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Track of the Cat Mass Market Paperback – Jun 3 2003

4 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reissue edition (June 3 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425190838
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425190838
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 1.9 x 17.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #400,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The texture, scents and sounds of the West Texas wilderness permeate this forceful debut, in which the murder of a National Park Service ranger illuminates the conflicts between those who want to place our country's open spaces and wildlife under government protection and those who want to profit from them. Anna Pigeon has fled New York City after the accidental death of her husband, and she now works as a law enforcement ranger at Guadaloupe Mountains National Park. There she finds the remains of fellow ranger Sheila Drury, who apparently was clawed to death by a mountain lion. Although an autopsy confirms this judgment, Anna becomes convinced that the claw marks have been faked. Her superiors discourage her from probing further, but another supposedly accidental death goads her into investigating Sheila's activities before her death--her campaign to open up the park to the public and her relationships with a young divorcee and with a powerful rancher opposed to Park Service policies. Anna is sure that clues reside in the thousands of snapshots the dead woman took--photos that show signs of having been rifled through. A park ranger herself, Barr develops a complex, credible and capable heroine who believes in truth and justice while remaining conscious of the ambiguities of human existence.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA-On a biannual trek, park rangers check for signs of mountain lions. While climbing along her assigned route, Anna sees a dozen vultures circle above a canyon. Checking on their carrion, she discovers the body of fellow ranger Sheila Drury, apparently killed by a mountain lion. Believing the animal tracks and scratches are a set-up, the young woman conducts her own investigation, putting her life in peril as she encounters ardent hunters. Anna Pigeon is a great new addition to the cadre of female detectives, especially since her job as park ranger involves hiking through the spectacular scenery of the Guadalupe Mountains of west Texas. Several dollops of ecology and conservation of resources mingle with the murder clues, making this an exciting, almost "good for you," book.
Pam Spencer, Thomas Jefferson Sci-Tech, Fairfax County, VA
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I judge mysteries on how fast they hook me. And I was hooked on "Track of the Cat," the first in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, within one page.
The fascinating plot revolves around the intrigue and in-fighting among the park rangers on the border between Texas and New Mexico. Who knew? Even among diehard environmentalists such as Anna and her coworkers, political pettiness exists. That's why, when a fellow ranger is found supposedly murdered by one of the park's protected cougars, Anna goes from 1 to 10 on the rage meter. She doesn't believe it's a lion kill--and she knows that the intricate politics and age-old fighting between ranchers and rangers will result in a sanctified lion kill.
Racing against time, Anna sets out to solve a murder that only she believes is a murder. The more she finds out, the more sinister the seemingly beautiful and pristine canyons and mountains become. Two more rangers disappear...and are ultimately found dead. Just what is going on, and how can Anna stop it? The solution, which comes at the very end of the book, is completely unexpected, and quite satisfying.
Barr's talent does not stop with the mystery, however. Her unique ability to draw the reader completely into Pigeon's milieu is seemingly effortless. I could feel the intense heat of the Texas desert, feel the rocks under my feet, feel the need for water as Anna and I hiked miles and miles through wild and achingly beautiful country. I felt that I was there alongside her, sweating with the heat and the knowledge that a crazed murderer was stalking us.
Take this book with you to the beach, to the mountains, to the pool, or just sit under a tree and sip some iced tea. It's a quick, fun, and fascinating read for any mystery lover!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the first of the Anna Pigeon mystery series, and it holds a great deal of promise.
Anna is a former New Yorker who was getting tired of life in the big city, and the sudden and accidental death of her husband was the last straw. She moved away from the Big Apple, joined the National Park Service, and became one of their rangers. Assigned to Guadalupe Mountains National Park in west Texas, however, she finds that she hasn't escaped violence after all - she finds the body of a fellow ranger out in the deepest reaches of the park. At first it appears that she was the victim of a cougar attack, but Anna slowly discovers that there are too many things that just don't fit with that assumption.
Anna is an extremely well developed, fleshed-out character, as are the other people in this mystery. And Barr's descriptions of the park and the surrounding area are absolutely beautiful. In some cases she describes the local flora and fauna down to the minutest detail.
The plotline and logic of the story is also well developed and well thought out. There is not a single misstep.
But - and this is an extremely big BUT - Barr does not follow through on the resolution of her story. She allows Anna to deal with the actual murderer, but though there is an implication of what will happen if she tries to follow through and take care of the murderer's accomplices, Barr doesn't allow Anna to at least make the attempt. I would have given this book four, or maybe even five, stars if she had let Anna try. Even if she had failed as predicted, at least there would have been more of a sense of closure. Instead I was left hanging.
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Format: Library Binding
I am an avid mystery reader and a biologist, and so when I was stuck in the Portland airport for 12 hours, I picked up Track of the Cat by Nevada Barr. I have often found with mysteries that there are 2 basic kinds: a mystery with a compelling plot that is well constructed but has a one-dimensional protagonist, or a simple-minded mystery with a compelling protagonist. While not perfect, I found Anna Pidgeon and this story to be the best of both worlds. True, the plot was a bit translucent at times, but it was still based on a neat premise. Her descriptions of the park were beautiful without being distracting. And I loved Anna. Yes, she is flawed, but she is a REAL person. I know people like Anna. She's no Miss Marple (dont' get me wrong--I love Miss Marple and her twinkely blue eyes), but does she need to be? Anna is a decent, flawed, intelligent person. Like most of us. She's not the 'perfect omniscient detective' who figures out things in leaps of logic none of us can fathom (and are disappointing to read in a mystery, frankly). You can put yourself in her shoes, and any good novel does that for the reader. I look forward to watching Ms. Barr and Ms. Pidgeon grow in the subsequent novels. This was not a perfect novel, but showed a LOT of potential!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the first of the Anna Pigeon series. Nevada Barr is a fine writer, and puts words together well. However, she has a tendency to put in flowery phrases a bit too often, her character has very limited thinking (the first thought should have been involvement by the ranchers around the park, but that turned out to be last). The final "battle" is immensely flawed, since her character apparently never even considered shooting the guy in the foot. You are left wondering if Anna is a cold blooded killer who cares more for animals than people, and whether she bothered to get the rest of the bad guys put away. Finally, Anna just isn't a likeable person, so why would I want to read more about this woman? Usually, for serial novels, the main character needs to be at least somewhat likeable to keep you coming back for more. I'll try reading others from this series, since its popularity means something is there, but if the first is a measure of this set, it may not keep my attention
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