With an introduction by Betty Webb.
At the age of four, Lena Jones was found lying unconscious by the side of an Arizona Highway, a bullet robbing her of any memories. Now a private detective and scarred survivor of a dozen foster homes, Lena has vowed to find the truth about her childhood.
But Lena's quest is interrupted when her friend, art dealer Clarice Kobe, is beaten to death in her Western Heart Art Gallery on Scottsdale's Main Street. Lena and her Pima Indian partner Jimmy Sisiwan first suspect Clarice's abusive husband, but their investigation soon reveals that domestic violence was far from the only problem in the dead woman's life.
For all her money and beauty, Clarice had far more enemies than friends. Among them are a fiery Apache artist whose graphic work she once banned from her gallery and the daughter of an elderly Hispanic woman whose death was directly attributable to the gallery owner's greed. And Clarice's land developer parents are oddly untroubled by their daughter's murder.
Lena's search for the killer brings violence back into her own life but does it bring her closer to solving her own personal mystery?
When her friend who runs an art gallery across the street in Scottsdale, Ariz., is brutally murdered, Lena Jones of Desert Investigations decides to track down the killer in this highly accomplished debut of what promises to be an exciting new series. Clarice Kobe's abusive husband, Jay, is the natural suspect, but the Apache artist George Haozous, whose graphically violent paintings were ejected from the gallery not long before, arouses suspicion, as do members of Clarice's family and the owner of the adjoining gallery. And one trail may lead Lena to an answer she has been searching for her entire adult life her own identity: after being shot in the head at age four and left for dead, she grew up in a succession of foster homes. Webb uses these two quests to present a fully realized picture of Arizona, from barrios to mountaintop mansions, with the rich backdrop of Indian legend and desert facing erosion by urban sprawl. The series feel is comfortable, from Lena's contacts on the local police force (before another bullet forced her to go private) to her sleuthing partner, Jimmy Sisiwan, a Pima Indian and computer whiz. Her boyfriend, Dusty, being a Clint Eastwood look-alike seems a bit much, but for every aspect that doesn't quite click, five others do, and the writing is solid and fun: "I'd gotten warmer receptions raiding dogfights"; "At $4 per oyster, the slimy little bastards should deliver multiple orgasms." A must read for any fan of the modern female PI novel. 16-city author tour.