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Endangered Species (1998)

Endangered Species (1998)

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3.84 of 5 Votes: 1
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0380725835 (ISBN13: 9780380725830)
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About book Endangered Species (1998)

This addition to the Anna Pigeon series really reminded me of A Superior Death, which I thought was disappointing. Beautiful setting with less than inspiring mystery plot and too many characters to keep straight.As with all of Barr's novels that I've read, the setting is the most important character. I always open up a browser and do some research on the parks she chooses to set her stories in. I want to be the nomadic Anna Pigeon and work all over the country in all these different terrains, and that's what I like most about these mysteries.But the mysteries seem to fall short of satisfying for me, except for the very first one Track of the Cat. They become too convoluted with too many red herrings, too many characters, and too many predicaments for our heroine Anna to escape. I think the red herrings are the biggest problem for me. The author could do with leaving them more simple -- not every red herring needs to be explained with so much back story.Most mystery stories require some kind of suspension of disbelief on the part of the reader, and the largest thing we have to accept is that murder follows our amateur sleuths (who have a day job other than detecting) as they work in their bakeries, take jobs at national parks, or just live in a really small town. I have accepted that when Anna Pigeon is working at a national park, someone's going to die, and I'm fine with that. Where the disbelief continues into not only a murder happening, but also stalking, drugs, embezzlement, harassment, and so many other crimes is what I have a problem with. There's not a single character working at Cumberland National Park that's innocent, which takes some of the fun out of the mystery aspect of this novel. Zero likable characters (except for the old ladies and their little fawn).This book makes Cumberland Park seem exquisite and beautiful, sultry, and teeming with amazing wild life, while the people are just evil, obnoxious, and mean. I give 3 stars here, 4 for the setting and 2 for the story, and I still feel too generous. Maybe Barr's overall theme is that the company of Mother Nature is better than the company of people.

Book # 5 in the Anna Pigeon series finds Anna on temporary fire-suppression duty at Cumberland Island National Seashore. You’d think an island would have plenty of water sources but you’d be incorrect. The protection of the environment requires that they use fresh water to fight any inland blaze not the abundant sea water. One endangered species that doesn’t mind the salt water is the loggerhead turtle; it’s egg-laying season so the rangers and volunteers are ensuring that the turtles can come ashore safely to dig their nests. When a plume of smoke is spotted in an all-but-inaccessible meadow everyone rushes to the scene. What they find is their own drug-interdiction plane with the charred remains of two passengers. Was it an accident or was it murder? I like Anna Pigeon. She’s smart, resourceful, strong and independent. I wish she didn’t take so many foolish chances – going into dark places on her own and without any weapon or back-up, for example. Then again, when she gets in a jam she usually gets herself out of it rather than wait to be rescued. The books are very atmospheric in terms of scenery. Barr writes about the wonders of the national parks – the majestic beauty of these largely uninhabited expanses, the deep quiet of a starry night, the silvery light of a moon on water, the green light of a deep forest. I also like that the books gives a realistic look at true wilderness life, even though my skin was crawling with all the depictions of spiders, ticks, snakes, chiggers, mosquitos etc. Made me want to take a shower every other page ….Barr included a side-story involving Anna’s sister, Molly that added nothing to this plot and slowed the action. Still, there are plenty of suspects, several red herrings, multiple plot twists and a colorful (if slightly over-the-top) cast of characters; all of which kept me turning pages. It’s a solid mystery.

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As the fifth Anna Pigeon mystery begins, Anna’s playing midwife to a weary but determined loggerhead turtle in the waters of Georgia’s Cumberland Island National Seashore. As cool as this is, looking after the endangered turtles is only a side job—Anna is officially at the park as part of the fire crew. It’s the dry season, a dangerous time, and crews patrol the area on the lookout for wildfires.The smell of smoke leads Anna and her partner to the wreckage of a burning airplane. Clues at the scene lead Anna to suspect sabotage, and, as usual, there’s no shortage of suspects among the people with whom she’s sharing close quarters. True to character, Anna starts looking for answers and continues regardless of physical attack, property vandalism and a couple of skin-crawling episodes. While she’s trying solve the Cumberland mystery, Anna asks her long-distance love, Frederick Stanton, to look into the death threats her sister Molly has been receiving.Barr continues to create wonderfully suspicious characters. Flicka doesn’t fall into that category but I have to say that I absolutely adore the fawn—for me, this was on par with the secret valley revealed in Ill Wind . Barr also continues to create vivid settings—the descriptions of the abandoned, once-luxurious homes dotting the island were haunting. Barr even treats the reader to bits of humor in surprising places (am I wrong to have laughed out loud about the frog?).The Frederick/Molly storyline felt a bit out of place to me, mostly because we really haven’t had a chance to truly see Anna & Frederick in a relationship yet—to me, it felt like we missed a step. There was a bit of mutual interest in the earlier books, there was build-up in Firestorm—and then there was this. I was also a bit disappointed with the conclusion to the death threat mystery but only a bit.Anna Pigeon remains one of my favorite fictional characters, even if she makes me feel like a wimp. Looking forward to Blind Descent!

Dual stories with FBI agent Stanton helping find the source of Molly's death threats while Ranger Anna Pigeon is finding out who caused a plane to crash in the Cumberland Island Park, Georgia.Stanton faces his romantic midlife inconsistencies by falling for Molly while Anna faces her needs for the solace she finds in spacious nature despite chiggers, ticks and weighty turtles. Thus ends their affair of the heart. After Anna is stuck inhaling an acre of burning marijuana she has a bleating fawn lead her like Lassie to the rescue. A bit of silly imagery to offset the murder and mayhem.

I thought this one was easier to get into than Blind Descent, but maybe that's only because I'm already familiar with the character. The mystery plot was adequately structured and nuanced, with enough hints to raise suspicions and predictions without giving everything away too soon. I like that Anna Pigeon has a job (in this case mostly hanging around waiting for a fire to start) rather than just a retired snoop playing at detective. Her investigation methods do exceed her jurisdiction, which I wonder if she would get away with that in reality. At least there are suggestions of consequences for getting too involved. I enjoyed learning about the duties and routine of a ranger on fire duty. My favorite aspect of Barr's writing is her description of settings- I really feel transported to the water-starved island, where dry breezes pass through dust-covered palmetto forest.

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