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DESTROYER ANGEL by Nevada Barr: Book Review

Off on a camping trip with two of her friends and their daughters, Anna Pigeon is enjoying a well-deserved vacation.  Her friends are at the campsite while she’s enjoying an hour or two of solitude in a canoe on Minnesota’s Fox River when she hears a noise that sounds “off.”  It’s the sound of a pistol being cocked, Anna knows.  As a park ranger, she knows the sounds of guns as well as the sounds of nature, and she’s sure this is the former.  As quietly as possible, she heads the canoe back toward the campsite.

The four people at the campsite are as different as possible, given that they consist of two mothers and two daughters.  Leah Hendricks is the brains behind Hendricks and Hendricks, a sports gear and fashion company.  Her daughter Katie, age thirteen, is an unwilling participant on the trip.  The tension between them is palpable.

Heath and her daughter Elizabeth are the second mother and daughter, and they share a strong and happy relationship.  Heath is in a wheelchair, the result of an accident that broke her back; Elizabeth was adopted by Heath some time ago after a traumatic incident nearly took the girl’s life.  One of the reasons for the trip is for Heath to try out the new wheelchair, a product of Leah’s combined technical and creative abilities.  So far it’s been everything its inventor could have hoped, and the trip, except for the strain between Leah and Katie, could be termed a success. 

Then into the clearing come four men, each carrying a gun.  After making sure who Leah and Katie are, the leader of the men orders the two women and their daughters bound with plastic ties.  Just then Heath hears the faint sound of a canoe on the water, and she realizes that Anna is approaching.  Heath shouts out a warning, ostensibly at the intruders, “Stay away from us!  You hear me?”  But Anna realizes the warning is meant for her, for her to keep out of the camp and try to devise a plan to rescue her friends.

The four men don’t bother to explain the reason they are abducting the women, and the two mothers have no idea why they’ve been targeted.  Could it simply be random, Heath wonders.  But the idea of four heavily armed men coming deep into the wilderness in hopes of finding a group to kidnap seems absurd.  Plus, of course, the men knew Leah’s and Katie’s names.  For some reason the gunmen came looking for them.  But why?

Destroyer Angel is the eighteenth novel in the Anna Pigeon series, each book set in a different park.  Based in part on Nevada Barr’s own experiences as a ranger, the books take Anna from the Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas (the first book) to the Iron Range in northern Minnesota in Destroyer Angel

The books, besides being excellent reads, give the reader a look into our national forests and our history.  Ms. Barr’s own background, both as a ranger and a former actress, makes her a natural storyteller.  Anna Pigeon is a character with brains, compassion, and abilities that shine through in every book.

You can read more about Nevada Barr at this web site.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her web site.








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