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Firestorm (Anna Pigeon Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 1997

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Editorial Reviews Review

A raging fire in a national park seems an unlikely setting for a murder, but that's exactly the circumstances that crime-fighting park ranger and medic Anna Pigeon confronts in this mystery thriller. A suspicious fire breaks loose in Northern California's Lassen Volcanic Park and Pigeon assists in battling the blaze and treating the wounds of other fire fighters. As if that's not enough, Pigeon finds herself without food and water trapped with a group of fire fighters, one of whom is a murderer. She tries to figure out who the culprit is before he, or the weather, strikes again. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

As she's seen in her fourth spine-tingling adventure, it's hard to tell what impassions hard-nosed park ranger Anna Pigeon more?crime or grime. Fortunately, Barr (Ill Wind) has a flair for depicting both as she sets Anna to providing first aid for the crews fighting an especially nasty forest fire, probably caused by arson, in Northern California's Lassen Volcanic National Park. As if living intimately with strangers under stressful conditions weren't trouble enough, more problems flare when Anna and her EMTs must rescue a firefighter who has broken his leg. On their way back to camp, they are trapped in a firestorm?the most dangerous of all fire conditions. Anna is saved by her silver pup tent, or "shake 'n' bake," which she pulls over herself at the last minute as the fire dances on her back. One of the other medics isn't so lucky. Only it's not just bad luck. It's murder. The tension approaches unbearable when bad weather and destroyed roads trap Anna and the rest of her crew with the murderer in their midst. While Anna, with her compassion, toughness and abundant one-liners, calls Kinsey Milhone to mind, Barr's character is a true original. And for excitement, her line of work can't be beat. Mystery Guild selection; author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; Reprint edition (May 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380725827
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380725823
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,512,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nevada was born in the small western town of Yerington, Nevada and raised on a mountain airport in the Sierras. Both her parents were pilots and mechanics and her sister, Molly, continued the tradition by becoming a pilot for USAir.
Pushed out of the nest, Nevada fell into the theatre, receiving her BA in speech and drama and her MFA in Acting before making the pilgrimage to New York City, then Minneapolis, MN. For eighteen years she worked on stage, in commercials, industrial training films and did voice-overs for radio. During this time she became interested in the environmental movement and began working in the National Parks during the summers -- Isle Royale in Michigan, Guadalupe Mountains in Texas, Mesa Verde in Colorado, and then on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi.
Woven throughout these seemingly disparate careers was the written word. Nevada wrote and presented campfire stories, taught storytelling and was a travel writer and restaurant critic. Her first novel, Bitterweet was published in 1983. The Anna Pigeon series, featuring a female park ranger as the protagonist, started when she married her love of writing with her love of the wilderness, the summer she worked in west Texas. The first book, Track of the Cat, was brought to light in 1993 and won both the Agatha and Anthony awards for best first mystery. The series was well received and A Superior Death, loosely based on Nevada's experiences as a boat patrol ranger on Isle Royale in Lake Superior, was published in 1994. In 1995 Ill Wind came out. It was set in Mesa Verde, Colorado where Nevada worked as a law enforcement ranger for two seasons.
The rest is, shall we say, HISTORY! Nevada's books and accomplishments have become numerous and the presses continue to roll, so in the interest of NOT having to update this page, books, awards, status on the New York Times Best Seller List -- and more -- will be enumerated with the relevant books else where on this website.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Victoria Tarrani on June 24, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Anna Pigeon, Park Ranger, has been called to Northern California's Lassen Volcanic Park to fight a blaze of suspicious origin. Danger exists in the air she breathes and the exhaustion that takes a toll on all firefighters that have been brought in to save the park.
Nevada Barr convincingly shows why rangers are called from many locations and the need to work as one in the midst of a Firestorm. The problem in working as one is that there is a murderer who has no compunction about covering up the first death with more. The most intense scene is when the Firestorm is blasting down the trail and the only way to survive is as dangerous as the fire itself.
Ms. Barr is a great storyteller who writes what she knows. I have no doubt that she has experienced survival in various parks and on a myriad of projects. She brings with her the full power that a writer can when she has lived the events--perhaps not the murder itself, but survival in it rawest form.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By cousette copeland on June 16, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Nevada Barr has 2 books that are closed to "locked room" mysteries - that is, where the action and events are in a tightly controlled environment. Firestorm has it's events in the middle of a firestorm, on a mountain top where rescue is delayed. (Blind Descent is the other - inside a subterranean cave.)
Barr's description of the firestorm, and being trapped inside of a tiny fireproof tent are gripping! The murders are solved by Frederick and Anna. Frederick is working on the outside, and supplies info to Anna via hand radios. Anna uncovers facts and fights the growing tension between survivors who are trapped on the mountain together.
There are suspects galore - but I was totally surprized by the identity of the true murderer and Anna's judgement call in handling the murderer.
This is probably one of Barr's best novels - a "hot, hot" read!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Shelley Mckibbon on November 11, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the second Anna Pigeon novel I have read, and my only consolation for being such a latecomer to Nevada Barr's writing is that I can occupy myself with her backlist while waiting for new books. So many mysteries are either not very mysterious, or clunkily written, or feature annoying characters, that I was delighted beyond belief when I finally found Anna Pigeon and realized she is a real person, and Nevada Barr is a real, skillful, writer. Not everyone can make you giggle, hold your breath, and mutter a sympathetic "ew" in the space of a couple of pages. Barr's characters, marooned by a forest fire that practically rises to the level of a character itself, have to contend with injuries, filth, hunger, and the knowledge that one of them killed one of their colleagues in a most creative manner. From the "shake and bake" (which is really something) to the final solution, I was riveted.
This is an extraordinarily imaginative take on a classic locked room mystery. I didn't figure it out until the end, and I was gravely hampered because my list of those I didn't want to have done it had gotten so long. You can really get to know people when you're stranded with them in the mountains, and that's what happens here. Even if Barr wasn't so ingenious at devising murder plots, I'd read her work. She's amazingly good at creating hard-headed, soft-hearted characters who try to do the right thing -- most notably, Anna herself.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By N. Sausser on July 4, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I don't understand why this book isn't at the top of the bestseller list. Anna Pigeon is a ranger with the National Park Service. She is currently serving as security and EMT at a fairly routine fire in the Lassen Volcanic National Park when things suddenly go to hell in a hand basket. The firestorm scenes are absolutely riveting. The characters are all very well developed. Some are easy to love and some are easy to hate. There is plenty of sophisticated, witty humor sprinkled throughout. Some of it made me laugh out loud. The landscape descriptions were the next best thing to being there. And tying it all together is a whopping good murder mystery. I probably shouldn't make comparisons but I will. Nevada Barr has Sue Grafton beat by a mile
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Steven Sabin on November 18, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The breathless positive reviewers of this book puzzle me. Their experience was distinctly not my experience. I've read 3 of Barr's books now and this was definitely *not* the pick of the litter. At Barr's best, she's a 4. This one was somewhere between a 2 and 3...but since I can't award half stars, I'll give it a 2. This was definitely the worst of the three books by Barr I've read thus far.

Here's the plot in a nutshell.

A group of rangers including our heroine, Anna Pigeon, are brought together from various national parks and agencies to fight a fire in Lassen National Park in Northern California. When the fire unexpectedly flares, a group of 9 are caught off guard and with no path of retreat from the rapidly advancing flames. Their only hope for survival is to crawl inside their fire-proof emergency tents, burrow into the ground, and hope that the fire will literally flash over the top of them so quickly that they won't be baked to death...merely scorched.

When the inferno blasts over, it feels like hours but is just minutes. They are singed, some quite seriously, but alive. However, although 9 people crawled into tents, only 8 people emerge: one literally has a knife in his back. And, the fire has felled trees across the only road in to the area, nor will the weather allow rescue helicopters to reach them. The 8 survivors are trapped indefinitely without food as it begins to snow and temperatures begin to drop -- and one of them is a killer.

Sounds enticing enough. But the ensuing days as the 8 struggle to survive are gray, cold, eventless, and populated with miserable people struggling to maintain their sanity and civility.

Basically, that describes how I felt trying to perservere through the remainder of the book.
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