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Concrete Desert (2001)

by Jon Talton

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954227,049 (3.54)3
Having recently lost his job as a history professor, David Mapstone returns to his boyhood home of Phoenix, Arizona, to find the city dramatically changed. It's now a haven for wealthy retirees and a seasonal retreat for West Coast "sophisticates," but pockets of his earlier life - some welcome, some not - remain. Mapstone eagerly accepts a temporary job from his old friend, Maricopa County Chief Deputy Mike Peralta: look into still-open cases and see if he can close any. He is settling into his new job when his college sweetheart appears at his door one evening. True to his memory of her, she is there because she wants something. Her sister is missing, and she wants Mapstone to look for her. Mapstone's search for the missing woman is quickly resolved when her body is discovered in the desert, but he is stunned to find the dead sister in circumstances identical to a sensational 40-year-old unsolved murder. Mapstone's dogged investigation of both murders bridges the chasm of clashing cultures, meshing his own long-ago memories with the tangled doings of newcomers and their acolytes, young women eager to share the lifestyle of tainted wealth, drugs, and careless violence.… (more)
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Showing 4 of 4
The characters keep you reading, the plot leads you onward, but you enjoy the language so much there is no hurry to get to the climax and end. Jon Talton is a terrific writer. Written in 2001, Concrete Desert is the first of a series about a different and interesting protagonist named David Mapstone--out of work History Professor back in his old slot of Deputy Sheriff--only temporarily--and working a cold-case and a new murder, Mapstone is the new denizen of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office under his old boss Chief Deputy Mike Peralta. The entrance back into his life of a long-ago love of his life not only stirs the pot, but adds just the right flavor for a great mystery story. Well written, good read and when done you can't wait to find a copy of Camelback Falls to see what trouble Talton has in store for Mapstone (and Peralta)--y'all for your reading pleasure. ( )
  SmithfieldJones | Oct 3, 2016 |
"Then she turned red and downed the scotch in one gulp. I refilled her glass, and she didn't stop me. Shit" she said the chirp gone from her voice. " I rehersed this speech a few hundred times, but I know it sounds forced. I know how strange it seems for me just to show up suddenly, when I walked out the way I did. Now here I am wanting something." I filed that away. "I just thought you'd been held up a really long time in the ladies' room." A interesting set of characters with a theme of "can you ever really go home again. A deputy sheiff who left and became a History professor... David Mapstone brought back home when he was not PC enough for the University gets linked up with the sheiffs department and has a link for solving closed cases. Filled with some old cops, old cases "So Eddie wasn't the Creeper? Or the Creeper didn't kill Stokes either? "Eddie may have been the Creeper" Wolfe Said. " I think he was. But niether one killed Rebecca. "You see" - he poished off the food and wiped his face roughtly with a napkin- "the worst thing an investigator can do is confuse his instincts with his 'pejudices. You work a hundred murder cases and they are all the same and you are tempted to think murder one hundred and one is the same, too. That's where you screw up. Because there 're a million reasons why people end up dead. A million secrets behind those dead eyes. And nothing keeps secrets better than the desert.." Great writing interesting characters lots of fun! Lucky you even you had not read the stories yet! ( )
  ckNikka | Sep 20, 2008 |
not a bad read for a first book. The author writes for the Arizona Republic, I'll read more by him. Library book. ( )
  chaoscat60 | Mar 14, 2007 |
I like to "discover" new authors who set their work in the southwest. Talton succeeds in making his love-hate realtionship with Phoenix compelling, but fails badly in constructing believable characters or plot. ( )
  seasidereader | Nov 5, 2006 |
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Having recently lost his job as a history professor, David Mapstone returns to his boyhood home of Phoenix, Arizona, to find the city dramatically changed. It's now a haven for wealthy retirees and a seasonal retreat for West Coast "sophisticates," but pockets of his earlier life - some welcome, some not - remain. Mapstone eagerly accepts a temporary job from his old friend, Maricopa County Chief Deputy Mike Peralta: look into still-open cases and see if he can close any. He is settling into his new job when his college sweetheart appears at his door one evening. True to his memory of her, she is there because she wants something. Her sister is missing, and she wants Mapstone to look for her. Mapstone's search for the missing woman is quickly resolved when her body is discovered in the desert, but he is stunned to find the dead sister in circumstances identical to a sensational 40-year-old unsolved murder. Mapstone's dogged investigation of both murders bridges the chasm of clashing cultures, meshing his own long-ago memories with the tangled doings of newcomers and their acolytes, young women eager to share the lifestyle of tainted wealth, drugs, and careless violence.

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