Review by Steve Swanson
When Jerry of the Literate Monkey handed me this pre-publication mystery, I remembered having read several other Anna Pigeon mysteries, two of them set in Minnesota’s Isle Royale Park on Lake Superior.
Reading Nevada Barr’s biography, I wondered if we might have had the same writing tutor, James B. Hall, she at University of California, Irvine, and I at University of Oregon.
There are a dozen and a half Anna Pigeon mysteries, all of them set in national parks. This one, also set in Minnesota’s north woods, opens with four campers—one of them a paraplegic, and one extremely wealthy–kidnapped and held captive by urban thugs.
A third of the way into the book I had plausibility traumas on behalf of Anna Pigeon who, arriving late at the campsite without even her Swiss Army knife, finds four armed and vicious criminals holding her four friends hostage out in the woods. Is she The Lone Super-Ranger?
Anna must figure out how to free the hostages. The action starts early, 20 pages in, and it’s a real potboiler. Anna, weaponless, sneaking around outside the kidnappers’ campsite, manages to rescue all four hostages and save a wounded dog, though she and one of the hostages is wounded and the others are brutally injured by the thugs.
If you like wild, violent, gory stories, if you like relentless suspense, if you like Nevada Barr, and if you like narrative twists and turns, settle into your easy chair with this one.