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Camelback Falls (A David Mapstone Mystery)
by Jon Talton

Category: Fiction / Mystery
212 pages; ISBN: 0-312-30404-8

Rating: 10/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Kevin Tipple


Three years after the events depicted in the “Concrete Desert” Deputy Sheriff David Mapstone is doing less teaching and more work for the Sheriff’s Department in Phoenix, Arizona. Engaged to Deputy Lindsey Faith Adams, David Mapstone is finally finding his place in life and a little peace as he stands on a stage in the County Supervisor’s Auditorium. He is there along with a number of dignitaries, family members and the rank and file of the Sheriff’s Office to witness the swearing in of the new Sheriff, his old friend and training officer, Mike Peralta.

The joyful mood is shattered when suddenly Mike Peralta is gunned down by a sniper’s bullet in front of everyone and Mapstone is covered in Peralta’s blood. Critically wounded, Peralta survives the shooting by a thread and slides into a deep coma. While Mapstone is aware of some of the political factions in the department and the subsequent void in control by Peralt’as shooting, he is totally unprepared by the suggestion by those political forces that he run things as Sheriff until Peralta’s fate is known one way or the other. Having received the message loud and clear that he can’t say no, he agrees and begins to assist with the investigation into the shooting of Peralta as well as trying to lead a department that includes some actively working against him behind the scenes.

History was a major component of the first novel of the series and is an issue here as well as Mapstone uncovers clues that lead him back to a case from more than twenty years ago when Mapstone was a rookie and Peralta was his training officer. As more officers die who are linked to that same violent night, Mapstone and Lindsey must not only do everything they can to survive but to find a band of criminal rogue cops who thought their secrets were long buried.

As in the first novel, the fast read is gritty and at times intense with a noir style and feel. Violence is at most a page or two away throughout the work and usually appears in a brutal fashion. While not disturbingly graphic as compared to somebody like author Patricia Cornwell or others, death and its resulting aftermath in smell and appearance are described frequently in the book.

As befitting a sequel with heft, the David Mapstone characters and others are fleshed out a bit more in this novel. While events of the past are discussed and discussed again, it is done with a subtle finesse and style, which does not slow down the read at all. The authors’ sense of style and pace remain true as does his ability to create an intense interesting mystery well worthy of the read and the series.

Book Facts

Camelback Falls (A David Mapstone Mystery)
By Jon Talton
Thomas Dunne Books
ISBN # 0-312-30404-8
212 Pages

Kevin R. Tipple © 2005



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