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Flashback [Large Print] [Hardcover]

Nevada Barr
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 2003 Wheeler Large Print Book Series
Running from a proposal of marriage from Sheriff Paul Davidson, Anna Pigeon takes a post as a temporary supervisory ranger on remote Garden Key in Dry Tortugas National Park, a small grouping of tiny islands in a natural harbor seventy miles off Key West. This island paradise has secrets it would keep; not just in the present, but in shadows from its gritty past, when it served as a prison for the Lincoln conspirators during and after the Civil War. Here, on this last lick of the United States, in a giant crumbling fortress, Anna has little company except for an occasional sunburned tourist or unruly shrimper. When her sister, Molly, sends her a packet of letters from her great-great-aunt who lived at the fort with her husband, a career soldier, Anna's fantasy life is filled with visions of this long-ago time. When a mysterious boat explosion - and the discovery of unidentifiable body parts - keeps her anchored to the present, Anna finds crimes of past and present closing in on her. A tangled web that was woven before she arrived begins to threaten her sanity and her life. Cut off from the mainland by miles of water, poor phone service, and sketchy radio contact, and aided by one law-enforcement ranger, Anna must find answers or weather a storm to rival the hurricanes for which the islands are famous.
--This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

When it comes to a vibrant sense of place, Barr has few equals, as deliciously demonstrated in her 11th Anna Pigeon novel (after 2002's Hunting Season), set in little-known Dry Tortugas National Park, 70 miles off Key West in the Gulf of Mexico. Anna takes up her new post on Garden Key, home to Fort Jefferson, a notorious Union prison during the Civil War, after fleeing a marriage proposal from just-divorced Sheriff Paul Davidson. As she goes about her duties, Anna quickly becomes ensnared in one life-threatening situation after another. Anna's fans expect no less; all her postings somehow turn dangerous. Indeed, the contrast between the natural beauty of the landscapes and the human evils within them is a recurring theme. But this one has an added twist: a mystery concerning alleged Lincoln assassination conspirator Dr. Samuel Mudd interweaves with current crimes. In a coincidence best left unscrutinized, Anna's great-great-great-aunt was the wife of the fort's commanding officer, and her letters, relating a story of intrigue and murder, have surfaced. The two stories are told in alternating chapters, and only Barr's skill keeps this familiar device fresh. The pitch-perfect 19th-century phrasing in the letters makes it easy to forgive the occasional over-the-top prose in the modern scenes. But this is a quibble. Those who already admire the doughty National Park ranger will rejoice in this double-layered story with its remarkable setting, passionately rendered; new readers have a treat in store.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

When Anna Pigeon flees a marriage proposal for ranger service on Garden Key in Dry Tortugas National Park, she finds that the past (the island was once a prison) and the present (an exploding boat scatters unidentified body parts) are eerily conjoined.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites April 28 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have read all of Nevada's books, and this was one of my favorites. I did not find the jump between present day and Civil War times to be disorienting at all, in fact, I believe the interplay added to both stories. I'm devoted to Anna Pigeon, with her flaws and imperfections - she is the perfect combination of kick-ass gal with self-doubting everywoman. The diving scenes and the culminating rain-soaked scene were excellently crafted and had me on the edge of my chair. I really loved this novel, and I hope Anna isn't getting to worn out on adventure. Even though I really like her fiance', I'm not sure I want her to stop getting into trouble all over the USA!
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3.0 out of 5 stars my least favorite of all Anna Pigeon's adventures April 8 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
My main problem with Flashback is that the characters were too sketchy to be interesting. One was a manly man but loved to gossip, one was an attractive woman but had a bad posture. These features were insufficient to make the characters come alive. The romance between Anna and Paul Davidson also lacked excitement. Piedmont the cat, as depicted in this book, had a ton more personality than Sheriff Davidson, the fiance, infrequently appearing in his sugary telephone persona.
The "two mysteries in one" format of Flashback could be refreshing, if the two mysteries were connected in more ways than the location. The historical mystery, contained in the letters of Anna's collateral ancestress Raffia, was too transparent for me. I guessed right away what caused the abrupt change in the behavior of Raffia's husband Joseph. Something else, although small, bothered me about Raffia's tale. Raffia and Tilly are sisters who have a large age difference. Raffia is 38 while Tilly is 16. I can buy that but then there is another sister, Molly, who is even older than Raffia. When their parents died, Tilly was 5. By that time Raffia must have been 27. Was she still unmarried at 27? I got the feeling that she lived in the same household with Tilly and helped raise her and that Molly, having assumed the role of the family matriarch, oversaw Raffia's upbringing in some way. Unless I mixed something up, these numbers do not add up.
In conclusion, if you are already a Nevada Barr's fan, you won't want to miss Flashback. If you have not read other Nevada Barr mysteries, this book is not the best introduction.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Trapped in a Flashback! Aug. 25 2003
Format:Hardcover
Nevada Barr's primary character Ranger Anna Pigeon has always been neurotic. Some times more than other times and in the last several novels she seemed to finally be just a bit less annoyingly neurotic. Unfortunately, for most of this book, Anna is neurotic and stuck in the past in more ways than one.
As the book opens, Anna is temporarily supervising Fort Jefferson, on Garden Key in Dry Tortugas National Park off of Key West. The last supervisor of the park seems to have had a mental breakdown and is off on the mainland getting treatment after seeing ghosts and whatnot flitting around the fort. Anna has gone about as far as she can go in the Park Service to escape her own demons that haunt her by accepting this posting. She has taken the assignment so that she has time to think about a marriage proposal from Paul. Paul is still a minister, now recently divorced, and wants desperately to marry Anna. But he knows that her answer to pressure is to run as far as she can as fast as she can and has vowed to give her the time she needs to think about his offer. While she does love him, she isn't sure she is ready to once again try marriage as has been made abundantly clear several times in earlier books in this series.
Those issues remain for Anna and with little else to occupy her mind, she begins to think that she understands why the previous Supervisor went mad. Supervising a skeleton staff and very few visitors, Anna begins to look for something to occupy her mind instead of thinking about her life. Her sister Molly has sent to Anna to read a large packet of letters that were written to Anna's great grandmother, Peggy, from her sister Raffia who was married to a Captain station at the Fort shortly at the end of the Civil War. That same time saw the arrival of Dr.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Flashback Boredom Aug. 15 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I have been a fan of Nevada Barr since Track of the Cat. However, her last two or three books, including this one, have become mundane and I hate to say it, boring. Where is the sharp tongued, opinionated Anna Pigeon of days gone by? I was happy to see that Barr had moved the venue out of Mississippi (which may have worked adequately for one book, but certainly not more than one), but was disappointed by the result - Flashback. While the Dry Tortugas is an interesting locale, and even the plot line has promise, the story just doesn't deliver. The dangerous situations Anna finds herself in seem contrived and just unbelievable. The character herself seems muted and uninteresting. I think that's what I feel most let down about - the character has changed and not for the better. Could it be Barr's own personal life changes are being reflected too much in her character and not for the better? I don't know, but for the first time in this series I must say I am unlikely to purchase future installments.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Flashback confusion July 23 2003
Format:Hardcover
I am an avid fan of Nevada Barr books - the great combination of national parks and mystery stories in her books blend together to form a unique and fantastic read. It is very hard to find her books here in Australia, so over time I have acquired the complete set of Anna Pigeon books via Amazon.
I managed to borrow Flashback from my local library, and read it in a few days. There were two factors that lead to only giving it four stars:
Being from Australia, I have little background knowledge of the American Civil War, and couldn't tell whether the characters such as Dr Samuel Mudd were based on real people or were fiction. I also found similar distance issues with Liberty Falling, as there were specific details that as a non-American, I couldn't quite relate to. I felt a little bit alienated whilst reading Flashback, and wondered whether I should undertake some research about the American Civil War before I continued any further. Nevertheless, I finished it without needing to.
Secondly, I also found the alternating chapters between Anna's activities and that of Aunt Raffia and Tilly hard to follow. A chapter would often end in a dramatic moment, and then the next would follow with a completely different tone. By the time that chapter was finished, I had forgotten what was going on with Anna, (or Raffia), from two chapters ago. As I read it over a few days, this meant a little bit of backtracking occasionally to remind myself of where everyone was at.
I still think that Firestorm and Track of the Cat are the best in the series, and Blind Descent the most vividly descriptive.
I would recommend any of the Anna Pigeon series to mystery readers, those interested in female leads, and even more so, those interested in descriptive stories set in wilderness areas.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A definite winner!
No doubt about it, the man can simply write! This was a great story, with great characters, and a great plot! Highly recommend it!
Published on April 30 2004 by Tim Beazley
2.0 out of 5 stars Flash--I want my money--back
The reading was tedious and the forced metaphors were annoying; ex., her fingers were like white spiders. The book was loaded with these stupid metaphors. Read more
Published on Feb. 21 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad, very bad! (Good for Insomniacs!)
This was painful, both my Wife and I are fans of the 'Anna Pigeon' series, so I thought to get the un-abridged CD for a trip across country, what a mistake! Read more
Published on Nov. 15 2003 by Pequegnat
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost Five
My girlfriend got me hooked on Nevada Barr. The setting, mysterious coincidences and twist add up to a pretty fun read. Just the ending disappoints a little.
Published on Sept. 25 2003 by Garrett Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars Her best . . . .
I have read all of the Anna Pigeon books, and this is by far the best. Could be that I like stories on or in the water and stories about the Civil War--and this one had both. Read more
Published on July 17 2003 by J. Kreuser
4.0 out of 5 stars letters are great
I love Nevada Barr & have all of her books. But this one was not her best. It starts out very slow. But poor Anna is almost killed again near the beginning of the book. Read more
Published on June 27 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Where was the editor?
My interest in reading Nevada Barr is the fun of reading a story in the various National Park settings; learning about the parks while enjoying a good mystery. Read more
Published on May 26 2003 by Patricia Kramer
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best Nevada Barr
I usually enjoy Nevada Barr's books enormously, but this one sort of bugged me.
For one thing, some of the phrasing was just bizarre. Read more
Published on May 12 2003 by Rosebud
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