Firestorm (Anna Pigeon Series #4)

Firestorm (Anna Pigeon Series #4)

4.2 39
by Nevada Barr
     
 

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A raging forest fire in California's Lassen Volcanic National Park traps exhausted firefighters, including Ranger Anna Pigeon, in its midst. Afterward, Anna finds two from her group have been killed. One a victim of the flames. The other, stabbed through the heart. Now, as a rampaging winter storm descends, cutting the survivors off from civilization, Anna must

Overview

A raging forest fire in California's Lassen Volcanic National Park traps exhausted firefighters, including Ranger Anna Pigeon, in its midst. Afterward, Anna finds two from her group have been killed. One a victim of the flames. The other, stabbed through the heart. Now, as a rampaging winter storm descends, cutting the survivors off from civilization, Anna must uncover the murderer in their midst.

Editorial Reviews

Washington Post Book World
Gripping. . .Harrowing. . .Brilliantly Executed.
Orlando Sentinel
One Scary Book. . .Firestorm is Intense.
New York Times Book Review
Thrilling. . .Remarkable.
Detroit Free Press
A Delight. . .A scorching, baffling tale. . .It almost singes you as you turn the pages.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As she's seen in her fourth spine-tingling adventure, it's hard to tell what impassions hard-nosed park ranger Anna Pigeon more-crime or grime. Fortunately, Barr (Ill Wind) has a flair for depicting both as she sets Anna to providing first aid for the crews fighting an especially nasty forest fire, probably caused by arson, in Northern California's Lassen Volcanic National Park. As if living intimately with strangers under stressful conditions weren't trouble enough, more problems flare when Anna and her EMTs must rescue a firefighter who has broken his leg. On their way back to camp, they are trapped in a firestorm-the most dangerous of all fire conditions. Anna is saved by her silver pup tent, or "shake 'n' bake," which she pulls over herself at the last minute as the fire dances on her back. One of the other medics isn't so lucky. Only it's not just bad luck. It's murder. The tension approaches unbearable when bad weather and destroyed roads trap Anna and the rest of her crew with the murderer in their midst. While Anna, with her compassion, toughness and abundant one-liners, calls Kinsey Milhone to mind, Barr's character is a true original. And for excitement, her line of work can't be beat. Mystery Guild selection; author tour. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Park ranger Anna Pigeon, star of Barr's popular series (e.g, Ill Wind, Putnam, 1995), here battles fire and snow while investigating the inevitable murder.
School Library Journal
YAFar from her base park of Mesa Verde, Anna Pigeon volunteers as a medic at a spike camp of firefighters battling the Jackknife blaze in Northern California. With the fire diminishing, the last crew is called back, but Anna, her co-medic, their litter-bound patient, and other firefighters are unexpectedly trapped in a firestorm. When the fire blazes past on its destructive trail, Anna discovers a dead firefighter in his shelter, killed by a knife. This gripping adventure is heightened by a strong sense of place. Trapped for several days in cold and fog and surviving on broiled woodchuck, Anna must determine the identity of the killer before the group is rescued. The surprising ending delivers a pretzel-shaped twist that will haunt readers.Pam Spencer, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Emily Melton
Anna Pigeon, Barr's down-to-earth heroine, is a delight, with her no-nonsense approach to crime solving and her commonsense approach to life. Anna's latest adventure takes her to northern California, where a forest fire is burning out of control. As the fire-company medic, Anna is responsible not only for battling the blaze but also for handling cuts, burns, wounds, and whatever else ails the brave band of firefighters. She's also the main security officer, which means that when tempers flare or violence threatens, Anna must cool down more than the fire. That takes some doing after one of the men is found dead with a knife thrust deep into his side. Being trapped in the camp with no food and a winter storm on the way unsettles the firefighters, especially since it's clear that one of them is a killer. It's up to Anna to find out who it is before he or she can strike again. Top-flight entertainment.
Kirkus Reviews
Another routine assignment for National Park Ranger Anna Pigeon—doubling as medic and security for a firefighting camp fighting a blaze in California's Lassen Volcanic Park—turns into a nightmare when the snowstorm that promised relief from the flames instead whips them up into a firestorm, isolating Anna's spike camp and leaving two firefighters dead: one from the fire, a second from a knife in his back. Somebody's interrupted Leonard Nims's training as crew boss by creeping into his form-fitting one-person shelter and stabbing him to death. With no hope of quick rescue or backup investigators, Anna holds onto her sanity by wondering why anybody would commit a murder at the height of a firestorm. It's only the first tantalizing riddle she'll wrestle with, even as Frederick Stanton, the FBI agent Anna keeps running into, jets out to Lassen to brief her over the radio on the nine suspects trapped on the freezing, burned-out landscape with her. Stanton's earnest, endless, highly salient briefings are a drag, but Anna, surrounded by an exceptionally well-developed cast, shines as ranger, detective, and heroine—truly a woman for all seasons.

Anna's fourth appearance (Ill Wind, 1995, etc.) is a superior puzzler wrapped in her most exciting adventure yet: a stellar performance on every count. No matter what you read mysteries for, it's in here.

From the Publisher
"A brilliantly executed mystery." -- Washington Post Book World "A delight...it almost singes you as you turn the pages." -- Detroit Free Press

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101128480
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/01/2008
Series:
Anna Pigeon Series , #4
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
21,761
File size:
293 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

If she'd had a foot fetish Anna would have been an extremely happywoman. Cradled in her lap was a prime example of pedis giganticus belonging to one Howard Black Elk. More mole foam than fleshwas visible.

"Fighting on slopes keeps tearing 'em off," Mr. Black Elk told her between gulps of Mountain Dew. "Anybody but you does 'em they're gone by lunch. You got the touch."

Absurd as it was, Anna took great pride in the durability of her blister dressings. Caesar's army may have moved on its stomach, but firefighters moved on their feet. After ten days, of skirmishes, the army battling California's jackknife Fire was proceeding a bit gingerly. The line queued up outside the medical, unit tent was Anna's barometer, and the pressure was rising. Sho-Rap, the Shoshone and Arapaho firefighting crew out of Montana, seemed, to suffer more thanmost. Maybe because they were big men. Even with the protective fire boots they were required to wear, gravity hit them harder.

Anna eased the ruined dressings off Mr. Black Elk's foot and examined the carnage. Black Elk was an Arapaho Indian but he wasn't with the Sho-Raps. He was a member of the San Juan crew from the southwest. "You busted open the blisters," she accused.

"Got to let 'em drain."

"No you don't. They'll get infected." She looked into the man's face to see if she was getting through to him. "Are you going to quit that?"

"You betcha."

Anna didn't believe him. She cleaned the ball of his foot and his heel with hydrogen peroxide. When he winced at the sting she said, "Serves you right."

A heady sense of Normandy, Tripoli, John Wayne and Twelve O'ClockHigh reverberated through fire camps. Like everyone else, Anna reveled in, it. A soldier's life-particularly in a war where death was highly unlikely and the battle soon over — was a life enhanced with an illusion of importance untrammeled by responsibility. Orders were simple: climb, stop and dig. Hard physical labor and the ability to sleep on rough ground were all that was asked. Anna found peace in the freedom from choices.

With great care, she began reconstructing the protective barriers of foam, Second-Skin and bandages on Mr. Black Elk's foot. The rest of San Juan Plateau crew began drifting over from the chow line to swell the ranks waiting for medical attention.

The San Juans were an interagency crew with firefighters from the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the, National Park Service.Three of the firefighters were from Mesa Verde National Park, Anna's duty station. Anna had arrived independently when the call went out for more emergency medical technicians to man the medical units.

These units provided care to the firefighters in the spike camps. As the Jackknife cut a black swath through the Caribou Wilderness and Lassen Volcanic National Park in northern California, Incident Base — the maincamp housing supplies and command headquarters — needed units closer tothe fireline. Small camps, called "spikes" by firefighters though officialdom no longer used the term, were springing up like fire moss.

"You guys with blisters go ahead and take the dressings off and clean your feet with peroxide," Anna said to those waiting. "I think Stephen's got a spare bottle."'

"Go easy with the stuff," Stephen Lindstrom, the other EMT, said. "We won't have any more till tomorrow afternoon."

Lindstrom was with the Forest Service out of Reno, Nevada. When Anna and three crews had been spiked out nineteen miles from base camp, she'd begged for and gotten him. Efficient and gentle, he was one of the better EMTs she'd worked with.

"How 'bout I get you some dinner before them hogs swill it all down?"

Anna looked in the direction of the familiar Memphis plus drawl. Jennifer Short, a seasonal law enforcewent ranger from Mesa Verde, leaned against a sugar pine near the outdoor examination room Anna and Stephen had piecedtogether from a ground cloth and twelve folding chairs.

Jennifer had been on the Jackknife fire for seven days, one day less than Anna, and she was still wearing makeup. Anna couldn't help but admire her. Anybody who stuck to their beliefs under duress deserved respect The sooty fingerprints around her nose and the trails of sweat running through her dust-coated rouge only added to the effect: bloody but unbowed.

"Thanks," Anna said. "Stephen, want some supper?" Belatedly she askedJennifer, "Would you mind?"

"Why I'd just lie down and die if he said no," Jennifer said, and winked.

Dividing her time between bites and blisters, Anna managed to finish he rsupper and thirteen feet in the next hour. Kneeling at the fourteenth and last, she began unlacing a well-worn, custom-made White's fire boot. "Helps if you remove your boots for me," she said mildly.

"My feet's not what hurt."

Anna rocked back on her heels and took in the face attached to the expensive boots. "San Juan crew, crew boss, right?"

"John LeFleur." The firefighter stuck out a hand with spatulate fingers reminiscent of the toes of Amazon ram forest frogs Anna'd seen hopping through various PBS specials. She forced herself up from her knees.Cold, fatigue and hard beds were taking their toll. Getting old, shechided herself. once-hard work had made her tougher, now it only made her fired. she stuck out her hand and, tying for a pressure that was manly without being macho, took LeFleur's.

His bottom lipwas swollen and bruised, Dried blood caked where the skin had split. "Does Your face hurt?" she asked. The third-grade insult, "Because it's sure killing me," flickered nonsensically through her mind, but John LeFleur certainly wasn't hard to look at Anna had him pegged for forty-five or so — his hair was still...

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

"A brilliantly executed mystery." -- Washington Post Book World "A delight...it almost singes you as you turn the pages." -- Detroit Free Press

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

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

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Firestorm (Anna Pigeon Series #4) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best part was the fire scenes and insights into the world of large wildfire fighting. Plot and characaters somewhat plodding & stereotyped.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In attempting to rescue a firefighter with a broken leg, Anna Pigeon and eight other crew members get trapped on the mountain due to a firestorm. As the weather dies down and Anna and her crew leave the safety of their shelters, they do so only to find a man dead, and others severely injured. They must spend two days on the mountain waiting for help, not sure of whom they can trust.

The book was written well, although it seemed as if there was more description than needed. The book seemed to drag on at parts, then speed up at others. The author did a decent job of not revealing the ending of the story until the end. All in all, the book was enjoyable to read.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Firestorm was very different from Barr's other Anna Pigeon books. It was a bit slow at times but it was a fairly good read. I especially liked the ending and the insight into Pigeon's character in this type of situation. Stephanie Clanahan
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LilyLangtry More than 1 year ago
This fourth in Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon series is even more "breathtaking" and suspenseful than the previous "Pigeon" novels. Though each compels you to quickly continue to the next, wondering how it could be as compelling as the one you just finished.
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Reading due to a collegiate requirement: The characters frequently go off on tangents at the slightest mention of either the author's description of something or at another character's dialogue. The characters seem somewhat stereotypical and not fully developed. You are almost a third of the way through the book before the plot event to set it off as mystery occurs. Get it from the library, if you absolutely must know what happens to EMT / detective / Park Ranger Anna Pigeon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I AM SO SICK OF YOU STUPID CAT FREAKS! YOU RUIN THE BOOK RATINGS. PEOPLE RELY ON THESE REVIEWS TO KNOW WHETHER THEY MAY LIKE THE BOOK. USE YOUR SMART PHONES YOUR MOMMY BOUGHT YOU TO TEXT THIS NONSENSE. STAY OFF THE REVIEW SITES!! EA OF YOU ON THIS BOOK SITE HAVE BEEN FLAGGED!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago