Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Rope-Nevada Barr

The Rope

Nevada Barr

Minotaur, Jan 17 2012, $25.99

ISBN: 9780312614577

With the death of her spouse, a grieving Anna Pigeon leaves New York as everywhere she goes she remembers her beloved. The thirtyish widow accepts a seasonal ranger position at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area overlooking Lake Powell. She quickly realizes she is not accepted by the other rangers as the mourning outsider. The only exception is her roommate Jenny.

When Anna vanishes, none of her teammates blink as they assume she quit and went back east instead of hiking as she did. She awakens naked at the bottom of a deep dry canyon with no memory of how she ended up trapped inside this "jar”; only her head aches as if she has a concussion and an arm is dislocated from the apparent fall. Disoriented Anna realizes the only way out is through a ladder. Drinking water from a canteen, she falls asleep; when she awakens she knows she was drugged and that her adversary carved “whore” into her leg. A desperate Anna must find a way to escape her hellish natural prison and then search for her adversary.

The Rope is a prequel to the Anna Pigeon’s caseload that long time readers will enjoy but need to adapt to the heroine being a tyro ranger and an amateur sleuth battling her first national park psychopath (see Burn). The extremely dark storyline is fast-paced as Anna struggles with escaping her entombment before turning the situation into a cat and mouse war. The support cast especially her fellow rangers are a nasty lot with only Jenny possessing any redeeming qualities. Still series fans will relish this thriller, as out of her element Anna being Anna depends on one person in a survival of the fittest.

Harriet Klausner

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