As in the previous seven entries in the series, this latest Leno Jones Mystery revolves around a central question. It begins when the Cameron family, father, mother and 10-year-old son, are found brutally murdered, and their 14-year-old daughter. Ali, and her boyfriend, Kyle are arrested for the deed. Each confesses in the mistaken belief that he/she was protecting the other. And thus begins the story which asks the question: What is a mother?
Almost immediately, Lena is retained by Juliana Thorsson, an apparently hard-hearted, right-wing Congresswoman and unannounced candidate for the U.S. Senate from Arizona, to discover what really happened and find the real killer. The reason for her interest is derived from the fact that she was the donor of the egg which grew into Ali after being fertilized with her father’s sperm and gestated in her mother’s womb. And it’s quite a journey from the beginning to the end, illustrating the various permutations of what makes a woman a mother.
Betty Webb is not shy. She takes on all kinds of controversial topics, from polygamy to adoption and foster care. Her description of the Arizona climate and Scottsdale’s geography makes the reader feel the heat and see the environment, and her development of the characters dwelling in the pages of her novels allows the reader to get to know them intimately.