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South Phoenix Rules: A David Mapstone Mystery    by Jon Talton Amazon.com order for
South Phoenix Rules
by Jon Talton
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

South Phoenix Rules takes place mostly in South Phoenix, Arizona. (Duh!) A small part of the world that most people never think about. If even a little portion of this novel exposes the crime that abounds there, it is a pit of hell. This is the sixth of Jon Talton's David Mapstone series. It's even better than the last one, if that is at all possible.

A New York professor (visiting to research his new book) is murdered. His head is delivered to his girl friend Robin who is David Mapstone's sister-in-law. Mapstone, historian turned deputy sheriff, feels Robin is now in danger.

This is where the plot takes off running and doesn't stop for a breath until the last page. Mapstone is determined and agile, escaping from dangerous situations, not quite with aplomb but maybe a sense of glee that he has outwitted someone again. Robin, Mapstone's sister-in-law, is at the moment living with him while his wife tries out a new job in D.C. You just know there has to be some interaction there.

The police don't believe Robin innocent in her boyfriend's death. But murder is not the only problem facing Mapstone. There's smuggling of aliens across the border with Mexico, drugs, gun running, as well as a myriad of smaller crimes. The savvy sheriff has been voted out of office and, of course, the newly elected one is not worth his salt.

David and Robin are attacked I could go on but hate to give any more away. South Phoenix Rules is a good book with plenty of suspense in an excellent plot, and characters that stand out. Good reading.

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