Redemption by Betty Webb is the tenth and final installment
of the Lena Jones Mystery series. Wanting to go out with a
bang, Lena will have to encounter cults, deaths from malnutrition,
and scenarios that force her to remember her past.
noted, "I am very sad since Lena is the daughter I never
had. I have two boys and wanted to write her as I was, a tomboy.
She came to me in a dream one night in which she told me the
story of her life that included the entire last sentence of
this book. Because I am taking the loss of Lena so hard, I
have decided to make the protagonist of my next possible series
her great, great grandmother who has the same temperament
as Lena. I just cannot let Lena go. I am thinking of writing
a prequel when she was eighteen. There were four months between
when she started at ASU, with a full scholarship, and when
she had to leave foster care."
Slow Horse, one of Arizona's leading artists, asks Lena to
investigate the Kanati Spiritual Center, where his flighty
ex-wife, Chelsea, has taken up residence. It is a compound
promoting a mixture of Native American symbolism and philosophy.
Seeing that Chelsea is thriving on fresh air, sunshine, and
the gourmet food Lena dismisses Harold's claims. That is until
she discovers the body of a woman starved to death, with a
possible link to the spiritual center. She begins to think
that there is "something more horrific than religious
plagiarism going on at Kanati."
came out here in 1982 from New York City and moved next door
to the reservation that I talk about in my books all the time.
I can actually walk to the reservation. Every day when I used
to work at the newspaper, I would have to drive through the
reservation. I shop at the grocery store that all the Pima
Indians shop at. I even made one of my characters, Lena's
boyfriend Jimmy, a Pima Indian. I wanted to show that some
of the nicest resorts were put up by the Pima Indians. I saw
buildings on the reservation go from shacks to pretty nice
homes. When I first started writing my stories, none of the
other writers talked about the Indian tribes of Scottsdale.
I learned about them while working for the newspaper where
I wrote stories on how they fought to put up casinos even
though the then Governor Fife Symington was against it. They
won because of the overwhelming public support."
consequence of the investigation has Lena remembering the
murder of her father and younger brother by a cult leader
named Abraham, who then vanished along with her mother. All
she could remember up to now is being left to die, at the
age of four, after being shot in the head, and having to endure
years in the abusive foster care system.
a welcome added feature of a Webb book is her vivid descriptions
of the Arizona terrain. Readers are treated to the beauty
of the area along with the resident ground squirrels, jackrabbits,
deer, and a bald eagle, while a chorale of birds sang from
mesquite and ironwood trees. A book quote, "I took a
moment to enjoy the million-dollar view. It was a clear day,
and I could see the high-rises of downtown Phoenix, the lower
rises of Scottsdale, and the no-rise Pima Reservation."
a riveting mystery, readers are treated to a bit of history,
locations, and geography that will draw them deeper into the
story. Although Lena has found her happy place, fans will
yearn for Webb to continue Lena's story in the future.