Tag Archives: Betty Webb

Triple Time With 2017 Anticipation by Holstine, Love, and Zgorski

While most bloggers are discussing their favorite books of 2016 – and certainly we are not immune to doing that as well – we, Kristopher, Lesa, and Dru Ann have decided to focus our attention on the future. Our most recent Triple Post below will share with our followers some of the books we are most looking forward to in the coming months. By traveling to each of our three blogs, readers will discover nine new titles to add to their ever-growing to-be-read mountains.

Not wanting to lose sight of the holiday season, we have also each included a seasonally-themed book from the past that we think readers might enjoy delving into as the hustle and bustle of the month ahead begins.

But most of all, we just want to thank you for reading our blogs and hope that the books we have suggested over the past year have helped to add enjoyment to your day-to-day lives. If you have suggestions for Triple Post themes for 2017, do let us know.

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I met the author at the BOLO Soiree in New Orleans at 2016 Bouchercon.  We chatted briefing and when Jill told me the premise of her book, I knew then, that I was eager to read the first book in her “Riley Ellison”  debut series from Prospect Park Books coming April 11, 2017.

The Good Byline by Jill Orr

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Meet Riley Ellison, a smart, quirky, young library assistant who’s become known in her hometown of Tuttle Corner, Virginia, as Riley Bless-Her-Heart. Ever since her beloved granddaddy died and her longtime boyfriend broke up with her, Riley has been withdrawing from life. In an effort to rejoin the living, she signs up for an online dating service and tries to reconnect with her childhood best friend, Jordan James, a reporter at the Tuttle Times. But when she learns that Jordan committed suicide, Riley is shaken to the core.

Riley agrees to write Jordan’s obituary as a way to learn more about why a young woman with so much to live for would suddenly opt out. Jordan’s co-worker, a paranoid reporter with a penchant for conspiracy theories, convinces Riley that Jordan’s death was no suicide. He leads her down a dangerous path toward organized crime, secret lovers, and suspicious taco trucks.

Riley’s serpentine hunt for the truth eventually intersects with her emerging love life, and she makes a discovery that puts everything Riley holds dear—her job, the people she loves, and even her life—in danger. Will writing this obituary be the death of her?


Just to whet your appetite for more, one of the books on Kristopher’s list is . . .

In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen (March 1, 2017)

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Rhys Bowen has been entertaining readers with historical stories for quite some time – both with her cozy Her Royal Spyness series and the more serious, but also rather cozy Molly Murphy mysteries. Now she is writing a historical thriller set during World War Two. Set in an ancestral home in England, In Farleigh Field sounds like a blend of Downton Abbey and The Bletchley Circle.


and on Lesa’s list is. . .

Desert Vengeance by Betty Webb
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Do you know Lena Jones, the hard-nosed Scottsdale, Arizona private investigator? In the course of Betty Webb’s series, we’ve learned bits and pieces about Lena, who only vaguely remembers her childhood before she ended up in the foster system. It was a system that provided more nightmares for the young girl, as we learn in the ninth book in the series, Desert Vengeance.

Lena is waiting at the prison when one of her foster fathers, Brian Wycoff, is released from prison. He raped her when she was only nine, and he served twenty-five years for the abuse of other children in his care. Now, the former policewoman turned private investigator is stalking the man, reminding him and his wife of their actions. But, Wycoff’s wife is murdered. And, when Wycoff himself ends up dead, Lena tops the suspect list. When another woman is arrested, Lena agrees to investigate on her behalf. It’s a case that will test Lena’s beliefs, and take her one step closer to understanding her own story. Desert Vengeance is scheduled for a February release.


And the holiday-themed book I chose to share with my readers is. . . Rituals of the Season by Margaret Maron. This is one of my favorite book in this charmingly terrific series where Deborah Knott finally marries the man of her dreams.

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Judge Deborah Knott has a severe case of anxiety in the final days before her late December nuptials to Deputy Sheriff Dwight Bryant. Her calendar is booked solid with receptions and parties, last-minute details, and family obligations. There is absolutely no way she can fit a homicide case into her schedule.

Nevertheless, when a friend and colleague is shot on the icy drive home and Dwight becomes the lead detective on the case, Deborah is immediately involved. Issues of ethics and confidentiality suddenly face her . . . right on the next pillow.

Renovations to the house where the newlyweds will live are shockingly behind schedule—and, as the clock ticks down, Deborah has serious doubts her rowdy brothers will finish the new construction in time. Meanwhile, her sisters-in-law are giving her etiquette advice, her maid of honor is so pregnant she may deliver during the ceremony, and somehow, Deborah must find a way to connect with her way young stepson-to-be.

And as if things are not already hectic enough, two law students turn up and demand that she help them stop the execution of an innocent woman—one who is scheduled to die in less than a month.

Now Deborah is in danger of losing sight of what really matters—the big, brown-eyed man who’s about to say “I do.” But just when she thinks she’s finally got order in the court and in her life, fate has one more pulse-pounding surprise in store . . .


Thanks again for stopping by my blog today. Please visit the other two blogs, BOLO Book and Lesa’s Book Critiques, to see what other books we are anticipating in 2017.

A Day in the Life of Theodora Bentley by Betty Webb

The Puffin of DeathOccupation: Zookeeper

Normally, Teddy Bentley, an animal keeper in a California zoo, spends her day sweeping up animal feces. Not in “The Puffin of Death.” This time, Teddy has been sent to Iceland to pick up an orphaned polar bear cub to bring it back to the Gunn Zoo. Before she left, Teddy’s boss, the irascible Aster Edwina Gunn, in a rare moment of generosity, handed her the zoo’s credit card and told her to have some fun.

So Teddy begins her mini-vacation by going horseback riding on an Icelandic horse, a breed that has remained pure for a thousand years. A long-time equestrienne, she’s having a ball galloping along a black sand beach near a small village named Vik. Iceland is warmer than she’d expected, and the scenery is magnificent. Glaciers, volcanoes, and deep green valleys.

But all good things must end, and less than an hour later, Teddy and her horse stumble across a dead body.

This is no ordinary dead body. Simon Parr, an avid birder and Arizona native, had just won the largest Powerball payout ever. He has celebrated by treating his birding friends to an all-expenses-paid trip to study the birds of Iceland. Among those birds are puffins, a species Parr is not especially enamored of. Iceland is home to the largest puffin colony in the world, and it’s just Parr’s luck that when the bullet entered his brain, he falls across the opening of an underground puffin burrow. Outraged, the mama puffin trapped inside with her chick promptly bites the dead man’s nose off.

Poor Teddy. On her very first day in Iceland, she finds herself involved in a murder investigation. Her situation does have an upside, though.

In charge of the case is handsome Chief Inspector Thor Haraldsson, who is instantly won over by Teddy’s freckled face and curly red hair. Cute as she is, the inspector is a consummate professional and warns her not to involve herself in the investigation.

Haraldsson’s words fall on deaf ears. Aware that Iceland has one of the lowest murder rates in the world (one per year, if that many!), Teddy realizes she might have investigated more murders than Haraldsson, and proceeds to question the members of Simon Parr’s tour group, who are ensconced at a nearby hotel. The suspects include a former model, a yoga instructor, a famous romance writer, a wealthy restaurateur, an aspiring actor, a not-too-honest rare gem salesman – and the crabbiest crab in the world.

Interviews finished, Teddy leaves for the Reykjavik Zoo, where she spends the afternoon getting acquainted with Magnus, the orphaned polar bear. Magnus is a sweetie. As Teddy describes him, “He was white, with adorable black button eyes and nose, and soaked from splashing around the small kiddie pool he’d been supplied with… The roly-poly bundle of fur was sucking from a huge bottle.”

Magnus is a noisy eater. Here is Teddy attempting to have a conversation with him.

Still cuddle-sized, and only slightly gamey, the little bear squirmed around on my lap for a minute before snatching away the bottle with both paws.

“Delicious, huh?” I asked him.

Grunt. Slurp.

One of the reasons I like animals is because they are so uncomplicated. Eat, poop, sleep, play, mate – that was the sum total of their existence. Animals didn’t muddle their lives with plotting and planning or dreaming of vengeance and murder. They killed for food or territory, but without malice.

“Teddy loves you, Magnus,” I whispered, once the other zookeeper exited the shed.

Grunt. Slurp.

“Do you love Teddy back?”

Grunt. Slurp.

Such is a zoo keeper’s life. The animals they care for only truly love dinner, so the humans’ love for them remains unrequited.

Speaking of animals, no animal is ever harmed in the Gunn Zoo mysteries ( The Anteater of Death , The Koala of Death and The Llama of Death). But that’s not true of humans, who tend to die like flies. The Puffin of Death is no exception. Teddy almost meets her own demise in Iceland, once while hiking along a route once used by ancient Vikings, and barely escapes death when she gets lost during a violent volcanic eruption.

Still, The Puffin of Death has a happy ending. Teddy survives — as does Magnus and Mama Puffin — the murderer is caught, and everyone lives happily ever after. Most of them, anyway. Teddy’s stingy boss, Aster Edwina Gunn, is NOT happy when she receives the American Express bill Teddy ran up while chasing a murderer across Iceland.

But as Teddy explains, “It was all in a day’s work.”


You can read more about Teddy in The Puffin Of Death, the fourth book in the “Gunn Zoo” mystery series, published by Poisoned Pen Press. Read more about the Gunn Zoo mysteries at www.bettywebb-zoomystery.com.

About the author
BettyWebbBetty has worked as a journalist, interviewing everyone from U.S. presidents, astronauts who walked on the moon, Nobel Prize-winners, and polygamy runaways. For the past 10 years, she has been a columnist for Mystery Scene Magazine. She is a member of the National Federation of Press Women, Mystery Writers of America, and the American Association of Zookeepers. Visit Betty at www.bettywebb-mystery.com.

A Day in the Life of Lena Jones by Betty Webb

Desert RageIn 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 BettyWDeath, 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.

Visit Betty at her website, on Twitter or on Facebook