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Desert Run: A Lena Jones Mystery    by Betty Webb order for
Desert Run
by Betty Webb
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

If the next book you read is Betty Webb's Desert Run, (and I recommend it strongly) prepare to be able to devote a block of time to it. It is that hard to put down. I had trouble leaving it unfinished to join a very good friend at a lovely restaurant for lunch. (I picked it up as soon as I returned home.)

Private investigator Lena Jones is the protagonist in this unusual series placed in Scottsdale, Arizona. If you're already a fan, you may remember that Lena was pushed from a bus and shot in the head by her mother when she was four years old. After that, she lived a life of traipsing from one foster home to another, raped and abused at every turn. As you might expect, she has a lot of issues to deal with and so can empathize with her clients when they've been done wrong by others. An Ethiopian immigrant is arrested for murdering the man he cared for as a health care worker. The fact that the man deserved killing doesn't cut much ice with the police and Lena works to clear up the mystery surrounding the man's death.

Back story: On Christmas night in 1944, a group of German prisoners escaped from a prisoner of war camp in the Arizona desert and started a sixty year-old rampage of vicious murder, blackmail, bribery, beatings and general mayhem. Two modern day murders occur and as Lena works on clearing the Ethiopian's name, she herself is almost killed. Throw in another client with a lover she needs vetted (she's got oodles of money and he wants it) and Lena's own budding romance along with the plans of her native American partner in the agency to marry and work elsewhere. Lena's emotional wallet is close to empty.

Desert Run, the fourth in the series, is a very good book not to be missed by anyone who loves a good yarn with some great characters (including the Arizona desert) and a bang-up mystery.

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