Sunday, February 23, 2020

Review - Burn, The Rope

I am working to catch up on some series that I have been neglecting. The first is the Anna Pigeon series by Nevada Barr. Nineteen books in the series and I read #15 in June 2019.

Burn (Anna Pigeon, #16)Burn by Nevada Barr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It has been a while since I read the last book in the series. Anna is still recuperating from the trauma in the 14th book, Winter Study which was set in Isle Royale in Lake Superior. And she is still on leave from the National Park Service so she decides to head to New Orleans to spend some time with Geneva who is blind and a singer for the NPS. Anna has a run in with a miscreant goth man named Jordan and then finds out that he is a tenant at Geneva's house where Anna is staying. There is an alternating story of missing children, a house fire, and a dog and it takes a while before it is revealed what the story has to do with Anna.

This is a very dark tale that involves kidnapping and child trafficking. I've read some reviews that are upset about the topic of child trafficking being included at all and I wonder if they think that it doesn't happen if it's not in a fiction novel. Life isn't all sunshine and roses and it's nice to have popular authors not avoiding real life topics. But if this is a trigger for you, don't read this novel.

Barr always has the most interesting side characters in her novels, in my opinion, and this novel is no different. Anna finds herself in a strip club and questioning the strippers for info. She is in magic and voodoo shops asking questions about curses and symbols. I always leave the books feeling like I was right next to Anna the whole time. I don't always feel that way after some of the books that I read.

All in all, definitely a solid addition to the series.

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My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Rope is the prequel to the the entire series. A throwback to the first mystery that Anna was involved in. Anna is lost just after the death of her first husband, Zack, and lands in a job cleaning feces on a beach in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Arizona. In her grief, she is just barely surviving. She is not the take charge and intimidating Anna from the past novels in the series. And she winds up making some rookie mistakes and getting into a situation that she can't get out of - a solution hole in the middle of nowhere with a dislocated shoulder and naked.

No surprise here, since she is in future books, Anna uses her burgeoning cunning and skills and makes it out of the solution hole and back to her bunk where all of her things were removed giving the impression that she had packed up and left. And then she spends some time self reflecting and realizes that she is no longer in NYC and the theater. She starts interacting with her fellow NPS employees and working out and gets stronger. Cue a few more scary situations and a lot of misdirect.

It was nice to read that Anna wasn't always as strong and knowledgeable as she is in current books. It was good to read the transformation. It was interesting to see how a lot of the book Anna related her experiences to being a stage manager in the theater since that was what she knew up until that point. She has certainly changed since that solution hole. As always, Barr writes very interesting side characters and great descriptions of the locations so that you feel like you are right next to Anna while she is trying to survive.

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