1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Deep-fried kindness and cotton-mouthed hostilities"
I found this the most engrossing of the Anna Pidgeon mysteries, almost Literature in the scope of its concerns. There's more depth of characterization here and a totally convincing atmosphere of nature's thick menace to match the hostility of the good ol' employees under her new supervision. The author's fulsome nature description should be expected since Mississippi is...
Published on Jan. 27 2003 by tertius3
3.0 out of 5 stars Unlikely
I've recently finished listening to the Recorded Books (unabridged) version of this work with narration by Barbara Rosenblat. She does a fine job transfering the dialect from the printed page to the human ear, not an easy task. I am not one very much attracted to works of fiction, largely because I find it difficult to imagine an individual really going through the...
Published on Sept. 14 2003 by Dan Schobert
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Deep-fried kindness and cotton-mouthed hostilities",
I found this the most engrossing of the Anna Pidgeon mysteries, almost Literature in the scope of its concerns. There's more depth of characterization here and a totally convincing atmosphere of nature's thick menace to match the hostility of the good ol' employees under her new supervision. The author's fulsome nature description should be expected since Mississippi is Barr's home, but the fuller characterization may stem from the fact that Anna is running out of time for a solid love interest, as well as due to the extreme violence to which she is subjected. Only one of these terrible episodes is necessary to the plot, the other is gratuitous and features animal cruelty. My only complaint is that the conclusion is rushed and its tension drooping (or limp from the heat? :-)
Barr has a light touch but is not frivolous with her heroine or with death (unlike, for example, some of Sharyn McCrumb's Appalachian Scots stories). Barr is good at letting you build up a picture of the suspects (and she subtly make everyone so), then have Anna yank you into something else with a tiny new fact, and then do it again. That should keep you on your toes! This story has everything: prejudice, murder, kids, alligators, Civil War, crazies, punks, a cat and dog, and several cases of maybe-its-love.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short n sweet,
Having lived in in the south all my life & in Mississippi for a space of years, I found Nevada Barr's insight into the mentality of the south amazingly accurate ...having read many of her books I had made the mistake of *assuming* that she was from the southwest due to the accuracies there ... I was surprised to read that she is from Mississippi .. This book with it treatment of the racial situation twisted throughout the murder investigation with Ms Barr's other typical twists & turns to keep you guessing made this, for me, one of her best so far .. I bought my last two books by her based on her name alone ... immediately after finishing this one I ordered 5 more ... In my opinion she is one of the finest writers of this genre around today.
3.0 out of 5 stars Unlikely,
This review is from: Deep South (Audio Cassette)
I've recently finished listening to the Recorded Books (unabridged) version of this work with narration by Barbara Rosenblat. She does a fine job transfering the dialect from the printed page to the human ear, not an easy task. I am not one very much attracted to works of fiction, largely because I find it difficult to imagine an individual really going through the experiences reported. This is what I felt in the story by Navada Barr. While she paints some interesting pictures of life in Mississippi, it seemed to me to be a bit unrealistic that Anna would get into so much trouble is such a short time frame. To have to deal with a murder, troublesome teens, a possible love affair and old civil war fans in the first week on the job seemed a bit much for me. As skilled as she may have been at her former post in Colorado, it is hard to imagine that the National Park Service would toss her into this new position without some kind of orientation to those things expected of her.
I am sure Barr has great ability in using descriptive language but perhaps should use that talent in travel books, not mystery novels.
3.0 out of 5 stars Better as a series than a single book,
I gather from the jacket and some of the text that this is part of an ongoing series of books dealing with the adventures of a female forest ranger/police officer. This one's adventure consists of a job transition from the Western United States to something about as far a different environment as possible. That is, modern day Mississippi.
As a stand-alone book, it's pretty good. There are two major areas of narration, the transition to a new part of the country, and a nasty murder to solve practically out of the gate. As murder mysteries go, it's OK. We find a body, track down acquaintances, and then get to figure out suspects and motive. As a murder mystery is usually a murder mystery, I always try to add what I learn about the world surrounding it as part of making it interesting. In this case, it's the world of Civil War enactors. We get just a glimpse of their world, but it's covered in much more detail, and much more interestingly in Elmore Leonards' "Tishomingo Blues".
The other area is the transition. I would have liked to have seen a longer novel where this area is explored. We do get some conflicts, especially because she's a woman. But they get into the murder right away, where and this part is left at the wayside. I would imagine that the topic will be explored in more depth in "the further adventures", which would get the SERIES a four-star rating. But as this detail is lacking in this particular book, I hold it to three stars.
5.0 out of 5 stars Barr Raises the Bar,
"Deep South," the 8th entry in Nevada Barr's wonderful Anna Pigeon series, is definitely the best so far, especially as it comes after the somewhat lackluster "Liberty Falling."
In this installment, our intrepid park ranger has at long last allowed herself to be promoted. When the book opens, Anna is on her way to the Natchez Trace Parkway, which runs from Jackson to Natchez, Mississippi. There, she will assume the reins of district ranger in a land still fraught will male chauvinism and general distrust of females.
Nothing daunted (but secretly afraid of the very different flora and fauna--eg, gigantic spiders), Anna makes her way to her new job, along with her complaining cat Piedmont, and her dog Taco, a golden retriever in previous books who has suddenly morphed into a black lab (Barr's editor apparently doesn't know the difference). No matter. Once on the Trace, Anna is hit full force with two disgruntled male subordinates who refuse to accept her authority, a handsome sheriff who makes her hard heart flutter, a group of Civil War buffs who stage re-enactments in Anna's territory--and a murder.
Barely able to unload her Rambler (which has mysteriously morphed from her much-loved Honda--another editorial boo boo) of her worldly possessions, Anna finds herself immersed in the particularly nasty murder of Danielle Posey, a popular high school senior, whose beaten body is found in the wilderness tied to a tree and draped in a crudely makeshift Ku Klux Klan hood. Anna is thrown into the tangled web of the murdered girl's life and a mystery as thick as the fast-growing kudzu that blankets the region.
There are plenty of suspects from which to choose, from the high school's star quarterback, who was Danielle's prom date, to a mysterious and possibly mythical lover, to Danielle's own brother, an avowed racist who would love nothing better than to create an issue where none exists. The deeper the mystery, the more suspects. Anna struggles to make sense of the murder while also trying to settle in to her new cottage, her new life, her hostile office--and an alligator in her carport.
There is not a false step in this intriguing, fast-paced mystery. The thicker the plot, the more the reader is rooting for Anna to solve the case. I did not guess the murderer OR the motive until Anna did. It all made sense when the pieces were put together, but I had no clue beforehand, and that's the best kind of mystery.
As always, Barr's description of Anna's habitat is mesmerizing. In this case, since Barr herself was (and possibly still is) a ranger on the Natchez Trace, the descriptions are particularly evocative. I found myself smelling the hot, sultry, lazy Mississippi air along with Anna, and reaching for the air-conditioner for relief along with her. Anna Pigeon remains a thoroughly likeable and all-too-human heroine, and I look forward to reading the next in the series.
4.0 out of 5 stars This Yankee bows to the Southern Lady,
Who better to write about the south but someone who has been there and also worked the very same job in the very same location. Nevada returns to the Mississippi Deep South, having been a ranger on the same Natchez Trace she writes about. She sets the stage for both the reader and the story by proceeding slowly and explaining some of the things that make the area as well as the job special. Newly promoted District Ranger Anna Pigeon knows her job and knows her limitations. Nevada spends some quality writing time showing the reader around the area and explaining many of the things that make the south so special and also frustrating to newly arrived Yankees.
Anna Pigeon faces the challenges of not only her new job but the firm male prejudices of her two southern, somewhat lazy park rangers and many of the local folk. Anna is the new show in town and faces many challenges both good and bad.
The death of a teenage girl and the attack of an aligator on her that almost cost the life of her dog are just a couple of the things she faces in her first few days.
Is there anyone she can trust? Is there anybody she can count on for help? Will the "good ole boy" way of life make her give up and go home? The clock is ticking away as Anna faces southern pride, fear, and a Deep South that she doesn't understand.
This is a good book well writen by Nevada Barr that is sensitive to her subject matter and her readers. The only thing I felt it could use was either more suspense or more "on the edge" of your chair action.
5.0 out of 5 stars Gators and Bubbas - look out for Anna Pigeon, ranger PI!,
Anna Pigeon is on the move again - with cat Piedmont and dog Taco in tow. Her new assignment is in the Deep South of the Natchez Trace in Mississippi. Before she can even get to her new digs, she's given bad directions by a junior ranger and ends up in the Mississippi mud. Once she finds her way to ranger central, she finds herself up against bible-thumping campers, Confederate soldier re-enactors, and employees that embody the southern Bubba spirit. All the men seem to have a layer of fat and a condescending attitude towards the lady ranger. But there's no time to dwell on the obvious, because in her first day/night she encounters boys who have abandoned a drunk and blacked out teenage girl. Another drunken girl, Danni, in the woods turns out to be the victim of a heinous crime - she's got a sheet with eyeholes cut out over her head and a noose around her neck. Is it redneck villians? Disgruntled boyfriends? A black-on-white crime? Nothing is slow as molasses as Anna fights off a gator who bites off one dog's leg, as she meets the victim's psycho mother, as she is endangered by the Bubbas who don't want to work for a lady ranger, and when she finds out about the local homosexual lover's point. There's the handsome and sexy policeman...but there's also his wife on her doorstep. Throw in the story of Grant's soldiers who disappeared during the Civil War, and a horrific attack on Anna, and you've got another Nevada Barr page-turner that will keep you up all night!
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for any mystery fan and/or seeker of "The Real South",
This book enthralled me and kept me coming back for more.
Maybe it was the fact that it is set in the most "southern" part of the south. Being from the south myself I am both fascinated and angered by the attitudes and ideas that are still fostered in this part of the nation to this day. Seeing it all through the eyes of a newcomer provided desires ranging from the need to pitch the book across the room to a near sadness that there are people that still think and feel in such a bigoted and hateful way.
The mystery is excellent! Twisting and turning so that, just when you think you have the murder pegged, a wrench is thrown in the works and you have to start figuring it out again.
I would highly recommend this book. It is in a wonderful series. (It was the first Nevada Barr book I had read and prompted me to start the series.) It can be read in or out of sequence with the rest of the series, as it does not rely on foundations of past books.
A must read for any mystery fan and/or seeker of "The Real South"
4.0 out of 5 stars My favorite Anna Pidgeon novel to date!,
I've read all of the Anna Pigeon mysteries by Nevada Barr and this one takes the cake. Anna makes her first permanent move to a new park, the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi, a far cry from her dry yet beautiful Mesa Verde home. From the first chapter in the book where she gets lost due to the bogus directions of a bitter new coworker, I could tell this book would be different from the rest -- a little less comfortable, a little more edgy. The South is a world of it's own and Anna is thrown into it all alone. Her subordinates are cagey, fat-assed, greasy-food-loving couch potatoes. The park is hot, steamy, dark and full of fast-growing kudzu vines. Even the land itself seems to sink in upon itself as if nothing is certain. No one can be trusted. Having just finished Blind Descent (a previous Anna novel) and reading about the death of a long-time friend Frieda, I thought I was safe for a while from having to endure really emotional content. Wrong, totally wrong. Anna comes up against even more heart-pounding and soul-wrenching events in this book as well. What's next? Killing off the cat? Geesh, give a lady a break. If anyone needs it, it's Anna. She's beaten and pummelled, left with a handicapable dog, and a possibly divorced love interest. Too bad we don't get to read about her taking a trip to Aruba with said love interest and thereby repairing both body and soul. Nope. If I have one complaint about this novel is that there wasn't more. What happens with the new love? At least he's better than previous love-interest Frederick. Will we see this new love again or are we going to be following Anna off on adventure after adventure in other parks? The yet-to-be published Hunting Season will be the one to watch.
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 1/2 Stars from a first time Barr Reader,
It would appear that there is a general consensus from Nevada Barr fans that they like this book and feel it is consistent with her other novels. This being the first Nevada Barr book I have read, I can only provide prospective of an avid mystery fan.
Nevada Barr clearly does a good job of putting you in the setting. You can visualize the Natchez Trace Park and the surrounding area. It is apparent that she spent the time working there and she translates her experience well.
That being said, the amount of detail about the area becomes exhaustive. I found myself skimming thru pages (not paragraphs) that went into the description of the area. This made the book move slow.
As far as the mystery itself, it almost plays an incidental part in the novel. The solution itself is pretty weak and only plays a key part in the last 30 pages or so. The book revolves mainly around the life and surroundings of park ranger, Anna Pigeon. This approach to the book made it very easy to put down, and I would hardly call it a page turner. The sign of a good mystery is a book that keeps you guessing and has you eager to get the next page to find out what will happen next or what clue will surface. This lacked that.
If you want a book that puts you in the middle of Mississippi, with a mystery on the side then this is for you. However, if you are looking for a solid mystery book then I would suggest you move on.
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Deep South by Nevada Barr (Library Binding - Nov. 5 2008)
Out of stock