An Anna Pigeon Mystery by Nevada Barr
Review: When the director of the Acadia National Park Service is sent to assist with firefighting efforts in another state, Anna Pigeon is sent to Maine to step in as acting chief ranger. Tagging along are her close friend Heath Jarrod and her adopted teenaged daughter Elizabeth, who was recently the target of cyberbullying, and Heath's Aunt Gwen, a retired physician. And while Anna plans on staying in the park, Heath and her family have made arrangements to stay in the family home of ailing Chris Zuckerberg, a long-time friend of Aunt Gwen's, on Boar Island, the nineteenth mystery in this series by Nevada Barr.
Not long after their arrival, a lobsterman is murdered in his home. Though the crime didn't take place on park land, a local ranger, Denise Castle, is sent to assist in the investigation with Anna accompanying her. Anna, no stranger to murder, really doesn't want to get involved, but there's something about the crime scene that she finds odd, something she can't quite put her finger on. Maybe it was the way victim was killed, three random shots to the body while he was showering but dying when the shower curtain was shoved into his mouth. Or maybe it's the way his distraught wife is acting. She has an alibi, however, being seen at a local bar at the time of the murder. Meanwhile, the cyberbullying of Elizabeth hasn't stopped, and has even gotten worse. Apparently, the culprit has followed them to Maine and now she is being physically threatened.
Boar Island is far from one of the better books in this long-running series. There are several problems here, a significant one being that neither of the primary storylines, the murder of a lobsterman and the cyberbullying of a teenaged girl, is really very interesting. True, they are tangentially linked but the connection is very tenuous. Too, what's missing is the how national park plays a role here. This book could have been set anywhere; there is nothing here that ties it to Acadia directly, and with a series that has in the past made the park an important element of the story, this is a serious drawback. And finally, Anna Pigeon is for all practical purposes one of the supporting cast rather than the series lead, mostly a bystander in both subplots until she's suddenly captured and her life put in mortal danger, a tired and overused "twist" to inject a little drama in a book that really has nowhere to go, one that is more typical of an amateur mystery writer struggling to wrap things up and not someone as experienced as the author of this book. Overall, very disappointing, and made more so because this author, and this series, is so much better.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided an eARC of Boar Island for this review.
Review Copyright © 2016 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Vanguard Press (Hardcover), September 2009
ISBN-13: 9781593155537; ISBN-10: 1593155530
Location(s) referenced in Boar Island: Maine
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Boar Island by Nevada Barr — An Anna Pigeon Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: May 2016
List Price: $26.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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