Endangered Species (Anna Pigeon Series #5) by Nevada Barr, NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Endangered Species (Anna Pigeon Series #5)

Endangered Species (Anna Pigeon Series #5)

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by Nevada Barr

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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.


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.

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.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Anna Pigeon Series , #5
Sold by:
Penguin Group
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File size:
816 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

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.


Meet the Author

"Nevada Barr has carved out her own fictional fiefdom, creating a body of work like no other, the San Diego Union Tribune remarked in 1996 upon the publication of the fifth book in Barr’s acclaimed series featuring National Park Service Ranger Anna Pigeon. Since the 1993 publication of the first Anna Pigeon novel, Track of the Cat, which was awarded both the Anthony Award for Best First Novel by The Crime Writers Association and the Agatha Award for Best First Novel by Malice Domestic, Barr has earned a reputation as a talented and much admired writer. As the Chicago Tribune said, “Nevada Barr is a park ranger who can write up a storm.”

The daughter of two pilots, Barr bears the name of the state in which she was born. She grew up at a little mountain airport in Johnsonville, California. After attending college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and completing her graduate studies at the University of California at Irvine, she moved to New York City to pursue a career in theater. She stayed there for five years, as a member of the Classic Stage Company, performing in Off-Broadway shows.

From New York, Barr went to Minneapolis, where she tried her hand at more theater work, landed some spots on television commercials, and worked on industrial films, among other things. Her former husband was involved in the Park Service, which inspired her interest in wildlife and conservation, and eventually led to the profession that until recently she shared with her main character: National Park Service Ranger.

When she felt she could afford to, Barr began to work summers at various parks, and spent her winters pursuing a career in writing. She published her first novel, Bittersweet, in 1984, but it was during her tour of duty in Guadalupe Mountains in Texas, that Barr conceived of the Anna Pigeon character and began the series with her critically acclaimed, award-winning debut, Track of the Cat, in 1993. She then followed up with eight more novels set in various National Parks: A Superior Death (1994) set in Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado; Ill Wind (1995) set in Isle Royal National Park in Michigan; Firestorm (1996), which was awarded France’s Prix du Roman d’Adventure and nominated for Anthony Award for Best Novel, set in Lassen Volcanic National Park in California; Endangered Species (1997) set in Georgia’s Cumberland Island National Seashore; Blind Descent (1998) set in Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico; Liberty Falling (1999) set at Liberty and Ellis Islands in New York City, Deep South (2000), set in the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi, Blood Lure (2001) set in the Waterton National Peace Park in Montana and Canada, Hunting Season (2002) set in the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Brief Biography

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

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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!