City of Dark Corners

Poisoned Pen. May 2021. 256p. ISBN 9781464213250. pap. $15.99. M
Gene Hammons, a veteran of the Great War and former Phoenix homicide detective, now makes a living looking for missing people. People disappear all the time in the book’s 1933 Arizona; the Great Depression has hit Phoenix hard. When a woman’s body is found near the railroad tracks, cut into four pieces. Gene’s brother Don, a police detective, asks him to consult on the case. Although the railroad bull says she fell from a train, Gene thinks the body was arranged. Don finds his brother’s business card in the dead woman’s purse and returns it to him; meanwhile, Gene won’t drop the case, although the Chamber of Commerce calls it an accidental death. He and his police photographer girlfriend, Victoria Vasquez, are followed, and cover-up murders occur. Gene knows that he’s being set up—or that somebody wants to kill anyone who might supply a clue to the dead woman’s activities. It’s a complex case, enmeshing some of the most prominent real-life Phoenix figures, including a young Barry Goldwater.
VERDICT This gritty stand-alone deals with Phoenix’s rough-and-tumble past and its questionable police force in the 1930s. Talton excels at creating the ambiance of historic Phoenix. Suggest for fans of realistic historical mysteries or Phoenix Noir.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing