Cover image for Desert Shadows : publishing can be murder
Desert Shadows : publishing can be murder
Webb, Betty.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Scottsdale, AZ : Poisoned Pen Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
280 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
"A Lena Jones mystery"--Cover.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

On Order



Some books have money written all over them. Books like Recreational Explosives and How to Build Them . Or Finding Your Patriot Ancestors Through DNA Testing . Or Losing America . Yes, Patriot's Blood Press has gone racist, making money from books that play into the worst elements of society and its darkest behaviors. It's no surprise there are plenty of suspects when Patriot's Blood publisher Gloriana Alden-Taylor is poisoned, but the hammer falls on just one: Owen Sisiwan, a Pima Indian. Scottsdale PI Lena Jones enlists in Owen's defense. To her horror, Lena finds herself rubbing elbows not just with greedy Gloriana's family and employees, but with disgruntled authors and extremists of all sorts.

Lena, a survivor of a childhood spent in foster care, is further pained by her sessions with a therapist for anger management. Soon her flashbacks to the time just before her mother shot her four-year-old self accelerate and move her closer to the mystery of her own identity.

Author Notes

Before writing mysteries full time, Betty Webb worked as a journalist, interviewing everyone from U.S. presidents and Nobel Prize winners, to the homeless and polygamy runaways. Most of her books are based on the stories she covered as a reporter. Today she's a volunteer at the Phoenix Zoo, and is also a member of the National Federation of Press Women, Mystery Writers of America, the Society of Southwestern Authors, and Women Writing the West.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

At the ripe old age of 76, Gloriana Allerton, doyenne of Scottsdale, Arizona, high society, was murdered during a reception at a book exposition, just as her imprint, Patriot's Blood Press, was starting to earn acclaim in Southwest publishing. To Lena Jones, an ex-cop turned private eye, the accused--Owen Sisiwan, an Afghanistan war vet who worked for Gloriana doing odd jobs to help support his family--seems an unlikely suspect. As Lena starts digging into the circumstances surrounding Gloriana's murder, a slew of potential suspects emerge, opening up an Agatha Christie-like whodunit replete with greedy relatives, extremist politicians, and hate groups. Simultaneous with this investigation, Lena faces her own past as she reluctantly uncovers the mystery behind her nightmares. This third in Webb's series makes good use of both tony Scottsdale and the small-press publishing scene. Lena makes a refreshing heroine; being raised by nine different foster families gives her unusual depth. Solid series fare. --Mary Frances Wilkens Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Loyalty, compassion and a sharp sense of humor help Arizona PI Lena Jones survive as she continues to struggle with her troubled past in Webb's third socially conscious, thought-provoking mystery (after 2003's Desert Wives). When Gloriana Alden-Taylor, the 75-year-old patrician founder of controversial Patriot's Blood Press, is fatally poisoned at the banquet held at the annual Southwest Book Publisher's Expo (SOBOP), Lena's Pima Indian partner, Jimmy Sisiwan, enlists Lena's aid in trying to prove the innocence of the chief suspect, Jimmy's cousin Owen, "a Bronze Star-winning Afghan War hero." Lena soon discovers that many people had the opportunity to slip deadly water hemlock into the victim's salad, ranging from the Reverend Melvin Giblin, who happens to have been a former foster father of Jones, to the fanatical racist author Randall Ott and his equally vicious lady friend. As the suspense builds, the author touches on such issues as consolidation in the book industry, the plight of foster children, mother-daughter relationships, animal rescue programs and more. The glorious Southwest landscape once again provides the perfect setting for Webb's courageous heroine. Agent, Cine/Lit. (July 9) Forecast: With Desert Wives, which explored contemporary polygamy in the U.S., currently in development to become a TV movie, and the Lena Jones books in development to become a TV series, the long-term sales picture for Webb looks rosy. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved