Review

Blood Lure

by Nevada Barr

"In
Glacier, the amoral purity was gone. A wrongness stalked... Nature
herself was being unnatural... When nature got personal, then
whatever passed for Satan was surely afoot."

Park Ranger Anna Pigeon is back, this time in the Waterton/Glacier
National Peace Park, which straddles the border between Montana and
Canada. Assigned to a bear DNA research project with biologist and
bear researcher Joan Rand and Rory, a teenage boy from
Earthwatchers, the plan is to check hair traps, gather samples left
behind, and dismantle the traps and set them up in new locations.
The lures are odoriferous, the hiking grueling, but Anna's looking
forward to immersing herself in nature once again...until nature
seems to take an unnatural twist. The second night out, a crazed
bear attacks their camp, young Rory goes missing...and it's only
the beginning.

A search team is formed to find Rory but makes a gruesome discovery
instead: the dead, mutilated body of a woman; neck snapped, the
flesh of her face cut away. It's up to Anna to solve the crime and
find who --- or what --- is responsible. Despite the beautiful
mountain setting, something evil is afoot in Glacier National
Park.

Until now, nature was the one thing Anna could rely on, could count
on to always act as it should, and its seemingly unnatural acts
rock her to her very soul. Her center is shaken and it's all she
can do to keep herself together long enough to solve the puzzle;
her sanity is at risk if she doesn't. Shot at, nearly crushed by a
boulder, beaten by a bear...it takes all she has, physically and
mentally, to solve this crime. In BLOOD LURE, we see Anna on the
edge.

Nevada Barr subtly weaves social commentary into the story through
Anna. Especially interesting is the take on our country's growing
paranoia: "Americans were happily forfeiting their freedom of
choice for imagined increases in security." And "Society as a whole
chose to believe that one-size-fit all so they would not be
troubled by the inexact science of justice." These, and other
observations, are part of what makes it easy to identify with Anna
(although I'd never be able to keep up with her on a hike!).

I enjoyed the National Park setting, a refreshing change from the
run-of-the-mill city and urban settings, just as Anna is a breath
of fresh air from the typical sleuths. Crotchety, preferring nature
to people and not afraid to admit it --- nor afraid to admit the
problems caused by it --- she stays true to herself because she can
be no other way; and you never doubt that it is the only way she
can be. Anna is a fascinating blend of spirituality and
world-weariness. Not surprised by people at their worst, she
readily believes in the mystical sense of nature and draws her
strength from it. When that core is shaken, she's exposed. BLOOD
LURE is a gripping mystery and part of its "grip" comes from
watching Anna weather her exposure.

Nevada Barr is a first class writer and storyteller. BLOOD LURE is
well written and spellbinding, keeping you guessing who, what, and
how it was done until the very end. If you haven't read any of the
Anna Pigeon series, start with BLOOD LURE and be prepared to go
looking for the other eight books in the series --- and everything
else written by Nevada Barr.

Reviewed by Jamie Engle on January 21, 2011

Blood Lure
by Nevada Barr

  • Publication Date: February 5, 2002
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley
  • ISBN-10: 0425183750
  • ISBN-13: 9780425183755