Betty Webb

The Lena Jones mysteries


Acclaim for DESERT WIND, the previous Lena Jones mystery.


PUBLISHERS WEEKLY STARRED REVIEW : “Webb pulls no punches in exploring another human rights issue in her excellent seventh mystery starring Arizona PI Lena Jones (after 2009’s Desert Lost)."

From David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author of The Protector and the Rambo (First Blood) series: "I've been a fan of Betty Webb's Desert mysteries from the start. With some series, the quality ebbs over time, but Webb's latest, Desert Wind, shows ever-increasing strength. Again Webb uses her expert journalistic skills to explore a shocking topic that private investigator Lena Jones uncovers with masterly resolve. My jaw dropped as I realized the scope and significance of the mystery. Add awesome descriptions of the Southwestern landscape along with powerful emotions, and you have a must-read."

From Roundup Magazine, Western Writers of America: “Betty Webb is a tremendous writer… Ms. Webb has not only entertained with rousing good mystery stories and terrific characters, but educated by taking on the homeless, the dying, and polygamy."

Desert Rage

October, 2014

Ferociously ambitious U.S. Senatorial candidate Juliana Thorsson has been keeping a secret.

The horrific slaughter of a prominent doctor, his wife, and their ten-year-old son inside their Scottsdale home brings Thorsson to Private Investigator Lena Jones. The slain family’s 14-year old daughter, Alison, and her boyfriend, Kyle, have confessed to the murders. Thorsson wants to hire Lena to discover if Alison is telling the truth, but before accepting the job, Lena demands to know why a rising political star wants to involve herself with the fate of a girl she’s never met. Desperate for Lena’s help, Thorsson reveals her explosive secret – that Alison is the candidate’s biological daughter, a fact she’s kept hidden for years. But that’s not all. Thorsson then confides something even more unusual than a mere hidden pregnancy, something that could ruin her political plans forever.

Suspecting that Alison’s parents had secrets of their own that could have led to the murders, Lena finally accepts Thorsson's assignment. But interviewing those who knew the family well soon puts Lena -- now a strong defender of the two teens -- in danger of her life.


DESERT RAGE -- CHAPTER ONE

The first thing Ali saw when she came through the door was the blood. The next thing she saw were the bodies.

“Why’d you kill my dog?” she asked Kyle.

Kyle waited before he answered, almost like he didn’t know what Ali was talking about, but then he shrugged. “Because she bit me?” He rubbed his leg like it still hurt.

Ali knelt down and placed her hand on Misty’s side. The dog’s body still felt warm. When she stroked the Yorkie’s head, it whined. She looked up at Kyle. “She’s not dead.”

“That’s all right, then. I didn’t know you cared about the dog.”

“She’s the only thing I do care for.” At the expression on Kyle’s face, she added, “Besides you, of course. So what are we going to do now? We can’t leave her like this.”

He grabbed the baseball bat leaning against the sofa. “Want me to...?”

“No!”

“Hey, girl, don’t get all jumped up about this. I only did what you wanted, didn’t I?”

“Not the Misty part. We have to take her to the vet.”

“How?”

“My mom’s car. The keys are in her purse. When we were talking about running off to California together, you said you knew how to drive.” When Ali stroked the dog again, it opened its eyes and licked her hand. Ali lowered her face to the blood-matted fur, held it there for a minute. “We’ll drop her off at the vet on the way.”

“Better get on the road, then.”

“Wait a minute.” Ali stood up, walked over to the thermostat, and turned it down as far as it would go. “I read in a mystery once where the killer did this so it would take longer for the bodies to, you know, decompose, give him time to get away.”

“Good story?”

“Better than those stupid comics you read.”

“They’re graphic novels!”

“Like there’s a difference.” As cold air blasted out of the family room vents, Ali returned to Misty and picked her up. She cuddled the dog until she realized that Misty’s blood was staining her new tee shirt, the one with the picture of Rihanna on it. She made a sound of disgust.

“Hey, you okay?” Kyle asked.

“I’m always okay. Go up to my room and get me another top. I can’t show up at the vet’s with blood all over me.”

“Well, duh, Ali. You’ll be carrying in a bleeding dog, won’t you? Nobody’s going to think anything about your stupid shirt. Say you found her all messed up like that and brought her straight in, that, uh, your parents were out and you didn’t want to wait.”

Ali made a face. “Driving over there with blood on me. Ugh.”

With that, the two fourteen-year-olds left the house, leaving behind the cooling bodies of Ali’s mother, father, and ten-year-old brother.