Endangered Species (Anna Pigeon Series #5)

Endangered Species (Anna Pigeon Series #5)

4.0 21
by Nevada Barr

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Was the crash of the drug interdiction plane on an iolated Georgia island an accident - or sabotage? Park ranger Anna Pigeon investigates. Though the "experts" are called in to evaluate the crash, Anna can't let the investigation rest solely in their hands. Her inquiry causes her to stumble into shady dealings that question the integrity - and honor - of her own crew.…  See more details below


Was the crash of the drug interdiction plane on an iolated Georgia island an accident - or sabotage? Park ranger Anna Pigeon investigates. Though the "experts" are called in to evaluate the crash, Anna can't let the investigation rest solely in their hands. Her inquiry causes her to stumble into shady dealings that question the integrity - and honor - of her own crew.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Barr possesses that rare combination of talents: she can write a beautiful sentence and create a first-rate mystery. In this fifth in the series (Firestorm, 1996), National Park Service Ranger Anna Pigeon is on temporary assignment at drought-ridden Cumberland Island National Seashore off the Georgia coast, on presuppression fire duty. Patrols are interrupted by an airplane crash that kills pilot Slattery Hammond, who was conducting drug-interdiction flights, and Todd Belfore, Cumberland district ranger. When foul play is suggested, investigators wonder if the murderer was after Hammond, Belfore or Cumberland's chief ranger, Norman Hull, whom Belfore replaced in the plane at the last minute. Barr, who is a former Park Service Ranger, evokes the minimally developed island's shimmering beauty while spinning an absorbing tale of danger and deceit that embraces a realistic description of conservation work and a diverse, engaging cast. An affecting subplot is developed when Anna's lover, FBI agent Frederick Stanton, and her psychiatrist sister, Molly, meet. A refreshing change from the brash, wisecracking order of female PIs, Barr's thoughtful and sensitive heroine ("This murder was... intricate, slow-moving, relationships unclear, each aspect draped or veiled by something else," she observes midway through the investigation) rings true on every page. Readers Digest Condensed Book. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
YA--Fans of park ranger Anna Pigeon have followed her from Lake Superior to Mesa Verde; now she takes them to Cumberland Island, Georgia. Part of a fire crew, Anna and her partner are first to discover the wreckage of a burning airplane, and Anna suspects sabotage. Back in civilization, her beau, Frederick, meets her sister, Molly, and discovers that she has all of Anna's good qualities, plus a penchant for city life that he shares, in contrast to Anna's love for the wilderness. The setting is an additional character as the island's lush vegetation, hot and humid weather, and abundance of ticks and chiggers add to and twist the plot. Remnants of once-grand homes of the wealthy dot the island, adding to the stench of decay and the vision of a dying Southern way of life. There is always one scene in Barr's books that remains forever etched in memory; this time it is when Anna hides in an old hog sty and becomes trapped when two of her suspects burn quantities of a marijuana crop. Unable to leave, she pays dearly for the unwanted high she receives. Even in tense situations, humor is apparent in the writing, which makes the reading enjoyable and the suspense more palatable.--Pam Spencer, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Kirkus Reviews
If you've been waiting for Park Services ranger Anna Pigeon to get a posting on the East Coast, you'll be happy to know that she's unofficially moonlighting as midwife to some endangered loggerhead turtles while she's working for a presuppression fire crew in Georgia's Cumberland Island National Seashore. But the fire that's started by the crash of a Beechcraft airplane is a routine problem compared to the death of the two men who were aboard the plane: Slattery Hammond, who was on freelance drug patrol, and district ranger Todd Belfore, who leaves behind a very pregnant wife and a shorthanded park staff to deal with a dozen riddles. Why did Slattery follow Todd from the wide-open spaces of the North Cascades to the shallows of Cumberland? Why was Tabby Belfore afraid her husband would leave her? Why did somebody knock out Anna as she searched Slattery's place, and use an inoffensive Austrian camper's leg for target practice? What were a pair of plastic sandwich bags doing floating inside the Beechcraft's fuel tank? Anna wishes her FBI lover Frederick Stanton were with her to help piece together this puzzle. But he won't even answer his phone in Chicago, because he's in New York, falling in love with Anna's sister Molly.

Anna's fifth isn't as baffling or dramatically urgent as the remarkable Firestorm (1996), but it is as poetically written and exquisitely clued as any of the others.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Anna Pigeon Series, #5
Product dimensions:
4.17(w) x 6.81(h) x 1.09(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Black and blood-warm water slammed into Anna's back, rushing over her shoulders and down the front of her shirt. Closing her eyes against the salt sting, she clung to the turtle's carapace and concentrated on keeping her footing as the wave dragged against her legs, sucked the sand from beneath her sneakers.

The loggerhead wouldn't be washed unwillingly back into the Atlantic. There was little the turtle couldn't handle in the sea. It was land, that unfamiliar and ever-changing universe, that had baffled her. For miles she'd swum from God knew where to lay her eggs on the beach of Cumberland Island, one of the Golden Isles off the coast of Georgia. In her tiny brain -- or perhaps her great heart -- instinct had programmed a map with such precision that out of thousands of miles of coastline she'd found her way back to this narrow ribbon of sand.

Anna ducked as another wave broke across her shoulders, and embraced the animal hard against her. The ripples of the loggerhead's armored back, nearly a yard across, dug into her cheek where flesh thinned over bone. She could feel the powerful scrape of the creature's back flipper against the sodden fabric of her trousered thigh.

Water flooded around her, warmer on the back of her neck than the mild summer air, and Anna wondered how turtles thought, how this turtle thought. On the chart that instinct tattooed on her soul, was there a picture? In whatever passed for a loggerhead's mind's eye, had she seen, remembered the flat welcoming beaches?

"Sorry, old girl," Anna muttered as she heaved against several hundred pounds of sea beast. A capricious tide had trenched out a four-foot-highsand and shell escarpment along fifty yards of ocean front. A week ago the sand had been flat; two weeks hence it would be again. Tonight it was proving impassable. Still, with the eternal patience that seemed endemic to turtles, rocks, and other long-lived, slow-moving creatures, the loggerhead had beached herself and started her trek inland.

Loggerheads coming ashore north and south of the ephemeral cliff were making their appointed rounds. Between drenchings, Anna could hear the delighted cries of park rangers, volunteers, and researchers celebrating the renewed cycle of this threatened species.

Over the past hour, since she'd been drafted into the turtle-midwifing business, Anna had received a crash course in the reproductive habits of the loggerhead. In an ideal world, they made their way up onto the beach, above high tide, dug a nest, laid the eggs, and buried them. Their role in the universe completed, they returned to the sea, and, it was presumed, never looked back until four or five years rolled by and they again felt the urge to come home to nest.

The turtle Anna danced with in the crashing surf could not negotiate the sand cliff and was exhausting herself with the effort. Too tired to fight any longer, she was giving up.

"Dear Lord, she's laying. Give me your hat," came an exasperated cry near Anna's ear. The words were carried on a gust of foul smelling air. For an instant Anna thought she'd shoved her face too near the east end of the westbound turtle. When she realized it was Marty Schlessinger's breath, she began to believe the rumors that the biologist ate roadkill.

The Atlantic drew back and the full weight of the loggerhead was laid again in Anna's and Marty's arms. "Don't hurt her," the biologist warned as Anna felt the little muscles in her sacroiliac stretch and complain.

"Fat chance," she grumbled, but she braced herself, forearms on thighs, shoulder against shell, and held on.

In a sudden peace left behind by the receding waters, the moon pushed over an inky horizon to paint a path in silver over the ocean and onto the back of turtle under Anna's chin.

By the clear light she could see Marty Schlessinger's face inches from her own. Thirty-four years of beachside living were etched in the lines of determination carved on either side of an uncompromising mouth set in a lean face. Long hair, worn in pigtails like Willie Nelson in his heyday, fell in thin ropes across the loggerhead's shell.

The returning ocean forced Anna to her knees. Her thigh was wedged against the turtle's carapace, the animal's flipper hard against the outside of her leg.

"Hat, hat, hat," Schlessinger growled.

Anna snatched off her baseball cap and poked it into the biologists groping fingers.

"Hold her," Schlessinger ordered.

"Christ!" Anna breathed as the man relinquished his grip on the turtle to gather the eggs.

Unlike many sea turtles, the loggerhead's egg-laying machinery was recessed beneath the rear of its shell, and Anna could not see the eggs. By the ecstatic groans from the biologist, she guessed the laying was a success.

"No!" Schlessinger cried suddenly. Such was the pain in his voice that Anna was unpleasantly reminded that the coast of Georgia was the breeding grounds for the great white shark.

"What?" she demanded.

"Lost a baby."

Anna was relieved but had the good sense to keep quiet. Schlessinger would consider the loss of a ranger's leg somewhat less heartrending than that of an embryonic loggerhead.

Minutes ticked by. Waves banged at Anna's back, tried to buckle her knees. Sand gritted between her teeth and salt sealed her eyes. The muscles in her arms and shoulders had progressed from ache, to jelly, to constant torturous throb. All sense of glamour and adventure was long since gone.

"This is getting to be work," she grunted.

"Quiet," Marty said.


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Endangered Species (Anna Pigeon Series #5) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I like a good mystery, but can't stand grisly details. This book is perfect! It's a great story, very intriguing, and lots of fun. I'm very happy that I randomly picked out this title!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While I enjoyed this book to a moderate degree, I have to say it was not up to the standard set in previous books from the series. The plot became too convoluted and tedious about two-thirds of the way through. I will continue to read the series hoping for a better read next time. Stephanie Clanahan
sherrb1158 More than 1 year ago
Although I enjoyed the descriptions of the area, climate and the scenery, I didn't enjoy this novel as well as her previous that I have read. I had a hard time keeping track of who the characters were or getting to know them, (luckily for the &quot;find within book&quot; feature I could search and reference previous chapters to remember who characters were). I didn't feel like any of the new characters were developed to any meaningful degree. The only characters I really started to gain an interest were the two older volunteer ladies, Dot and Mona, who weren't really introduced until the end of the book. Hopefully the next novel in the series will be more engaging.
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Hike_For_Fun More than 1 year ago
An enjoyable read, just not as good as the earlier novels.
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Say whatever right here!