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The Night Detectives: A David Mapstone Mystery (David Mapstone Mysteries) Hardcover – May 7, 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* There’s something unsettling about the man who hires the newly formed Phoenix PI firm of former sheriff Mike Peralta and his former deputy, historian David Mapstone. That feeling is confirmed when the client is shot point-blank as he drives away from the meeting. All of which intensifies the former lawmen’s interest in pursuing an investigation into the suspicious death (ruled a suicide) of Grace Hunter, who fell naked and handcuffed from the nineteenth-floor balcony of a San Diego condo. That Peralta and Mapstone are somehow intricately involved in this deadly situation from the start becomes increasingly apparent, as they search for who’s behind it and why, with the help of their previously estranged wives, both of whom return home. Yet as their private lives settle down, both Peralta and Mapstone face heightened danger from a terrifying and all-too-plausible enemy. (As a sidebar to his investigation, Mapstone contrasts soulless Phoenix, where the planners got it wrong, with charming San Diego, where they got it right.) Mapstone’s seventh outing (after South Phoenix Rules, 2010) features tight prose and plotting and a pair of complex and fallible protagonists whose character development continues in a series that just keeps getting better. --Michele Leber

Review

""Mapstone’s seventh outing (after South Phoenix Rules, 2010) features tight prose and plotting and a pair of complex and fallible protagonists whose character development continues in a series that just keeps getting better."" —Booklist starred review

""The partnership of secretive, pensive Peralta and anguished, impetuous Mapstone (South Phoenix Rules, 2010, etc.) is intriguing, their love lives less so. But NRA aficionados will go nuts.""—Kirkus Reviews

""The journey is thoroughly satisfying.""—Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • Series: David Mapstone Mysteries (Book 6)
  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press; 1 edition (May 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1464201323
  • ISBN-13: 978-1464201325
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,328,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Allen P. Weiner on April 29, 2013
Format: Paperback
The Night Detectives, the latest in the David Mapstone series, stuns as it shows the growth of our hero as a character with dimensions yet undiscovered. The language, brutally honest and powerful, takes us through a journey of self realization where demons are challenged head on and simultaneously exposes the inner beauty and ugliness of relationships as they grow. Talton gives us no choice but to stay engaged throughout this masterpiece. We are left wanting more.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are many ways to draw the breath out of a man or life out of a city. In "The Night Detectives," Jon Talton takes the reader on an often breathless and gut wrenching journey of soul-searching, intrigue and deception.

Ex police chief Mike Peralta and former cold case solver David Mapstone have left law enforcement and set up their own private detective agency. Within the span of a few thrilling pages, Felix, a cagey one-legged character pays them $10k to find out why Grace, a high-priced call girl, would have leaped off a high rise balcony. Felix barely gets out of the parking lot before he's gunned down, leaving Mapstone and Peralta with a plethora of unanswered questions.

In this sixth installment of the David Mapstone series, Talton keeps the reader in such an emotional vise that at times you might be afraid to turn the page or start the next chapter for fear of what gut wrenching scene is going to come next.

In addition to a dead first client in his fledgling private-eye business, Mapstone couldn't be at a more dark and pivotal moment in his personal life. A man's house is suppose to be his sanctuary, but Mapstone goes home to a dark and empty dwelling where before he can pull his gin bottle out of the freezer, he must sweep thru the rooms, gun drawn: "I have stopped turning on the lights. I have stopped listening to jazz. I have stopped reading books. The outside world holds no appeal, either."

The Mapstone series has always had multi-dimensional characters, but now they're even more lifelike in their depth. He is one flawed human being. In one chapter you might wish he were in your corner but a few chapters later, cheer when he gets his face slapped.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Halfway through each of Jon Talton's Mapstone books, I usually think I've got it figured out...and then he surprises me yet again, with a plot twist that keeps me reading till the very end. "The Night Detectives" is yet another good one in a growing series of Talton's Mapstone series, and those who've liked his previous novels will like this one just as much.

I'm already waiting for the next one....
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I began reading the Mapstone series a couple of years ago, but quit after two books. Jon Talton is a talented writer whom I used to enjoy when he was a journalist in Arizona, and the concept of a detective that brings a historical perspective to current events is intriguing. But, I just couldn't warm up to the self-centered, morally unfocused character of David Mapstone. The Night Detectives is a great example of what doesn't work for me in this series.

PhD historian, and now private investigator (In partnership with former Maricopa Sheriff Peralta), Mapstone is going through a tough time. His second wife has left him after suffering a miscarriage and his girlfriend (his wife's sister) was recently shot to death in an attempt to kill Mapstone. Or something. That would get anyone down, but Mapstone turns moping into melodrama as he and Peralta pursue the murder of a high-priced call girl and her husband, whom we meet briefly but never get to know or care about. The high point of the silliness, for me, is when the murderers/terrorists lead Mapstone all over Phoenix, presumably to insure that he isn't being followed; then drop off a package for him from an airplane! This book is like that.

I very much like the idea that Talton wants to make Phoenix/Scottsdale, our mutual home town, a character in the story ala Dennis Lehane, Sara Paretsky, Raymond Chandler, etc. But, even here, his effort is uneven, substituting lists of buildings and streets for real insight into the area. For example, he could have used plenty of examples of Minutemen, racial profiling and other current events to demonstrate why terrorists might feel comfortable here, but he never does. It's all just, "Phoenix was nice when I was a kid, but now it's going to Hell."

Obviously, I can't recommend this book. I'm sorry about that because I think Talton has the talent to be a fine novelist, and David Mapstone could become a good protagonist. Maybe next time.
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Format: Paperback
This is my second Mapstone mystery and like the first one (South Phoenix Rules), this edition was very entertaining. I don't mean the book was funny or humorous, but fun in the sense that I felt entertained throughout. Kind of like the feeling you get when you go to the movies. Sometimes you go to be educated, sometimes you go to be angry at something, and sometimes you go to be scared. But most often.....you pay your $8 to be entertained. Its why you return again and again. On more technical terms, I am a fan of Talton's writing. I don't always get this when I read books, but Talton's writing just gels with the way I read and think. Its almost as though I am telling myself the story I'm reading on the page, instead of reading myself text that my mind translates into a story, as I get when I read some other writers (some great, some not so great).....or when I read a text book or the set up instructions to Microsoft Windows NT Professional Edition.

The stories are great and pretty original. As a resident of Phoenix, I also get to appreciate visualizing the settings Talton provides, and using his histories to give many of the things I already know about, more depth and texture. I was curious how this would work for someone unfamiliar with Phoenix. But a decent portion of this book is set in San Diego, a place I've never visited before. Yet, I found his descriptions and short histories easily understandable and a big part of what I found entertaining.

The cast of characters is always interesting, and if you know something about Phoenix, you will find a little something (or a lotta something) of a real Arizonan in them....even the bad guys.

My only complaint is with the primary character, David Mapstone.
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