RogerBW's Blog

Blood Lure, Nevada Barr 29 June 2014

Ninth in Barr's Anna Pigeon series. In Glacier National Park, a trip to move sampling traps for bear DNA is disrupted by an odd bear attack, and the next morning a woman is found dead and mutilated… by human tools.

Because Anna is away from her home park, there's more detail than usual about the non-investigative part of her work (as in the earlier Firestorm), and at times this feels a little slow. The mystery side of the plot progresses very slowly at first, leaving the first half of the book a bit lacking in oomph, but picks up pace towards the end.

A side plot dealing with a poisonous interpersonal relationship is handled remarkably well, and in particular considers the usual aftermath of abusive situations. Barr is good at messed-up people. There's not much series development here; Anna's new relationship is on hold while she's away, and there's only a brief mention of her sister Molly.

As always, the descriptive passages are excellent; Barr has of course visited (and in some cases worked at) all the places she describes, and does a fine job of putting them on the page. For me at least, this made up for the slow start. On the other hand, the bad guy(s) never quite come(s) over as convincing; a bit too much caricature, I think.

The mystery lays itself wide open quite early on and won't deceive the experienced reader for long, though a few details remain to be filled in. All the necessary information is here, perhaps a little too plainly disguised as being relevant to something else. The ending seems a little facile, with all the good guys getting what they want at little cost.

Not a star of the series (for me that would probably be Blind Descent or Superior Death), but a worthy entry. We're not on the inevitable down-slope of quality yet.

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