Cover image for Camelback Falls
Camelback Falls
Talton, Jon.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Thomas Dunne Books, 2003.
Physical Description:
212 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
"A David Mapstone Mystery"--Jacket.
Geographic Term:
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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"In the quiet of my forgotten office in the old country courthouse, behind the plastic doorplate that reads 'Deputy David Mapstone, Sheriff's Office Historian,' I fiddled with the tribal fashion of cops. The tan uniform blouse with epaulets and pocket flaps, the opening above the pocket made for a cheap Cross pen, and the gold-plated 'MCSO' letters running parallel on each side of the collars. ... An off-white felt Stetson sat on my desk. We might be one of the largest urban counties in the United States, but we kept our Old West traditions. ..." Historian-turned-deputy-sheriff David Mapstone returns in this exciting sequel to Jon Talton's Concrete Desert. When his friend Peralta, newly sworn in as sheriff, is shot by a sniper, "History Shamus" Mapstone can't keep a cool, academic distance. And he'd better not: while Peralta lies comatose in the hospital, the powers-that-be appoint Mapstone acting Sheriff in his place. Peralta feels unqualified, but he's the only person who's temporary appointment won't infuriate all the other candidates who want the Sheriff's position permanently. Meanwhile, a cryptic note scrawled by Peralta before the shooting forces Mapstone to confront his own personal history, which has drawn him unwittingly into danger. As Mapstone discovers, the past has deadly consequences. The mean streets of the New West have never been more sinister.

Author Notes

Jon Talton is a fourth-generation Arizonan. Jon has worked as a columnist and editor for newspapers in Charlotte, Cincinnati, Dayton, Denver, and San Diego and currently works as a columnist for the Arizona Republic. Jon and his wife, Susan, live in Phoenix.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The day Mike Peralta is sworn in as the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, a sniper's bullet drops him at death's door. David Mapstone is named acting sheriff. Twenty years earlier, Mapstone had been Peralta's partner as a rookie, but has been back on the force only a few years, having failed as an academician in the politicized world of higher learning. Along with his lover, computer analyst Deputy Lindsey Adams, Mapstone organizes an investigation that centers on convict Leo O'Keefe, who took the fall for a double cop killing 20 years earlier. Pressure mounts to dump the Peralta shooting on O'Keefe, but Mapstone finds an old ledger that implicates Peralta, along with a half-dozen other deputies, in a drug shakedown. Mapstone intends to find Peralta's assailant while clearing his name. Faced with hostility from within the department and murder attempts from outside, Mapstone and Adams generate more heat than the bad guys expected from a former history professor and a computer geek. A worthy successor to Talton's critically acclaimed debut, Concrete Desert (2001). Wes Lukowsky

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this clever plot-twister, a bizarre series of actions transforms Deputy David Mapstone, who debuted in Concrete Desert (2001), from mild-mannered historian of the Sheriff's Department of Maricopa County (Ariz.) into acting sheriff. Mapstone, who has returned to law enforcement after a 15-year academic detour, is only inches away when someone shoots his friend and mentor, Mike Peralta, at the reception following Peralta's swearing in as county sheriff. While Peralta lies in a coma, Mapstone takes over a department where he can rely on virtually no one except girlfriend Lindsey Adams, also a sheriff's deputy. An obscure reference to Camelback Falls and a chain of deadly events set Mapstone digging into a 20-year-old case he and Peralta had been involved in. Talton handles the difficult task of having his hero play simultaneous roles of acting sheriff and lone wolf without losing credibility. The Arizona setting (from the 1970s to the present) is faultless. Mapstone is dogged, though certainly not fearless, as he follows a long trail of drugs, sex and murder even as it threatens to expose those closest to him. Reflective and laid-back, Mapstone can play both departmental insider and outsider. His dual training as historian and law officer enables him to bring a fresh approach to the cases he tackles. Talton has mined another gem from the Southwest's trove of memorable sheriffs. (Jan. 6) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Following a murder attempt on his best friend/boss, deputy David Mapstone assumes the duties of acting sheriff of Maricopa County (Phoenix, AZ). A subsequent, connected murder points to revenge for an incident that occurred in 1979. Unfortunately, Mapstone's own investigation uncovers disturbing revelations, including infidelity, a secret ledger toting up cash payments to various badge numbers, and knowledge of a partying band of police called the "River Hogs." Could someone in the department want the sheriff dead? Talton's second mystery (after Concrete Desert) features a solid narrative, detailed descriptions of the new West (with bitter commentary), and forceful subplots involving Mapstone's past and present. Strongly urged. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.