A fire watch assignment on hot and humid Cumberland Island isn't too exciting for park ranger Anna Pigeon until a twin-engine Beechcraft crashes, killing two people inside. When investigators determine the Beechcraft was sabotaged, Anna's curiosity prompts her to do a little snooping. But snooping on this quiet little island becomes dangerous, although not dangerous enough to stop Anna. And this is the problem I had with Endangered Species.
Because there's no emotional stake in the outcome for Anna, why is she investigating at all except to relieve boredom and quench her curiosity?. She's been warned off by both her supervisor and a mysterious stranger who ends up striking her on the head with the butt of a rifle. You'd think that'd be enough of a hint to stop most people, but not Anna. On the other hand, if she stopped investigating there wouldn't be a mystery, so what can I say?
The thing is, I liked the basic plot because it's a true whodunit. Here's a group of people with secrets and tumultuous relationships, living on a small island. Nevada Barr's detailed descriptions made the island intriguing. I also enjoyed the subplot involving a death threat to Anna's sister Molly. Molly's life as a New York psychotherapist is a terrific contrast to Anna's world. While some secondary characters are more interesting than others, this book should have a lot of appeal to those who love whodunits set in parks all across the U.S . . . and Anna Pigeon fans, of course.