- 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: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,032,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dry Heat: A David Mapstone Mystery Hardcover – October 14, 2004
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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
Top customer reviews
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. When the Russian Mafia begins to retaliate for the success of Lindsey's team that stopped dead a multi million dollar fraud operation using stolen credit card identities, both Lindsey and David are forced to go into hiding. Hiding is something that neither one is good at, especially with Mapstone pushed to solve his own case.
Containing twists and at times intense action, this novel continues the overall character story arc begun in the first novel "Concrete Desert." Enjoyable as the others, this novel does have more of a melancholy feel to it. Without giving too much away it is safe to say that some decisions for the future have to be made and the ending has enough wiggle room that it can be interpreted in two different ways.
Not to say both cases aren't satisfactorily resolved, because they are. While the Russian Mafia case is resolved pretty much as expected, the Pilgrim case has one final twist at the end that is shocking in its simplicity. Little new is added to the characters as the novel has Mapstone contemplating not only the past of Phoenix and what progress has done to the city in the last fifty plus years, but his own checkered and complex past and recent developments. Some of this ground has been covered before in "Concrete Desert" and "Camelback Falls" but is more of a constant presence in this novel. While containing plenty of action and complex cases, this book is a more introspective work and as such has a more melancholy feel than the previous two.
However, do not let that deter you from another excellent book in the series. As always, Jon Talton delivers a read full of interesting characters, vivid descriptive settings, and a pair of complex cases. The result is another twisting tale of the past and present and one very good book.
Dry Heat (A David Mapstone Mystery)
By Jon Talton
Thomas Dunne Books
Earlier Books in the series are "Camelback Falls" and "
Concrete Desert." Because of the overriding story arcs, I would strongly suggest that they be read in order.
Kevin R. Tipple © 2005
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).