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Jon Talton. City of Dark Corners (Poisoned Pen Press, $15.99).
Phoenix, 1933: A young city with big dreams and dark corners.
Great War veteran and rising star Gene Hammons lost his job as a homicide detective when he tried to prove that a woman was wrongly convicted of murder to protect a well-connected man. Now a private investigator, Hammons makes his living looking for missing persons—a plentiful caseload during the Great Depression, when people seem to disappear all the time.
But his routine is disrupted when his brother—another homicide detective, still on the force—enlists his help looking into the death of a young woman whose dismembered body is found beside the railroad tracks. The sheriff rules it an accident, but the carnage is too neat, and the staging of the body parts too ritual. Hammons suspects it’s the work of a “lust murderer”—similar to the serial strangler whose killing spree he had ended a few years earlier. But who was the poor girl, dressed demurely in pink? And why was his business card tucked into her small purse? As Hammons searches for the victim’s identity, he discovers that the dead girl had some secrets of her own, and that the case is connected to some of Phoenix’s most powerful citizens—on both sides of the law.
Jon Talton is the author of 13 novels and one work of history. His work has been widely praised by the critics. The Washington Post BookWorld said Concrete Desert is “more intelligent and rewarding than most contemporary mysteries.” In a starred review, Booklist called it “a stunning debut.” The Chicago Tribune lauded Camelback Falls for its “twisty and crafty” plot. For Dry Heat, Publishers Weekly wrote, “Taut prose helps tighten the screws, and the winning, sensitive portrayal of the Mapstones ¬– both of them a relief after too many hard-nosed PIs who are all gristle and no brain – lends credibility to the noirish narrative.” Best-selling author Don Winslow called Talton one of America’s “extremely talented but under-recognized” authors. Jon is also a veteran journalist. He is the economics columnist for the Seattle Times and is editor and publisher of the blog Rogue Columnist.
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