Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Book and Audio Review: Track of the Cat by Nevada Barr

Track of the Cat

Nevada Barr
Narrator: Barbara Rosenblat
Series: Anna Pigeon Mysteries (Book 1)
Publication: Berkley; Reissue edition (June 3, 2003); Recorded Books (July 29, 2004)
Length: 276 p.; 8 hours and 27 minutes

Description: From the vivid opening vista, high in craggy mountains, to the final haunting glimpse of a moonlit canyon, Nevada Barr's first mystery, Track of the Cat, instantly caught the attention of readers and reviewers. Its popularity gained it both an Agatha and an Anthony Award.

The young naturalist, Anna Pigeon, has moved to the Southwest wilderness to be a park ranger. There, her days are filled with the physical demands of working in the Guadalupe Mountains and the satisfaction of living in this splendid land. Her peace is shattered one morning, though, when she discovers the body of another ranger deep in Dog Canyon. How did the usually cautious woman die? Although at first the evidence indicates an attack by a mountain lion, Anna soon suspects that there are craftier predators afoot in the wild grasses.

Fast-paced suspense and sharply defined characters will immediately sweep you up in the force of this compelling mystery. By the end, you'll be nodding in satisfaction at the final twist and anticipating the next book in the Anna Pigeon series. Narrator Barbara Rosenblat's performance highlights Anna's savvy courage and determination to catch her prey.

My Thoughts: The first Anna Pigeon mystery finds her in Texas. She's 39 and widowed and loves the isolation of being a ranger. She also loves the land and wildlife of her new home. She drinks too much and doesn't have many friends beyond her psychiatrist sister in New York City. 

When Anna discovers the body of another ranger while she is out scouting for tracks it first looks like that ranger was attacked and killed by a large cat. But Anna has her doubts. Too many things about the discovery don't make sense to her. But her attempts to investigate are not encouraged by her bosses. 

The apparent animal death is giving fuel to local ranchers who want to hunt down the large cats that they believe are harming their cattle. Anna will do anything to protect the large cats in her park even if she never actually sees one. 

Anna begins her own investigation of her fellow rangers death. When a second employee is also found dead in what looks like another "accident," Anna becomes even more determined to find out what really happened. Then Anna has an "accident" while hiking which almost causes her death. Someone is very determined to shut down Anna's investigation.

I loved the descriptions of the land where Anna is working. I loved Anna's love for the creatures under her care. I was glad when Anna finally made a friend in the park which helped her become less isolated from other people. 

The story was filled with suspense and action. Barbara Rosenblat did a great job narrating the story. She had a great handle on Anna's personality and emotions. This is the first of 19 books in the series which all take place in National Parks.

Favorite Quote:
Anna's mother-in-law, just turned eighty-one, said when she was a young woman she valued intelligence over all other human attributes. Now that she was older she valued kindness.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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