In a way, Lena doesn’t have “typical” days. She’s a workaholic who works seven days a week, but whenever possible, she goes horseback riding and target shooting in the desert outside Phoenix. And she tinkers with her vehicle, which is a 1945 (mostly) Jeep she bought from a desert touring company and repainted its original pink color to sandstone, overlaid with Pima and Hohokam pictographs. Lena’s just not a pink kinda gal. In fact, every piece of clothing she owns is black.
For the past 10 years, Lena has lived upstairs from her office, Desert Investigations, in Old Town Scottsdale, where she spends most of her day working with her business partner Jimmy Sisiwan, a full-blooded Pima Indian. To keep herself in shape, she jogs five mile a day – even in Arizona’s scorching summer heat – and works out two different gyms: L.A. Fitness for the weights and the pool; and Scottsdale Fight Pro, where she studies various forms of martial arts, including the Israeli armed forces discipline of Krav Maga. In case the bad guys want to play rough, she also carries a .38 revolver, but she is thinking about upgrading to a Glock.
As far as romance goes, Lena prefers being a loner. Sure, she’s had lovers, but her relationships don’t last. Her longest attachment was with Dusty, a Clint Eastwood look-alike cowboy who wrangled for a nearby dude ranch, but one weekend Dusty got drunk in Vegas and married a woman he met at the craps table. That relationship ended in a shoot-out at Lena’s apartment.
Mostly, Lena just works, which is what she’s doing in Desert Rage (Poisoned Pen Press, release date 10/07/2014). She’s been hired by a high-profile politician to intervene in the case of Alison Cameron, a 14-year-old girl who has confessed to the torture murders of her mother, father, and 10-year-old brother. Convinced that the girl is lying, Lena spends her days interviewing the wealthy people who ran in the same set as the Camerons, where she learns that Dr. Cameron, the girl’s father, had been living a secret – and dangerous — life. This shocking discovery points Lena towards the anguished families of several recently-executed killers, any one of whom might be connected to the Cameron slaughter. Lena’s Krav Maga skills have never been more needed as during this case.
While Lena’s daily routine keeps her in the vicinity of Scottsdale throughout Desert Rage, other cases have had her ranging further afield. In Desert Wives, she went undercover as a “sister wife” in a polygamy compound on the Arizona/Utah border. Desert Wind took her to Utah’s Snow Canyon, a picturesque place with a deadly history. Desert Run had Lena researching the history of an Arizona WWII prison camp, where in 1944, 28 German prisoners of war escaped into the desert, and might have been involved in the murder of a family living near the camp. In Desert Cut Lena found herself in a small southern Arizona town, caught up in a part of the immigration crisis that is so ugly it seldom makes the newspapers.
With each case Lena solves, her investigative skills are further sharpened, so that one day, she just may find out who she is – and why she was abandoned to die on a Phoenix city street.
P.I. Lena Jones bio:
Lena Jones is a 35-ish private eye who lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, but that’s pretty much all she knows about herself. She carries few childhood memories, because at the age of four, she was found by an undocumented worker lying in a Phoenix street, comatose from a bullet in her head. The worker rushed the little girl to the closest ER, then left her there. Lena – originally called Jane Doe No. 4 — remained in the coma for two months. When she finally regained consciousness, she couldn’t remember how to walk or talk, couldn’t remember her name, who her parents were, who shot her – or why. Frustrated, one social worker dubbed the child “Lena Jones,” and after deciding that Lena’s many physical and emotional problems rendered her unadoptable, turned her over to Child Protection Services. Some of the CPS placements were not the best. In several homes she was beaten. In another home, at the age of nine, she was repeatedly raped by an abusive foster father. But Lena’s intelligence and courageous spirit helped her survive. She earned a full ride scholarship to Arizona State University, where she studied Police Science, and after graduation, took a job with the Scottsdale Police Department. Now an ex-cop (she still carries a bullet in her hip from one drug bust), Lena continues to solve crimes. But Lena’s most difficult case in attempting to discover her own true identity.
You can read more about Lena in Desert Rage, the 8th book in the “Lena Jones” mystery series, published by Poisoned Pen Press. The first book in the series is Desert Noir.
About the author
Betty Webb is the author of the nationally best-selling Lena Jones mystery series (Desert Rage, Desert Wind, Desert Wives, Desert Noir, etc.) and the humorous Gunn Zoo mysteries (The Koala Of Death, The Llama Of Death, etc.). Before beginning to write full time, Betty worked as a journalist, interviewing everyone from U.S. presidents, astronauts who walked on the moon, Nobel Prize-winners, and polygamy runaways. She has taught creative writing classes and workshops at Arizona State University and Phoenix College, was a nationally syndicated literary critic for more than 20 years, and for the past 10 years has been a columnist and review for Mystery Scene Magazine. She has also served as an Edgar judge. In addition to other organizations, Betty is a member of the National Federation of Press Women, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime.