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Hard Truth (Anna Pigeon Series #13) [NOOK Book]


Just days after marrying Sheriff Paul Davidson, Anna Pigeon moves to Colorado to assume her new post as district ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park. When two of three children who'd gone missing from a religious retreat reappear, Anna's investigation brings her face-to-face with a paranoid sect--and with a villain so evil, he'll make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end
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Hard Truth (Anna Pigeon Series #13)

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Just days after marrying Sheriff Paul Davidson, Anna Pigeon moves to Colorado to assume her new post as district ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park. When two of three children who'd gone missing from a religious retreat reappear, Anna's investigation brings her face-to-face with a paranoid sect--and with a villain so evil, he'll make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end
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Editorial Reviews

Marilyn Stasio
[Barr] has real feeling for creatures who live in the wild, especially women who can't be tamed.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
In Barr's taut 13th thriller to feature Anna Pigeon (after 2004's High Country), the 50-ish National Park Service ranger leaves her new husband, Paul, back in Mississippi, to assume a new post in Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park, where she encounters a serial killer and a strong, determined woman, Heath Jarrod, much like herself. Heath, a former ice climber now confined to a wheelchair after a near-fatal fall, feels depressed, isolated and helpless. She's camping in the national park with her physician, who's also her aunt, when a pair of battered young girls, two of three missing from a nearby religious retreat, appear at the campsite. Heath and Anna at first dislike one another, but join forces to break the silence enforced by the retreat's domineering head and discover why the youngsters vanished, who took them, where they were and what happened to the third girl. Barr skillfully weaves contemporary issues of parental responsibility, religious and political separatism, and sexual abuse into her harrowing story. She carefully sets the scene in the first part of the book, which builds to a spectacular climax that pits Anna against evil incarnate. Noted for her precise plotting and atmospheric descriptions of nature, Barr again proves her skill in putting believable characters in peril against a backdrop of breathtaking scenery. Agent, Dominick Abel. National author tour. (Mar. 24) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Being a new bride doesn't change Anna Pigeon as she leaves her husband in Mississippi for a new post as district ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park, CO. What Barr does here is allow another character to share the burden of the plot. A paraplegic visitor to the park, Heath Jarred inadvertently rescues two of three girls who have been missing prior to Anna's arrival. Anna and Heath prove to be compelling adversaries, as they try to find the truth and save the girls from one of Barr's most disturbing villains and/or the mysterious religious sect from which they come. The plot twists are among the author's most complex, creating a well-paced story. Read masterfully, as usual, by Barbara Rosenblat, this 13th Pigeon mystery is one of the best of the series. Recommended.-Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Married but living a thousand miles from her bridegroom, National Park Service ranger Anna Pigeon gets another harsh lesson in just how badly men can behave. You'd expect jubilation when two of the three young girls missing from their campsite and presumed dead emerge from the wilderness. But in Rocky Mountain National Park, where Anna's dream job as district ranger has separated her from her husband, Paul Davidson, the return of Beth Dwayne, 12, and Alexis Sheppard, 13, spooks Anna but good. The girls' closemouthed families, stalwart members of the Reformed Saints, refuse to let them talk to psychiatrists, get examined by rape counselors or accept any but lifesaving medical assistance. And Robert Proffit, the born-again youth group leader on whose watch they disappeared, is acting not so suspiciously as weirdly. Counting for help on backcountry ranger Raymond Bleeker and seasonal ranger Rita Perry, Anna's not at all sure she can trust them. Her most dependable ally will be paraplegic climber Heath Jarrod, still raging over the accident that put her in a wheelchair. Together and separately, the two women will confront a series of human predators who show how thin a line separates men from beasts. If the escalating horrors, which make Anna's first 12 novels (High Country, 2004, etc.) seem kind and gentle, don't stand your hair on end, make an emergency appointment with a therapist, or book a tour of the National Parks, where you'll evidently be right at home. Author tour
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101133873
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 2/7/2006
  • Series: Anna Pigeon Series , #13
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 54,151
  • File size: 950 KB

Meet the Author

Nevada  Barr
"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.


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:

Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 32 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2008

    Another book enjoyed!

    I've read all of Nevada Barr's 'Anna Pigeon' books thus far and thoroughly enjoyed them all. The book had some different twists that had me turning the pages as fast as I could read. I only wish the main character hadn't been whisked away to a new park on her honeymoon. I liked the idea that Anna finally found a soul mate and would have liked to seen more of that side of the character. All in all, the book was a great read and I had a hard time putting it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2005

    Disappointed in this book

    This book is not worth the money, so my suggestion is if you want to read, try to borrow it from a library don't waste your money on it. For one thing, there was too much violence in it that just did not make sense. The whole thing was a disaster for me.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2014

    Highly entertaining

    Never heard of Nevada Barr until late fall of 2013. So far I've read 6 of her books, all with Anna Pigeon the ranger. Really enjoy the character (like Kinsey Millhone), and like the national park settings. I've been to some of them so it's very entertaining.

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  • Posted August 17, 2011

    Very Disappointing

    I've read the previous 12 Pigeon series books, and this one was a major disappointment. In my opinion, it was too violent and graphic... not enjoyable. I won't be in a hurry to get any subsequent books in this series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2009

    Hard Truth

    This is a book you will not want to put down.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2008

    My Favorite Anna Pigeon novel...

    I was surprised to find some negative reviews. Yes, this book was pretty creepy, pretty dark... but I was completely surprised by the end which is exactly what I love in a mystery novel. I loved it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2006

    A Mystery with Heart

    In Hard Truth, Anna Pigeon tackles the cold-blooded evil of a psychopathic mind, both of a serial killer and also of a sexual abuser. At the same time, she battles her own challenges, foisted into a demanding role as the new district ranger in Colorado, away from her home base in Mississippi and her three-day-old marriage to the loving and supportive Sheriff and Pastor Paul Davidson. Can she maintain respect, manage loneliness, and figure out what¿s going on in the face of a confusing set of bizarre circumstances? This one started slow for me. I guess I need to have the intrepid Anna Pigeon, Park Ranger Extraordinaire, in the story as soon as possible. That way, I can vicariously live a dramatic life of adventure through her. However, in this story, she took a while arriving. I needed to know how things were going with her: her work, her pets . . . her love life. However, this Anna Pigeon mystery turned out to be a dynamite story. And, of all the books in this series, probably it is the one with the most heart. By the end of the novel, I was cheering for all the women who had been transformed through facing the hard truth in their lives. I also appreciated learning about how abusers captivate and control their victims. This story also showed much more of Anna¿s tender-hearted side, probably because she was juxtaposed against such evil. In addition, as the story unfolded, I began to sympathize with the secondary heroine in the story, much more than I expected, until, by the end, I felt so grateful that she had resolved her difficult issues. I felt encouraged as she found her own power. The twist near the end really surprised me. I had no idea who the perpetrator of the crimes could be. Usually, I¿m making intelligent guesses, one of which turns out to be the right one. In Hard Truth, the real murderer wasn¿t even on my list. Of all the Nevada Barr mysteries, this one was the most difficult to stay with because of its very difficult subject matter. However, I found it, in the end, to be worth it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2006

    loved it.

    I really couldn't put this book down. Have read all Nevada Barr's books and thought this was the best yet. It was both suspenseful and thought-provoking. Also had a couple of very humorous moments. I am looking forward to her next book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2005

    NO MORE!

    No more 'wriggling' (she's not five years old, fer crissakes), no more stomach wrenching animal cruelty (it's enough that daily newspapers are full of the hateful reports - they don't seem to be slowing people down - UNLESS Anna can lead us toward a SOLUTION, please, no more), and, yes, a plot set in Death Valley - during the annual March Wisconsin Vietnam Veteran's Run, maybe? and with the Furnace Creek store returned to when it featured real silver jewelry.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2005


    This is the first Nevada Barr book that I've read and I am in no hurry to read another. The book was more violent and dark and not the mystery that I anticipated. The jacket cover described a bizarre religious cult and perceived evil that had to do with the disappearance of the three girls from New Canaan. What it ended up was being was extreme acts of cruelty. It usually is not an entertaining theme for a book especially when children are the victims of abuse.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2005

    pretty violent

    This was my first time reading Nevada Barr, and I am intrigued enough to look into some of her other books, but there were parts of this book that were pretty graphic and violent when it didn't seem necessary. I also felt that there were many parts of the story that were undeveloped (Anna's marriage, the background of the missing girls, etc). I know when I have a difficult time keeping track of characters that they must not be developed enough. I didn't feel convinced of Anna as being a character that I could identify with, but since other Nevada Barr books have gotten good reviews, I will try one more time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2005

    She's a bit too victimized

    I wish that Anna Pigeon could make it through an adventure without getting attacked, beaten, stabbed, and mangled. Amazing that these old war wounds don't seem to bother her in the next adventure! I'd have preferred to hear more about her new cat (so...who was feeding the kitten she Anna was off getting pulverized?), more about married life other than the idyllic email with her husband (who's nearly nonexistent in this book). Anna's antagonists get more vile with each book, and their evil takes increasingly gruesome twists (crucified mice in this one). It was still enjoyable in a grim and gothic sort of way, but on balance wasn't as fun to read as some of her earlier books, and I found myself wanting to skip past the gory parts and get into some real action. The whole fundamentalist side trip didn't hang together very well with the villain, and I never did figure out why he was such a deviate. I doubt I'll pass this one along to anyone who lives alone and might get nightmares.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2005


    I usually enjoy Nevada Barr's books, but I was very disappointed in this one. Anna Pigeon's character was very cold and sterile, almost robotic. Some passages were so unfeeling that I was immediately turned off and could not relate to the character. For example, when Anna was thinking about mountain lion and other wildlife attacks on humans, she pretended to be on the side of the people attacked. 'Inside though, down deep, she was really pleased the critters got lunch.' This is too far over the line of unfeeling for me. I usually pre-order Barr's book as soon as I am able to, but I will wait for the next one to hit the book stores so that I can browse it heavily before I will spend my money on it.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    excellent police procedural

    Married less than a week, National Parks Ranger Anna Pigeon celebrates her ¿honeymoon¿ by starting a new job at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado while her spouse Sheriff Paul Davidson remains in Mississippi. However, barely on the job, she finds herself caught up in the case of two female teens, who vanished with a third girl about a month ago, but just returned. The twosome remains closemouthed about their tribulations insisting they do not know what happened or where the third female might be. Though traumatized by a recent climbing accident that paralyzed her, Heath Jarrod , who with her elderly aunt found the two girls, manages to somewhat reach the girls.--- Anna investigates what little she has learned especially the recent slaughter of small animals and a tight lipped cult whose charismatic leader controls the young that flock to him as she hopes to rescue the still missing third person. Meanwhile Heath tries to aid the two devastated teens, who still seem frightened by whoever abducted them. Actually by assisting the girls, Heath helps herself more as she begins to adjust to life in a wheelchair.--- Though darker than her previous appearances due to the graphically related evil exploits of the villain, the latest Anna Pigeon police procedural is a terrific thriller in which the heroine risks her life. The story line cleverly counterbalances the malevolent antagonist with Heath¿s reemergence as a member of the living as both have ¿purpose¿. The courageous Anna is fabulous with her two time zone marriage (she may detest cell phones, but they come in handy) while investigating a dangerous case with several viable suspects, who seem as if anyone could kidnap girls and if needed kill.--- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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