Published October 7, 2014 by Poisoned Pen Press. Also available free from www.netgalley.com
Desert Rage, a mystery set in Arizona, is interesting because the two teenagers accused of killing a couple and their young son are not the type to commit this kind of crime. Private investigator Lena Jones is asked to find out the truth, which is complicated by themes such as Asperger's Syndrome, surrogate egg donors and the resulting children, and the secrecy necessarily involved.
First paragraph, first chapter:
The first thing Ali saw when she came through the door was the blood. The next things she saw were the bodies.
"Why'd you kill my dog?" she asked Kyle.
I hate that Lena person saying those awful things about Mom and Dad, even if she did say it just to make me talk. That my parents would, like beat me? as if! Dad never hurt anybody, he saved their lives, and Mom, God, what didn't she do for people, especially kids?
(ch. 14 from an uncorrected proof; final copy may differ)My comments: The book got better for me as I read along. At first I thought the novel sensational, with the horrific crime committed against a couple and their young son in their Scottsdale, Arizona home. Then the play of characters came in and I became hooked by the two teens, Ali and Kyle; the psychologically damaged but sympathetic ex-foster child turned PI, Lena; her caring partner in detecting, the Native Indian Jimmy; and a host of other intriguing characters connected to Lena's past and present.
Lena is hired to find the true murderers by a U.S. Senatorial candidate, Juliana Thorsson, who wants to keep her involvement a secret. Hunting down clues and tracking a multitude of possible suspects, she works to free the teens from prison as she fights to save her detective agency and protect herself from danger.
I really enjoyed this suspenseful mystery, its twists and turns, realistic characters, and hope to read more in the series. A great read for mystery lovers.
Thanks to Poisoned Pen Press for providing a galley for review.