High Country Nocturne
Poisoned Pen Press, Jun 2 2015, $24.95
Phoenix police consider former Maricopa County Sheriff turned private investigator Mike Peralta as the suspect in a diamond heist in which a video shows him shooting a guard and stealing the million dollar loot at Chandler Fashion Center. His partner David Mapstone is in denial as he rejects the concept of Peralta being a thief. The fallout of Peralta’s betrayal includes FBI SAC Pham exiled to Anchorage while replaced by Mann who distrusts uncooperative Dave as being in cahoots with the missing culprit. Mann interrogates Dave and Peralta’s wife Sharon by her husband’s abandoned truck. In spite of the evidence, Mapstone insists Peralta did not do it as he only wounded the guard instead of killing him.
As the Peralta case turns Twitter viral, trusting no one except his spouse Lindsey, Mapstone applies his historian background and his wife’s computer skills to investigate. At the same time Maricopa County Sheriff Melton who replaced Peralta after an ugly election asks David to use his historian skills to work a cold case. Meanwhile, a killer whom David may have met just before his encounter with Mann, targets the Mapstone couple with Lindsey taking a bullet.
The eighth David Mapstone Arizona mystery (see The Night Detectives and South Phoenix Rules) is a sensational twisting noir, perhaps the best in this series as the hero lands in one dangerous mess after another. Confused Mapstone struggles between his loyalty to his best friend and the visual proof of his guilt; only to have his emotions further nuked when a brilliant lunatic shoots his beloved Sharon.