Endangered Species (Anna Pigeon Series #5)

( 21 )

Overview

Cumberland Island, off the coast of Georgia, is a breathtaking setting for tedious fire presuppression duty. But Anna’s boring routine is shattered when two men die in a plane crash, victims of sabotage.

Park ranger Anna Pigeon investigates the crash of the drug-interdiction plane on an isolated Georgia island in Nevada Barr's spectacular new mystery. Was it an accident or sabotage that downed the plane, killing both the pilot and his passenger? Pressed into ...

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Endangered Species (Anna Pigeon Series #5)

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Overview

Cumberland Island, off the coast of Georgia, is a breathtaking setting for tedious fire presuppression duty. But Anna’s boring routine is shattered when two men die in a plane crash, victims of sabotage.

Park ranger Anna Pigeon investigates the crash of the drug-interdiction plane on an isolated Georgia island in Nevada Barr's spectacular new mystery. Was it an accident or sabotage that downed the plane, killing both the pilot and his passenger? Pressed into service, it's up to Anna and her crew to solve the mystery. 320 pp. 40,000 print.

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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

  • ISBN-13: 9780425226858
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/4/2008
  • Series: Anna Pigeon Series , #5
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 166,037
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Nevada  Barr

Navada Barr is the award-winning author of seven Anna Pigeon mysteries: Track of the Cat, A Superior Death, Ill Wind, Firestorm, Endangered Species, Blind Descent, and Liberty Falling. She lives in Mississippi and was most recently a ranger on the Natchez Trace Parkway

Biography

Nevada Barr was born in the small western town of Yerington, Nevada and raised on a mountain airport in the Sierras. Both her parents were pilots and mechanics and her sister, Molly, continued the tradition by becoming a pilot for USAir.

Pushed out of the nest, Nevada fell into the theatre, receiving her BA in speech and drama and her MFA in acting before making the pilgrimage to New York City, then Minneapolis, MN. For 18 years she worked on stage, in commercials and industrial training films, and did voice-overs for radio. During this time she became interested in the environmental movement and began working in the National Parks during the summers -- Isle Royale in Michigan, Guadalupe Mountains in Texas, Mesa Verde in Colorado, and then on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi.

Woven throughout these seemingly disparate careers was the written word. Nevada wrote and presented campfire stories, taught storytelling, and was a travel writer and restaurant critic. Her first novel, Bitterweet, was published in 1983. The Anna Pigeon series, featuring a female park ranger as the protagonist, started when she married her love of writing with her love of the wilderness, the summer she worked in west Texas. The first book, Track of the Cat, was brought to light in 1993 and won both the Agatha and Anthony awards for best first mystery. The series was well received, and A Superior Death, loosely based on Nevada's experiences as a boat patrol ranger on Isle Royale in Lake Superior, was published in 1994. In 1995, Ill Wind came out. It was set in Mesa Verde, Colorado, where Nevada worked as a law enforcement ranger for two seasons. The rest is, shall we say, history.
Biography from author website.

Good To Know

In our interview with Barr, she disclosed three interesting facts about herself:

"I will forget your face and name, but never your stories."

"I love to sing but can clear a concert hall at the drop of a note."

"I lie, but never about the important stuff -- and I get to decide what is the important stuff."

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    1. Hometown:
      Clinton, Mississippi
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 1, 1952
    2. Place of Birth:
      Yerington, Nevada
    1. Education:
      B.A., Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, 1974; M.A., University of California at Irvine, 1977
    2. Website:

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.

<%END%>
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Table of Contents

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Interviews & Essays

In Endangered Species, the fifth in the Anna Pigeon series, Anna finds herself marooned on Cumberland Island National Seashore in south Georgia. A member of a five-man pre-suppression fire team, she's slated to sweat through 21 August days in heavy boots and long trousers on the off chance the drought-stricken island will catch fire. Cumberland, once the playground of the terribly rich, is now a political hybrid, partly owned by the eccentric descendants of the original tenants, and partly wilderness managed by the National Park Service. Amid the endangered loggerhead turtles, foraging alligators, and Georgia's voracious tick population, Anna discovers an unexpected treasure. And the corpses of a few law enforcement rangers. (Got to have a corpse, that's half the fun.)
—Nevada Barr
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 21 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2007

    Fun, intriguing book!

    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!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 7, 2014

    Although I enjoyed the descriptions of the area, climate and the

    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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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2012

    THE CHAT ROOM

    Say whatever right here!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 13, 2012

    Okay Read

    An enjoyable read, just not as good as the earlier novels.

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    Posted July 28, 2012

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