High Country Nocturne by John Talton

High Country Nocturne by John Talton
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (317 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

A cache of diamonds is stolen in Phoenix. The prime suspect is former Maricopa County Sheriff Mike Peralta, now a private investigator. Disappearing into Arizona’s mountainous High Country, Peralta leaves his business partner and longtime friend David Mapstone with a stark choice. He can cooperate with the FBI, or strike out on his own to find Peralta and what really happened. Mapstone knows he can count on his wife Lindsey, one of the top “good hackers” in law enforcement. But what if they’ve both been betrayed? Mapstone is tested further when the new sheriff wants him back as a deputy, putting to use his historian’s expertise to solve a very special cold case. The stakes turn deadly when David and Lindsey are stalked by a trained killer whose specialty is “suiciding” her targets. In depressed, post-recession Phoenix, every certainty has become scrambled, from the short hustle of the powerful real-estate industry to the loyalties Mapstone once took for granted. Could Peralta really be a jewel thief or worse? The deeper Mapstone digs into the world of sun-baked hustlers, corrupt cops, moneyed retirees, and mobsters, the more things are not what they seem. Ultimately, Mapstone must risk everything to find the truth. High Country Nocturne is an ambitious, searing, and gritty novel, with a fast-paced story as hard-edged as the stolen diamonds themselves.

He’s a private eye with a partner. He’s an ex-cop and his partner is an ex-sheriff. They know their stuff. They’re doing pretty good at the new business.  So why would his partner steal diamonds?

This author is very good at creating suspense and confusion in his story. Everyone seems to be lying. Many are playing both sides. The new sheriff is manipulating him and he doesn’t even like him. The picture Mr. Talton paints is bleak, nasty, and evil. You have the Russian mafia, crooked politicians, bad FBI agents and more. The only one who is what he claims to be is David Mapstone, the main character.

They have video of Peralta shooting the other guard and racing away with the diamonds. David still doesn’t think Mike was stealing them for himself; he thinks its undercover assignment.  Nobody is being totally honest. A dead body from long ago is brought to David’s attention now. He was the one who found it as a rookie cop. Why it’s being brought up now is odd. As if he wasn’t busy enough trying to find his partner and get the truth from him, his wife gets in trouble. There’s enough stress in this story I’m surprised the characters lived through it.

This is a story with a lot of conflicts, a lot of side stories, a complicated plot and diamonds that were stolen from the FBI evidence room. You know not everyone will get out alive. The ending surprised me and I’m not entirely certain that it seemed like justice wasn’t served.  But all-in-all, the story was very good and ended as happily as could be expected.

Speak Your Mind