Linda (Three Oaks MI)
I really enjoyed reading Desert Cut by Betty Webb. Although it's the sixth book in the Lena Jones PI series, there was enough information about the back story that the book was able to stand on it's own. Ms. Webb's storyline dealt with young, murdered girls whose deaths revolved around the horrific practice of female genital mutilation, hence the title Desert Cut. The main protagonist, Lena Jones, having been shot and abandoned by her parents and raised in foster homes, feels a deep connection with the murdered children. The manner in which she relentlessly pursued the case really propelled the momentum of the book. I was always eager to turn the page as she uncovered another layer in the mystery.
Beverly (Tallahassee FL)
A Cut Above
This was the first Lena Jones mystery I have read...but certainly won't be the last. Betty Webb has written a fast paced story with a not-so-perfect heroine and a not-so-pleasant plot line. The victims in Webb's mysteries are generally women -- or children -- who suffer abuse at the hands of not just the abuser but an out of control social system as well. The story could come right out of todays headlines -- if anyone is brave enough to name it.
Kristen (Lowell MA)
Serious Issue using Fiction
This book called attention to a serious issue, female genital amputation,happening around the world using fiction as a way of drawing people into the story. It had many moments where my breath just left my body or tears were close to spilling over. I love how the author has a note at the end of the book about the facts of this issue and other media sources as well.
Gerald (Pompton Lakes NJ)
An All Too Literal Title
This is the fifth Lena Jones mystery and the first which I have read. I will definitely go back and read the others. The plot holds your interest throughout and the narrative is simple and straightforward. There are many characters, and although some of them are involved for a very brief period, they are all well fleshed out. This book should appeal to anyone who likes a good Private Investigator mystery story. Along with being a good read, the author sheds light on a relatively little known and very disturbing procedure performed on young girls in many African and Mid-Eastern countries. Some of the descriptions and Author's Notes are not for the squeamish.
Betty (Jasper GA)
The first half of this book is pretty much standard mystery - the protagonist, a private detective, discovers the body of a murdered child and decides she is the one to bring the murderer to justice. The author keeps the plot moving as the detective interviews people who might give her the information she needs to solve the crime.
The second half is a polemic against the cruelty of an ancient practice somehow imported from Africa to southern Arizona. There is little mystery or entertainment value in this half of the book and I can't think of anyone who might enjoy it.
Skip this one. There are many better books on the market.
Ginger (Chandler AZ)
Just So So
This book was mediocre. Aside from Lena, the characters were not very well constructed and had little depth. The dialogue was just ordinary. She kept my attention, however, with the mystery that was unfolding. The main theme of the novel was one that shed light on a barbarous practice in today's world to which millions of women are subjected by cultures that are clearly misogynist. While Ms Webb was graphic about the practice and its consequences (to the point of being distasteful), I was disappointed that she did not go into more detail about the cultural background of this heinous custom. She, however, caused me to want to educate myself about this horrendous practice and what is being done to alleviate it.
Karla (Dana Point CA)
The Sonoran Desert is usually tranquil but not in this case. A mystery with clues dropped in each chapter. This small town full of ethnic immigrants drawn by industry, is not well equipped to solve the deaths of young girls nor the culture the new townspeople brought with them from their original countries. Riveting to the end.