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Desert Cut: A Lena Jones Mystery Hardcover – April 15, 2008

4.8 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Scouting locations with her film director boyfriend on a sparkling mountain morning, Arizona cop-turned-PI Lena Jones stumbles across a nightmare: the freshly dumped corpse of a little girl. Instantly it's personal, for, as fans of Webb's previous four Jones mysteries know, her feisty sleuth suffered a horrific childhood in foster care. Not getting involved simply isn't an option for Lena, especially once she learns that the dead girl suffered gruesome sexual mutilation—and that another child of around the same age, seven, has already gone missing from the small town of Los Perdidos. Then two more girls vanish. As in Webb's earlier adventures—particularly Desert Wives (2003), with its critically praised exposé of contemporary polygamy—the longtime journalist manages to fuel her plot from the starkest of news stories without compromising the fast-paced action. Though some may want to skim the more graphic passages, the intrepid will be rewarded with a propulsive, thought-provoking read. (Feb.)
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Review

"Webb's dark tale of a clash of cultures is emotionally draining and intellectually challenging."--Kirkus Reviews
 
"It is a compelling story that will appeal to a broad range of mystery readers—and may bring increased attention to a too-little-known series."  --Booklist starred review
 

"the longtime journalist manages to fuel her plot from the starkest of news stories without compromising the fast-paced action...a propulsive, thought-provoking read." Publisher's Weekly

"this Southwestern series has a depth that enhances the reader's pleasure"  -Library Journal

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Product Details

  • Series: Desert Cut (Book 5)
  • Hardcover: 277 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press; First Edition (US) First Printing edition (February 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590584910
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590584910
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,983,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ted Feit VINE VOICE on April 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Scottsdale PI Lena Jones, in four previous appearances, has tackled some different and interesting and controversial topics, ranging from polygamy, the homeless and a former WWII German POW camp. In this latest novel, she uncovers horrific subject one knows about in Africa and the Middle East, but hardly comes to mind in the United States.

While horseback riding with her boyfriend scouting a film location in the Arizona desert, Lena finds the body of a seven-year-old girl. It turns out there are other young girls either missing or dead from a nearby town. Many of the inhabitants work for a chemical factory there, and are African or Middle Eastern immigrants. Lena can't get the thought of the little girl she found in a shallow grave from her mind, and starts her own investigation. Eventually, she ties together a common thread for all the dead and missing young girls, and a horrific one it is.

As in the previous books in the series, the plot is meticulously researched, with an outstanding bibliography, carefully written and documented, and the writing and story substantial. While constructed as a mystery, the novel is truly more important than the genre.

Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
"I'm not a nice girl," Lena Jones declares on the first page of the first book (Desert Wives) in this outstanding mystery series by Betty Webb, built around controversial darkside themes. By the time Desert Cut, Lena's fifth dilemma comes along, she still isn't. And it's a good thing.

Lena is a been-there woman. She needs all the experience she has as an ex-cop and now Scottsdale PI. One perfect morning she and her colleague/companion Warren Quinn are enjoying a pleasant ride across the Arizona desert when they make a stunning and horrifying discovery--the body of a girl-child. Is she the victim of an illegal border crossing gone wrong, or more, or worse?

Once again former investigative reporter Betty Webb shows her skills in spinning a fascinating story around a tough topic.

Webb is a fine place-writer. Her descriptions of the desert landscape and the people shaped by it alone recommend the book. But the culture is changing. There are more than the relationships between the Native American, the Anglos and the Hispanics. There is yet another wave of newcomers as burgeoning job opportunities attract workers from halfway around the world.

Herein lays the conflict. For the lovely child, the dead girl, was not abandoned after an accidental death, but is the victim of a brutal and unspeakable crime. So unspeakable that local sheriff refuses to give Lena the cause of death--for a time. Lena is persistent not only in gaining that knowledge but in pursuing the truth until all is understood. In the process, Lena learns more about herself and discovers more about her own tangled background.

The book is not all heavy going.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Using her fictitious character, Lena Jones, Betty Webb brings to light a despicable practice that I thought was confined to remote, uneducated, foreign societies. This was one of the most painful books I have ever read, but brought to light information that should be front and center of women's issues. As usual, Betty did her research and provides ample information to substantiate her story.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have been aware of the practice being presented in this book, but never as something done in the U. S. In this the book was an education. I thing making the public aware by such a book is good. Having lived and worked in some of the areas presented in the author's books I much appreciate the descriptions and caring for the land and its rugged beauty. I have also known and appreciated many in the area like the diverse characters found in these stories. I also appreciate the very matter of fact in your face attitude of the main character. Known a few, too few women like this and much enjoyed working with them. I think we could use more in the political arena. I am looking for the next book to read.
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I have to admit I'm a sucker for novels that take place in the desert. Sometimes, my love of desert locales is not enough to carry the book, but that is definitely not the case with Desert Cut. Ms. Webb is skilled at her craft and has produced a set of interesting and compelling characters to move against her chosen backdrop. I will be reading more of the Lena Jones Mystery series. .
Gary George / author of "The House of Three Murders."
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Another great mystery set in the southwest. One reason I love her books is ublike so many other mystery writers you never know who dun it until the end of the book.  She developes so many different and diverse charecters.  A lot of the subject matter comes right out of recent news  headlines as is the case with tgis book and Desert Wives.  I am not a mystery person but these books I love!
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In this book Ms. Jones focuses on the horrific issue of female genital mutilation that takes place in cultures in Africa and Egypt. With the immigration to the USA of people from those cultures it is now occurring in this country. If you knew nothing about this subject this is a place to start.
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