In Praise of Bett Reece Johnson

Several years ago, I had the privilege of meeting a woman by the name of Bett Reece Johnson, a local woman who was also a writer. I promptly went out to buy the first book in her series, the Cordelia Morgan mysteries.

Over time, we’ve become good friends and I was thrilled when Bett recently made her work available on Amazon. I’m not sure how it happened, but after reading her first book, “The Woman Who Knew Too Much” my interest in writing became much more focused. Now, years later, I’ve published my first book with many thanks for her encouragement. My protagonist, Zeke Cabot of “Damaged In Service” is hoping to one day run across the mysterious Cord Morgan in Santa Fe.

To this day I am captivated rereading the prologue to her book.

AUGUST 6,1993

11:47 P.M.

Sangre De of Cristo Lab

(Near Santa Fe, New Mexico)

Morgan 

IN NEW MEXICO, the desert lives outside of time. Scorpions and rattlesnakes and coyote flourish, winding their way among piñon-studded mesas, cutting paths through vast plains of cholla and mesquite and flowering yucca.
Mindless and ancient, impervious to human revision, the desert endures millennium after millennium—a timeless panorama of sudden electrical storms and flash floods, of killing droughts and deep smothering blankets of snow, of shrieking winds that tear through the arroyos and across the mesa tops, howling among the cottonwoods that follow the rivers. At night, the land becomes a boundless ocean of darkness, its chill air pricked above with stars, the earth below the last dominion of restless spirits-playground of kokopella and cursing desperadoes and fugitive misfits, where it is said that the shade of La Llorona still haunts the riverbanks, weeping in endless grief and searching for her lost children.

 

***

Currently there are three books in this wonderful series. And in each one, Ms. Johnson parses out of delicious glimpses of this fascinating character, Cord Morgan. A highly trained assassin, her assignments seem to move her with the feline grace of a panther through the lives of some intriguing protagonists and nefarious antagonists.

Bett’s exquisite prose is as important to the stories as her characters. I have reread these books and will continue to do so if, for no other reason to be lost in the language.

Still, Cordelia Morgan is as fascinating a protagonist as I have ever read. Indeed, she’s the stuff of which dreams are made.

I offer opinions of some others who enjoyed the book, which were shared on Amazon.

“The Woman Who Knew Too Much is a riveting and well-crafted thriller that turned up in the “slush pile” at a small feminist press. The author offers a plot that mixes murder, water rights, environmental hazards, and designer drugs–including a synthetic testosterone with deadly side effects. The lesbian subtext is as unexplained as Jet’s
growing fascination with the local sheriff in charge of investigating Jas’s death. And while Jet is the protagonist and central figure, it’s Cordelia Morgan, a.k.a. Caroline Marcus, who stars in this first of a promised series.” –Jane Adams

“A literate, unusual, absorbing mystery offering an intriguing central character, fine writing and food for the intellect-what an impressive debut. for one am glad to be in on
the ground floor with this writer and await her next books.” — Katherine Forrest

“Cordelia Morgan is surely one of the most intriguing new protagonists to come along in years.” — Ellen Hart, author, Wicked Games

The Woman Who Knew Too Much

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7 thoughts on “In Praise of Bett Reece Johnson

  1. Oh, great! Another author/book series to add to the pile! 🙂 Thanks, for the review and for turning me on to another NM author. Sounds great and endorsements from Katherine Forrest and Ellen Hart aren’t too shabby at all.

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