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South Phoenix Rules (David Mapstone Mysteries) Hardcover – December 7, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Things are bad for historian-turned-deputy David Mapstone. His marriage is in shambles—after a personal calamity, his wife, Lindsey, has taken a trial job in Washington, D.C.—and he’s just turned in his badge and is left working cold cases after his oldest friend and boss, Maricopa, Arizona, County Sheriff Mike Peralta, loses a bid for reelection. And things get worse. Mapstone’s sister-in-law Robin, who is living in his home, gets a package containing the severed head of her lover, visiting professor Jax Delgado, whose tortured body indicates that he’s actually a legendary hit man for a Mexican cartel. So Mapstone, who knows the rules of south Phoenix, a poor and long-neglected area that is becoming increasingly dangerous, tries to protect Robin and himself while ferreting out answers. Talton has created a richly complex character in Mapstone, who struggles with adversity and resists taking revenge, however sweet it would be. As for Talton’s stark vision of a soulless Phoenix, well, it’s not a place you’d even want to visit. A well-crafted, nuanced series. --Michele Leber

Review

“Talton crisply evokes Phoenix's New West ambience and keeps readers guessing with unexpected plot twists.”  –Publishers Weekly on Arizona Dreams
 
STARRED REVIEW
“Talton, author of the award-winning David Mapstone (Cactus Heart) series, demonstrates his versatility in depicting the little-known world of the hospital pain nurse. A strong series launch, for all collections.” –Library Journal on The Pain Nurse
 
“Jon Talton's first novel, Concrete Desert, introduces a strong new voice to contemporary hard-boiled fiction.” --The Washington Post on Concrete Desert

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Product Details

  • Series: David Mapstone Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press; 1 edition (December 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590588142
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590588147
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,617 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.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Theodore A. Rushton on December 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This story is a gem.

Some of Talton's previous books have lacked relevance; they read as if some Phoenix place names were dropped randomly into a stock script, like rewriting a press release instead of doing original research.

Instead, this book sings of factual elements of Phoenix drawn from real news of the past decade; it offers an authentic feel for the underside of the city. Suffice to say, Talton won't get a 'Flack of the Year' award from the Chamber of Commerce or the mayor's office. But, he richly deserves the appreciation of readers who expect authentic site-specific stories.

There's sometimes a thin line between truth and fiction in crime novels; this book is 99 percent fact of Phoenix today, with 1 percent icing to sweeten the plot. Granted, he does treat the "cash registers" of the Phoenix Police with deference; within the past few months almost the entire command structure of South Phoenix has been transferred, several officers are accused of theft, another officer is accused of murder ... and investigations are ongoing.

It's not easy to depict Phoenix. Los Angeles is a city rich and vigorous and full of pride; Phoenix is broke, lazy and without shame. Los Angeles crime was primarily by Angelenos; Phoenix crime is by braceros hired for their muscle to enforce outsiders' rules. Crime in Phoenix is merely an example of the "branch plant" mentality of the Arizona economy, a back lot for outsiders.

Phoenix has a "grab the money and run" mentality; in California, it's "grab the money and show off."

One puzzle, which doesn't detract from the story, is the 'South Phoenix' title; most of the action takes place in the central downtown area.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By PoCoKat on February 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Another winner from Poisoned Pen Press! What an amazing story and I feel so enlightened in regard to the state of modern day Phoenix. South Phoenix Rules presents Phoenix with a brutal realism that expertly depicts the challenges that it faces today. Phoenix is presented as soulless city that has been exploited during the real estate boom. However, now its reality is filled with home repossessions and lost jobs. Talton does an amazing job of capturing the mood of the city. And you can feel his loss as he despairs over what used to be before the carpetbaggers showed up. In a sense it is similar to the loss of old Louisiana that James Lee Burke so eloquently portrays in the Dave Robichaux series.

I love that the main character David Mapstone is a historian with the sheriff's department in Phoenix. What a cool job! He gets to solve cold cases. Love it! David is also suffering a personal loss that is reflected in his dark moods. His wife Lindsey has left town for a job with Homeland Security in D.C. And she has left her sister behind with him. It is the murder of his sister-in-law's boyfriend Jax Delgado that sets the story in motion.

And what a story it is. In many ways the story was torn straight out of the headlines where daily we hear about the "Mexican Drug Wars" and Latino gangs in the Southwest US. And Talton proves time and time again that he knows Phoenix oh so well. I don't want to give too much away so I'll conclude with highly recommending this wonderful Phoenix Noir crime fiction delight!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on December 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
NYU Professor Jax Delgado came to Phoenix to conduct research for his next book. In town, he meets Robin and they begin dating. However, soon afterward, Delgado is viciously murdered. The acrimonious lead PPD Detective Sergeant Kate Vare believes the homicide is related to drug cartel activity.

While his wife Lindsay is in DC, historian and just resigned deputy police officer David Mapstone feels for his sister-in-law as he liked Delgado too, but this is not his type of case. He worked mostly cold cases providing a fresh perspective. However, those who killed Delgado are after Robin too. This makes the case his as far as David is concerned. As he investigates, he finds himself digging deep into a part of the city mostly concealed from the public; a place where human, weapons and drugs are trafficked without regard to the law.

The latest Mapstone mystery (see Arizona Dreams) has several interesting twists including in his personal life as the former cold case cop works the gutters of Phoenix. The story line is action-packed from the moment Robin opens the box and never slows down until the final confrontation. Readers will root for the professor as he risks his life and freedom trying to keep his sister-in-law safe.

Harriet Klausner
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mallard Duck on February 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Having been in Phoenix for over 15 years I remember Jon from the Arizona Republic. Reading a recent review of his current book, I asked for it for Christmas and WOW am I a happy camper. Riveting story that takes place in the streets I know so well, wrapped by current real news stories woven in. Jon's a bit too liberal for my taste but I could set that aside because I enjoyed the book so much. I will be ordering all the others as soon as I finish this gem.
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By Susan C. Carpenter on July 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good book.
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By HawkRadar on June 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I live in Phoenix[25 years] so I enjoy reading about places around town,dining etc but his trashing of Phoenix gets old. I often agree with his points but give it a rest!!!. what saves the books for me are the plots and his interesting chararters.. Some good twists and turns
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South Phoenix Rules (David Mapstone Mysteries)
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