DESERT NOIR by Betty Webb
A Lena Jones Mystery, No 1
Poisoned Pen Press - June 2001
ISBN: 1890208701 Paperback 
Private Investigator 

Reviewed by Barbara Buhrer, MyShelf.com
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Lena Jones had been found by the side of an Arizona highway.  The bullet which rendered her unconscious robbed her of her memories. She wants to delve into the past and find out who she is. But when her friend, Clarice Kobe, is beaten to death in the Western Heart Art Gallery, Lena delays her quest to discover the truth of her own origins to find Clarice's killer.

Assisted by her Pima Indian partner, Jimmy Sisiwan, she finds no  lack of suspects: the heiress art dealer's abusive husband, the Apache artist whose works Clarice had banned from her gallery, the daughter of a Hispanic woman who blames her mother's death on Clarice, even Clarice's parents whose plans for a development Clarice opposes. In her quest for the killer, Lena is confronted with violence and stranded in the Arizona desert.  In her battle for survival she finds some solution to her past.

This is a fine first novel.  It is well written, the plot is well developed, and the situations are believable.  The characters are true to life and the pace is fast and full of suspense. The author presents an excellent picture of the Scottsdale art world, the Indian reservations and the Arizona desert.  She brings alive the terrors and dangers of the desert. Though there remain gaps in Lena's past, perhaps they will be filled in with her much anticipated next adventure.

Other reviews in this series

Desert Noir, No 1
Desert Wives, No 2
Desert Shadows, No 3
Desert Run
, No 4
Desert Cut
, No 5
Desert Lost, No 6
Desert Wind, No 7
Desert Redemption,No 10

Reviewed 2001

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