Beth (Killingworth CT)
Despite being a fairly easy read, I found this book extremely difficult to complete. Simply put, I didn't feel that the author's light tone matched with the serious content. I found it frustrating to connect with the main character and understand the struggles of her past as the author's simple writing style seemed to contradict the dark complex past of the main character.
Furthermore, I felt that there was a lot of extra information that muddled the true storyline. There were details that appeared completely irrelevant and just became cumbersome to read...even more frustrating considering it's a story whose dialogue and narration is so simply written.
Basically, reading this book was an arduous task, one that I would not subject to anyone else. I would therefore, not recommend it to others...if you're curious, wait until it's available at the local library.
William (Lynchburg VA)
Desert Cut, by Betty Webb
Author Betty Webb has created in private investigator Lena Jones one of those characters that will delight some readers and infuriate others. Jones, who shares many of the traits found in Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone and Sara Paretsky's V. I. Warshawski (among others), arrives in the fictionalized Arizona town of Los Perdidos and quickly finds murder and mayhem in abundance. Through good luck and a more than ample serving of coincidence, she works her way through the case at hand. Local color adds a Southwestern flavor to events.
Not the first of Webb's tales to feature the detective--this is the fifth in a series going back to 2001 and "Desert Noir"--the author writes in the first person, so character development is essentially limited to Jones. Perceptions of others remain terse and two-dimensional, and the plot carries the story. Red herrings abound, and chance answers far too many questions.
But Webb also raises social issues in her writing; "Desert Cut" deals explicitly with a taboo subject, one that could offend or unsettle portions of her audience. It nonetheless qualifies as a bloody page-turner that should whet the appetites of fans desiring a fast-paced mystery laced with explicit gore, but its grim message may not appeal to everyone.
Kristin (King City CA)
I thought this book was too slow moving and I did not like the subject matter. I did like the Lena Jones character and would like to find out more about her. I also thought the Arizona setting made it interesting. I realize the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation happens in parts of the world,but I found it hard to believe it would be widespread in the U.S. I also felt the author had some ax to grind with chemical companies, which really had nothing to do with the book. When I picked this book I thought it was going to be about illegal border crossing, which would have been a lot more interesting and current subject matter.
Shirley (Franksville WI)
This is the first Lena Jones book that I have read and I was impressed with her cleverness. The author developed the case methodically, without many red herrings. The mutilation of the children was aptly described without much graphic detail.
My chief objection to the book was the inclusion of Lena's boyfriend as I really didn't see his role in the story. I was also concerned with the way the author tied Leana's past to the story, and I did not feel that this enhanced the story much.
Otherwise, I feel that the book developed the characters, including their flaws and made for a pretty thorough description of the (ir)rationale behind this terrible process.
Phoenix Martin (Eclectic AL)
Desert Cut - Excellent
This is the first time I have read Betty Webb. I will be searching for all the Lena Jones series.
Webb gives the reader an excellent mystery of the missing girls and addresses a very touchy subject with compassion.
The American woman in general does not know of the practice of female genital amputation. Betty Webb allows the reader to see the cultural basis and the horror of the act as well. This is a very well written book.
If you have not read Betty Webb, this is a great chance to experience her writing.
Gary (Bolingbrook IL)
This was my first time reading Betty Webb's Lena Jones mystery.Being set in the southwest,I may have been expecting a Hillerman knockoff,but was pleasantly surprised. Lena is a tenacious P.I. who's out to solve a grisly murder case without any cooperation from the town's police or the townfolk for that matter. Did I also mention she's carrying around some serious baggage? Read the book, then hunt down the other ones in the series, I am!
Deb (Parkersburg WV)
Lena rides again!
I have enjoyed all of Betty Webb's books, especially as I lived in Scottsdale for a long time on the outskirts of the rez. Betty captures the essence of the desert and lifestyle of the Native American in a very real way. You would be doing yourself a favor if you read all her books, as they are very timely as well as enjoyable.