Thursday, May 28, 2009

Winter Study by Nevada Barr

Title: Winter Study
Author: Nevada Barr
ISBN: 9780399154584, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2008
Genre: Police Procedural, #14 Anna Pigeon mystery
Rating: A

First Line: The Beaver was spotless.

It's been fifteen years since National Park Service law enforcement officer Anna Pigeon was at Isle Royale National Park, and then she had the good sense to work there in the summer. However, she just couldn't pass up the chance to work with the famous "Winter Study"--scientists and researchers who study the wolf and moose populations of northern Michigan as their predecessors have for fifty years. In terms of data and knowledge gained, it's the most valuable study of its kind. Now it's in danger of being shut down due to Homeland Security's concerns about its Canadian border location.

It's a thousand times colder than that proverbial well digger's knee. Anna has so many layers of clothing on she feels like the Michelin woman, and she's still freezing. The staff quarters are less than salubrious, and to make matters worse, the resident Homeland Security bureaucrat is a complete jerk. Then strange things begin to happen. Wolves appear at their living quarters (an unheard of behavior), and they find the mutilated body of a fellow researcher out in the snow--along with the huge tracks of an unidentified beast. What in the world is going on, and with the weather closing in and shutting them off from the outside anyone really safe?

I've been a "friend" of Anna's since her very first appearance in Track of the Cat. For two people who look no more alike than Laurel and Hardy, Anna and I share many psychological similarities. We both detest the cold, we both become depressed when too many overcast days string themselves together, we both prefer solitude and nature to most of the humans we know, we'd rather take a beating than walk into a cave, and it's usually more than we can take to put up with bombastic idiots. With that many quirks in common, you can see why I like her.

Barr worked her magic on me once again. As I turned the pages, I broke out in goosebumps and had to cover up with a blanket. She knows how to describe the cold! Whenever Anna and her cohorts went trekking any distance over the snow, I felt as though I were trudging right along with them, and I desperately wanted eyes in the back of my head because the creature that was killing people seriously creeped me out. I was there with Anna in almost every possible way I could be except physically. I had a vague idea of what was going on, but by the time Anna revealed all, I still hadn't pieced it all together.

For me, Winter Study is another strong entry in one of my favorite mystery series. And one that I will never consider actually reading in the winter. Without doubt, I'd keel over from terminal cold and goosebumps!


  1. I've read most (if not all) of Nevada Barr's books, but I usually don't seek them out, I wait until I run across them sometime.

    I listened to this one a little while back, and enjoyed it!g

  2. Laura--I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it. I tend to seek out Barr's books, but how could I not, since her main character and I share so many similarities? :)

  3. I'm a fan of Anna too, although I've only read a handful of books from this series. My sister first introduced me to her because she (my sister) worked in one of the same parks as Anna did, in New Mexico. (It may have been in the first book in fact.) Thanks for this review; it reminded me that I should look out for more of these books!

  4. Avis--You're welcome. My favorite books in the series are Firestorm and Blind Descent.

  5. You have such a knack with reviews. I swear, you could convince me to read just about anything. I haven't read Nevada Barr yet but I have a funny feeling I probably will.

  6. Belle--Why thank you for those kind words! Barr is a good mystery author to keep on your mental radar.


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