Monday, March 10, 2014

OMG, Nevada Barr with Destroyer Angel Just What I Wanted! Starts Top 10 Favorites for Year...

All forms of sorrow and delight. All Solemn Voices of the Night...

The words seemed to form from from the soughing of the wind in dying leaves. The mystical ululation of a loon, a sound that seemed to Anna to linger on the water long after the bird had ceased to call, punctuated the thought. Wadsworth? Frost?...
Enjoying nostalgia, a luxury she seldom allowed herself, she lay back in the stern of the canoe as it drifted down the Fox River as light and quiet as a leaf on a pond. A new moon, a dime-sized wraith barely edged with light, was almost lost in a dense sea of glittering stars. This far north, this far from neon, fluorescent, incandescent and halogen, this far from television screens, stars and sky appeared simultaneously close and impossibly distant. If Anna let her fingers loose from where they relaxed around the gunwales, she might fall up and forever.
There was nowhere she needed to be, no one she needed to serve. The owner of the convenience store at the put-in said the camp they'd planned on using had been burned over by a forest fire, so they stopped a few miles upstream. Anna reveled in the extra time to do absolutely nothing productive. She knew she should be missing Paul. A beter husband than Paul Davidson would only serve to make a woman feel chronically inadequate.
It wasn't that she didn't enjoy his company; they'd been married several years and she was still crazy in love with the man. Catching his smile in a crowd never failed to make her heart skip a beat. The thing was, when she was alone in wild country--or as wild as country got in these United States--Anna didn't miss anyone, not her friends, not her dog or cat, not her sister, Molly, not her husband...

Destroyer Angel:
An Anna Pigeon Novel
By Nevada Barr

Anna Pigeon just may be my favorite female character. I've been her fan since she first appeared in Track of the Cat, working as a Forest Ranger... But this book? OMG, it totally blew me away! Imagine if you would, a group of women and girls who have gone camping. For Anna, it's her vacation. There's a purpose for the trip--to test equipment created by one of the women. It is to be tested by another of the women, who uses a wheelchair due to an accident...

That's it! That's the Plot... Other than, of course, that somebody has hired a group of mercenaries to either bring back or murder everybody from the female group.  Apparently the designer is worth millions; her daughter is with her. But are they going to be ransomed or killed as well? Readers really don't know...

The book comes out on April Fools Day? Guess who gets fooled? Certainly not readers because I'm positive everybody who reads it will be fully satisfied...unless, they, too are mercenaries... I probably shouldn't have said that...a giveaway? Sure, but it's so obvious, why not celebrate it! Of course, it could also is planting the April Fools joke because, in reality, the final outcome is not even included as the book ends... so chew on that for awhile... LOL

Perceptions not provable in a lab informed Anna
that the pure nastiness of humanity was polluting
the Fox River. Pure nasty humanity was the
problem she had with Paul's God of Love. Too many
people were involved. Had love of one's neighbor
referred only to those with fur or feathers, she
might have become a believer...
A man's voice rumbled downriver, chasing the
crying of a woman or girl. No barking or growling.
Where was Wily? As he aged, his joints had
grown stiff, but his hearing was still keen...
Four men were visible; the nearest was a head
taller than his companions...
These were men who stalked alleys, bars, and
city parks...
Two teenaged girls, a slightly mad scientist, a
paraplegic, and an old dog. Anybody who would
prey on such as these would stomp kittens and
dry-swallow ducklings.
Nevada Barr is an awesome writer. Her first book won the Agatha Award for Best First Novel and I've traveled with her all over the United States with her job, but I think the scariest for me was when the trip deep into a cave system took place. This one just may have been scarier...but it had some major humor scenes that lightened the horror... kinda...

Anna, as you discovered in the excerpt above, was out on the lake by herself, when the initial camp invasion occurred. When the question came about the 5th woman, it was calmly announced that family issues had prevented her coming. That same woman took advantage of another situation and screamed "Stay the Hell Away!"

But Anna had no weapons with was she going to help?

If Anna went for help, it would be thirty-six hours minimum before it arrived. Thirty-six hours would be too late.
Monsters weren't known for deferring gratification... 
With luck, and the good wood of a canoe paddle, a lone gunman could be taken down by five women. There would be a cost, but it could be done...
Four gunmen was a different story. Still, Anna would stay, would watch. She would wait for an opening, a chance, then we would take it. Too many years rescuing lost hikers, mourning friends, and seeking justice for the dead had passed for her not to know she was, and always would be, her sister's keeper.

"Kill" was the word she used in her mind, not stop, disable, or detain but barbaric, irreversible, unforgivable killing. Time and life were the only true riches humans had. To waste either was a crime and a sin, if sin existed...
Still, she would slaughter these men if he got a chance. She would kill them all. This was not the time or place for knocking people out, tying them up, then hoping they stayed knocked out and tied up. There were too many of them, too few of her, and the stakes were too high. When it was done, she would have unclean hands. Paul would smell the blood on them. Like Lady Macbeth, she'd see the stains in her dreams.
Nightmares would be a small price to pay for Heath, E. Leah, and Katie.
And Wily. She wouldn't forget Wily.

Other than the leader of the men who everybody called the Dude, there was a gangbanger from the city, a pedophile which probably wasn't discovered until he began his campaign to connect in some way with Katie, Leah's daughter. Leah is a wonderfully conceived character. She is
obviously brilliant, but somewhat like Bones in the program by the same name... But since Leah is a designer, she spends so much time alone and in complete concentration of her work, she has absolutely no people skills, even with her daughter, who is raised by her father and is almost estranged from her mother and definitely spoiled.

The final man, Sean, was described as being hard to read, but he was so creepy that nobody wanted to look at him long enough to learn more. It appeared that the Dude was the only one with any kind of vested interest in actually completing the job. When the Dude announced "We're not taking the cripple," one of the women quickly persuaded three of them that she had even more money than Leah and the three convinced the Dude to take her...

One key plot issue allows the whole activity to occur. A forest fire had destroyed the original site where the women were to camp...By the time everything started happening, the distance to get back to civilization was much greater. But how would that affect the men being willing to take "the cripple?"

I guess I'd better stop! I'd love to tell you much more, but that would prevent you from enjoying the book...what I've shared is mostly just from the first few chapters! I'll give you two clues--wolves and demons...LOL!

For me, this is undoubtedly the first I'm placing in my top ten favorite books for 2014! I loved it and easily give it a 10! 'Nuf said!


Nevada Barr is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels featuring Anna Pigeon, a law enforcement part ranger. She won the Agatha Award for best first novel for Track of the Cat. Like her character, Barr worked for the National Park Service as a park ranger before resigning to write full time. She lives in New Orleans. NevadaBarr.Com

This is a different book, but it fits with some of my interests in this book...
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