix will enjoy the local color, incuding his descriptions of the fabulous sunsets,and also of the violence of wind storms. But those who have never been there will also enjoy an excellent read. I found this book to be a real page turner and look forward to more from this author.
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