Betty Webb, author of Desert Wives, a mystery that exposed polygamy in Arizona, has written another powerful mystery, Desert Cut. I was shocked and outraged, and most readers will be horrified when they read Webb's story, one that exposes a cruel practice affecting millions of girls.
Lena Jones was scouting movie locations in southern Arizona, when she uncovered the mutilated body of a young black girl. The child's body brought back Lena's memories of her own haunted childhood. As an ex-cop and private investigator, she was determined to find answers to the death of the young girl dubbed "Precious".
However, Lena met resistance in the small town of Los Perdidos. After discovering that another young girl had disappeared, she found a town sheltering refugees from Somalia, Egypt and other countries in Africa and the Mideast. Lena encountered a charlatan running a non-denominational church, two child predators, and a culture of racism in a town symbolic of Arizona's past and present history. The sheriff is convinced that Lena has stirred up the community, when two more girls disappear, and vigilante justice turns to murder.
Although Lena Jones seems unnaturally obsessed with a case that she hasn't been hired to investigate, Webb reveals enough of Lena's childhood that the reader accepts that obsession. She takes child abuse personally because of her own background. She's the victim of a gunshot wound from a mother who disappeared and left her to make her way through a series of foster homes.
Once again, Betty Webb paints a picture of Arizona as a beautiful state, with a violent past, and, at times, a violent present. Her journalistic background allows her to rip a brutal, tragic story from the newspaper. Her skills as a mystery writer allow her to tell that story through the eyes of Lena Jones, a woman whose heart bleeds for innocent children. Desert Cut is a story that should be read by anyone concerned with human rights, and the rights of children.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
It's an honor to be asked to review books, and I'm grateful to all the publishers, publicists, and authors who send me books. Thank you. Reviews will appear on my blog if I've had a chance to read, and finish, the book. If I do not finish a book, I won't review it, and I will not respond to emails asking when, or if, I'll be reviewing a book.
My reviews are only my opinion, and do not reflect the views of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library.
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1, 2, 3 ... By the Sea: A Counting Book
Book: 1, 2, 3 ... By the Sea: A Counting Book Author: Dianne Moritz Illustrator: Hazel Mitchell Pages: 36 Age Range: 3-6 1, 2, 3 ... By the Sea is a nice lit...
My Oct. 19, 2009 blog provides full disclosure that I only receive review copies of books, with no other compensation. All review copies are marked as such. If there any any questions, please feel free to contact me.