Betty Webb is a bit of a Jekyll-and-Hyde. She writes the light and humorous Gunn Zoo mysteries that are a delight to read, and she writes the much darker Lena Jones series, much of the material of which came from her years as a reporter. I love both series, but my heart has always been with Lena, partly because of how Webb depicts Arizona and the Phoenix metropolitan area. Webb's Lena Jones series has been consistently excellent, often dealing with important topics like polygamy, and because of her past, Lena is always on the side of children. It hurt to read Desert Redemption knowing that it's the last book in the series. I haven't always agreed with what Lena has done, but she's become more than a friend through the years. Someone is always telling Lena "You can't do everything" to which she always replies, "But I can always try." You have to have a great deal of respect for someone like that. Everything she's done, everything she's suffered, everything she's fought for, has all led her to the final outcome of this book. Desert Redemption is a bone-deep, satisfying conclusion to this series-- and it contains The Best Last Sentence of a book or series ever. You can read it as a standalone, but I sincerely hope you don't cheat yourself. If you and Lena haven't met, start with Desert Noir.
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"In Jones's electrifying 10th...Scottsdale, Arizona, PI Lena is approached by Harold Slow Horse, one of Arizona's leading artists...[and] gets on a trail that leads her at long last to answers about her troubled past..." —Publishers Weekly
At the age of four, Scottsdale private eye Lena Jones was shot in the head and left to die on a Phoenix street. After her rescue, she spent years in the abusive foster care system, never knowing who her parents were and why they didn't claim her. When Desert Redemption begins, she still doesn't know her real name.
Lena's rough childhood—and the suspicion that her parents may have been members of a cult—keeps her hackles raised. So when Chelsea, the ex-wife of Harold Slow Horse, a close friend, joins a "new thought" organization called Kanati, Lena begins to investigate. She soon learns that two communes—polar opposites of each other—have sprung up nearby in the Arizona desert. The participants at EarthWay follow a rigorous dietary regime that could threaten the health of its back-to-the-land inhabitants, while the more pleasure-loving folk at Kanati are dining on sumptuous French cuisine.
On an early morning horseback ride across the Pima Indian Reservation, Lena finds an emaciated woman's body in the desert. "Reservation Woman" lies in a spot close to EarthWay, clad in a dress similar to the ones worn by its women. But there is something about her face that reminds Lena of the Kanatians.
While investigating, Lena's memory is jolted back to that horrible night when her father and younger brother were among those murdered by a cult leader named Abraham, who then vanished. Lena begins to wonder if either EarthWay or Kanati could be linked to that night, and to her own near-death. Could leaders of one or both shed light on what had happened to Lena's mother, who vanished at the same time as Abraham?
All these mysteries are resolved in Desert Redemption, the tenth and final Lena Jones case, which can also be enjoyed on its own.Desert Redemption - eBook
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Lena Jones Series
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