|Borderline (Anna Pigeon)
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New York Times?bestselling author Nevada Barr delivers another extraordinary Anna Pigeon novel set in the wide open vistas of southwestern Texas.
The killings on Isle Royale have left Anna drained and haunted, her memories of her time with the wolf study group forever marred by the carnage on the island. Diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, she is on administrative leave, per her superintendent?s urging. Anna wonders if the leave might not be permanent, either by her own choice or that of the National Park Service. The one bright spot in Anna?s life is Paul, her husband of less than a year. Hoping the warmth and the adventure of a raft trip in Big Bend National Park will lift her spirits, Paul takes Anna to southwest Texas, where the sun is hot and the Rio Grande is running high. The sheer beauty of the Chihuahuan Desert and the power of the river work their magic?until the raft is lost in the rapids and a young college student falls overboard, resulting in an even more grisly discovery. Caught in a strainer between two boulders and more dead than alive, is a pregnant woman, hair and arms tangled in the downed branches. Instead of the soul-soothing experience they?d longed for, Anna and Paul find themselves sucked into a labyrinth of intrigue that leads from the Mexican desert to the steps of the Governor?s Mansion in Austin, Texas.
- Good except for medical detail
I have enjoyed all the Anna Pigeon books up to this point, and this one didn't disappoint. I really appreciated having "the husband" back in the picture and being a strong part of the story. It really irritates me when my favorite heroines finally hook up with an appealing male companion who then is conveniently made to disappear for all further episodes. I hope he stays "in the picture."
I also felt it was a little more realistic as far as the amount of abuse Anna's body took -- at least there was an acknowledgment of the physical rigors visa vie her age.
I do wish editors would force better checking of medical facts. An infant's eye color is not set until the infant is a year old for the most part, so determining a day-old infant's eye color is impossible. NO infant's eye color is hazel. Most are gray blue, some are brownish, but the earliest I have seen the iris color declare itself is around four months of age.
It's just when simple facts that I do know about are wrong, I wonder about the things I don't know about and how accurate they are. But it wasn't enough of an irritation to ruin my enjoyment of the book....more info
- one of barrs best
i really enjoyed this novel. sometimes barr can get bogged down in too many side
details. this book had tension all the way through. i read it in two sittings....more info
- Another great read from Nevada Barr
Good, story line with very interesting twists. A must read for anyone who loves Ranger Anna!...more info
- Barr does it again with Borderline
I like all of Barr's books, but wonder how much longer Anna can take the physical abuse....more info
As a longtime Nevada Barr fan, I have to rate this novel as not one of her better efforts. ...more info
- Back to classic Anna Pigeon
The last two books in the Anna Pigeon series have involved sexual perversions and some scenes that could disturb more readers than the typical murder mystery scene. In this book, Nevada Barr returns to more traditional motives and villains.
The setting is Big Bend National Park in Texas, where Nevada Barr is on a rafting vacation down the Rio Grande. There are some over-the-top sequences involving a stranded cow, and the usual Anna Pigeon derring-do as she survives falls, climbs cliffs without a rope, avoids getting run down by cars, stabbed, or shot. I'm still amazed that Hollywood hasn't made a movie out of these books.
Barr doesn't quite convey the beauty of the park as I imagine it (I haven't been there) but plot, characters and the like are on the above-average end of this successful series. If you like Anna Pigeon stories, it's a worthy addition to the series....more info
- What's with the cow??
Nevada Barr writes beautifully and her depictions of the National Parks are memorable. I have read every book she has written and look forward to each new adventure.
Her latest one, Borderline, is a bit over the top for back-to-back violence and improbable events. I couldn't fit the stranded cow, Easter, into the flow of the story, except perhaps as an additional symbol for the darkness and futility which this story depicts.
I also feel that Paul, her new husband, isn't a believable character at this point in the series. I miss sharing the relationship Anna had with her sister, the psychiatrist. Paul doesn't have the depth or complexity yet to be a partner for Anna.
Borderline isn't her best - the editing is also sloppy - but fans of this series will want to hang in there for this latest of Nevada Barr.
- Anna Pigeon at it again!
Dear Anna Pigeon is at it again. She just can't get a break - even on a vacation with her new husband. The first part of the book is as riveting as I've ever seen - a real page-turner that will guarantee you'll be reading well past your bed time. The second half of the book deals with more pragmatic issues including phony politicians set against a backdrop of wild Texas. I do hope that Anna gets back to her Park Ranger status in future books. I miss Piedmont a lot! But keep on writing, Nevada. But allow Anna to lighten up a bit - would be nice to have some smiles along with the tears. Other readers - if you have the time or inclination, start with the first book of the series and watch Anna develop. I've never read a series with as much character development as this - Nevada's right alongside Sue Grafton with her Kinsey Millhone. Keep up the good work!...more info
- Suspenseful story set in Big Bend
Anna Pigeon is still suffering from traumatic events which occurred during her last assignment for the National Park Service, at Isle Royale, Michigan. She and her husband Paul decide to unwind on a rafting trip down the Rio Grande at Big Bend National Park. Another plot line concerns Judith Pierson, the mayor of Houston, who comes to Big Bend to announce her candidacy for the governorship of Texas. The two plots are presented separately during most of the book but, predicatably, they intersect towards the end.
Having been to Big Bend twice, I really enjoyed reading about it as a setting for the book. I also felt that the suspense in the book kept it moving at a good pace. However, some things in it didn't make much sense to me, such as the idea that a candidate would go to such a sparsely populated place which has minimum communication capabilities to announce a political candidacy. Also, the subplot concerning the cow which the rafting party discovered on the Rio Grande, seemed a bit silly to me. Despite these flaws, however, I enjoyed the book, as I have the others in the series....more info
- Left a lot to be desired
I really did not enjoy this book. The other Anna Pidgeon mysteries I have read were better. It was heavy on the heart pounding action and very light on the mystery. I figured out pretty early on what was happening and then doggedly read the rest of the book just to confirm my guess. I was really hoping for better since I enjoy visiting Big Bend National Park....more info
- Gratuitous Violence
The Anna Pigeon novels have gotten more and more violent, graphic and unbelievable as they went on. Just how many gruesome murders can one person come upon?
This one started out wonderfully so I was drawn in again thinking we are now going in another direction--Anna looking more at herself and her motives. Anna showing a softer side. However the killing began again in the first part. I thought that was the end of it until the second half when an odd turn of the novel had us watching even more killing and attempted murders.
This is the very last Nevada Barr novel I will purchase or read....more info
- Even paid more than 9.99
Very good continuation of the series. I think as we hit our late 40's and early 50's and something life changing happens, a review of our life often takes us back to what we do well. And after 25-30 years in the same field, those skills are what we lean on. I look forward to Anna deciding what the next chapter of her life will be, but I expect that she will heal and recharge and go back to the park service that she loves....more info
- Another great story from Nevada - glad I could get it thru Kindle
Anna is still as cool as ever in this story, even tho she's aging like the rest of us. The only unfortunate aspect of this book is that I inhaled it so quickly I was done in 3 days! Now I have to wait that much longer for Nevada to write another one! ...more info
- A damsel doing the chasing ...
Tucked away on a wilderness retreat for a weekend, cozied up in a rocking chair by the fireplace, I opened the cover of the review copy I had received of Nevada Barr's newest novel in the Anna Pigeon series, Borderline. One of the best things about receiving review copies of books in the mail, frequently unrequested, is that I end up reading books I would never consider on a bookstore wander. This would be one of those. The cover illustration is a little too cheesy for me (rushing river rapids between high blue cliffs), a series of any kind is a bit of a turnoff (note to series authors: get over it and move on to your next character), and a detective story by any measure (beyond clich¨¦) would have had me at a quick trot past this one. But retreats are a time for escapism from our usual reality, so I cracked open the cover to read.
From the book jacket I learned that Anna Pigeon, the park ranger of this now 15-book series, is apparently quite a popular read. You don't reach 15 without fans. Must be something to this, I thought. Either sheep mentality, or, one would hope, something of value. And, admittedly, I was finding curb appeal here. Anna is no gumshoe. She is, after all, a park ranger, and my wilderness-loving self warmed to the idea of each book having a backdrop of a national park rather than the cops-and-robbers' inner city. I am also interested in strong female characters, as much of my dislike for detective novels is that too many are based on Bogie-like womanizers, forever saving (and subsequently "doing") "damsels in distress." Look, there wouldn't be so many damsels in distress if there were fewer womanizers wandering the landscape. I was ready to give Anna a chance.
The cool and sharp Anna, independent to the bone, found favor with me in the first few pages. Independent, sure, but she also knew how to be soft for that one special man--her husband, Paul. Her vulnerability showed in a recent diagnosis of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), an after-effect of the novel preceding this one ... a story about a killing in which Anna had been involved (without regret) on Isle Royale in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Anna and her husband head south to Texas for a much-needed rest, planning on rafting the rapids of the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park Also on the raft trip are four teenagers and the raft guide.
To no one's surprise but maybe Anna's, the trip is far from soothing. Instead, we are quickly pulled into another mystery, replete with half-drowned bodies and illegal border crossings, a corrupt politician and her philandering husband, a sassy and savvy journalist sniffing out a good story, snipers on mountaintops and falling dead bodies, suspect security guards, whiny teens, a sacred cow, and even a C-section performed with a pocketknife on a drowned corpse. Rapids, indeed. Yet among all this chilling, fast-paced, page-turning stuff, I also found snippets of delicious humor that had me laugh out loud, or else simply snicker in female comrade recognition.
"Paul kissed her gently. He was the best kisser of any man she had ever met. Most men thought they were good kissers, just like they all thought they were good drivers. Most were wrong on both counts."
And I thought I was the only one with that observation, ha!
Barr could also slip in a political statement while addressing border laws and drug wars:
"America no longer wanted anybody to give her their tired, their poor, and their huddled masses made people's blood run cold."
Or the occasional jibe at religious views: "Should there be a heaven it would probably have a border patrol that put Homeland Security to shame."
Mostly, Barr just did what she apparently does best: she kept me turning pages, putting another log on the fire, turning more pages, then reading late into the night. I like this Anna. I get the way her mind works and how her nerves settle. And I enjoyed, rather than the damsel-chasing for which this genre is known, having a warm, caring marriage as the backdrop for our heroine. Goodness, Paul even touches her on occasion simply to show love, with no demand for the night to end in more. What a guy. He gets that his wife mostly just needs him to be there. There is plenty of passion and mutual physical admiration, but placed strategically to tell us more about the characters than for cheap and gratuitous thrills. Nice.
The mystery is solved satisfactorily, if not exactly with unpredictable results. Anna's devotion to the orphan child she saves from the river turns very quickly to the aloofness of a woman who is not maternally inclined--too suddenly not to be a bit jarring. Overall, Barr has a snappy, sharp style, not particularly literary, but with moments of wit and sparks of humor; she knows what she is doing with this genre. The main character is engaging enough that the reader quickly and easily grows fond, and so, to my own surprise, I added a couple more Barr books on my wish list. Anna Pigeon is the kind of main character women readers enjoy: the right and realistic mix of strength, intellect, softness, introspection, independence, with an ability to lean on, and be leaned upon by, one trustworthy man.
- back on track
I found Borderline to be much more of a page-turner than the previous Anna Pigeon mystery, Winter Study. It was also less violent (a good thing). I have been a fan since the first book in the series and recommend reading them in order. Anna has indeed matured and grows more complex and interesting with each book. Nevada Barr is one of the few authors that I follow closely; I buy her books as soon as they come out and have never been disappointed....more info
- A Real Page Turner
We're long time fans of Nevada Barr and her noir park ranger Anna Pigeon. This book is a real page turner, well written and lots of action amid a beautiful national park. It is a welcome departure from the winter's Isle Royale nightmare adventures of Barr's prior book. The warmth of the Texas sun shines on Anna's darkened spirit as she manages another astonishing series of highly creative adventures, spiced with Texas politics, homage to women and children, and the mighty Rio Grande. Borderline is a good read.
- Thrilling Ride on the Rio Grande
If you have not had the opportunity to visit our National parklands with Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon series, Borderline is a fine example of the best she has to offer.
Park Ranger Anna Pigeon is attempting to recover from the shock of a near death experience in the cold northern territories [see Winter Study]. To save her own life and protect others; she had to kill a man with her bare hands. Although married to her sheriff/priest husband nearly a year now, their jobs have kept them mostly separated for much of that time. Ordered to go on medical leave to recover from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Ranger Pigeon and her husband Paul decide that a relaxing rafting trip to Big Bend will give them time together to get back in touch with nature and their own inner peace. The combination of the hot desert sun and the flowing river should do the trick.
The trip turns out to be anything but relaxing. First, the raft overturns in a rapids, spilling everyone and all their belongings--even the live cow they had on board from an earlier rescue attempt. One of the college girls along for the trip then discovers a body trapped in a snag near the shore. In an attempt to retrieve the body for later identification and removal, they discover that the unidentified woman is barely alive and very pregnant. Pigeon's protectiveness is awakened when a new baby enters her world and she would do anything, even kill again, to solve the puzzling riddle that surrounds the child's birth and protect the infant from danger. Running, climbing, dodging bullets and rescuing children seems to be par for the course of Ranger Pigeon's "relaxing" vacation. Why relax when you can get shot, hunted down, and beaten up?
This trip to the Texas borderlands between the United States and Mexico is rife with political maneuvering, because the Mayor of Houston has chosen the area as the platform from which to announce her run for Governor. Philandering spouse aside, the Mayor and her former Secret Service protector have many secrets that would be dynamite if exposed. At the center of this is a tiny baby born of the now dead woman found in the river. Was the mother attempting to cross the Rio Grande to attempt to gain citizenship for her unborn child? Or is murder floating around the rapids of the Rio?
After several previous adventures, Ranger Anna Pigeon still has the ability to surprise, entertain and carry you along on a thrilling adventure into the National Parklands of our country.
by Rhonda Esakov
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women ...more info
- fine murder mystery
After the tragic events at Isle Royale National Park where Ranger Anna Pigeon was forced to kill a man (see WINTER STUDY), she is on administrative leave having been diagnosed with PTSD. Needing to get away with her beloved husband, a pastor and a Law enforcement officer in Mississippi, the newlyweds go on a rafting trip not connected to the Forest Service. They plan to raft on the Rio Grande in the Big Bend National Park that borders with Mexico.
They spot a cow named Esther on top of a cliff and their group of four college students, the guide and Anna and Paul decide to rescue the animal. They get the frightened cow down the mountain and tie it onto the raft, but it overturns. One of the students finds the body of a pregnant woman trapped in branches and reeds. They free her, but she dies however Anna rescues the baby who they name Helena. Someone fires at them killing the guide and a student. Their dangerous trek back to civilization is fraught with danger. Others try to abduct the baby, but protective like a tiger Anna keeps Helena safe.
Putting aside the probability of the homicides making Anna a murder magnet, Big Bend National Park comes alive through her eyes as much as the deep caring relationship between her and Paul does even though they have spent little time together in their first year of marriage. The Mayor of Hoosier is holding court at the Big Bend Conference Center where she plans to announce her run for governor, but is distracted by her interest in Helena. Anna remains clueless why the governor like seemingly everyone else she meets is interested in the newborn. Although the infant howling in the wilderness is muted, fans will enjoy Anna's latest adventure as there are many people involved in the mystery of the mother's murder, but none have a motive to kill.
- Half and Half
I am a big fan of the Anna Pigeon series but this one gets a mixed review. The first half, about Anna's rafting trip and her struggle with PTSD, is compelling and pushes the story along like a raft in whitewater. The second
plot, surrounding a politician's ambition and her relationship with one of her bodyguards, brings that raft up against a boulder and the raft starts to swamp. Fans of the series will enjoy it nonetheless, but first time readers should start with one of the other books in the series!...more info
- A Rapid Read
Can't Anna Pigeon get a break? The answer is an apparent no as Nevada Barr really puts the Park Ranger through another series of harrowing events. Anna, on administrative leave, decides to accompany her husband on a white water rafting trip. The river is on the BORDERLINE of Texas and Mexico. Through a series of misfortunes, Anna soon finds herself dodging bullets.
It's not necessary to have read other book in the series, but fans will Anna Pigeon's progression. She's becomes darker, cynical and paranoid. Readers are also treated to Anna Pigeon's maternal side. Barr again lets the story feed off of the park setting. The plot was slightly predictable, but this novel delivers thrill a page action and brims with tension. If you haven't read the series, this is an excellent place to start.