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Borderline (An Anna Pigeon Novel) Paperback – April 6, 2010

4.0 out of 5 stars 187 customer reviews
Book 15 of 18 in the Anna Pigeon Mysteries Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Barr skillfully blends sticky border issues, marital strife and politics in her exciting 15th novel to feature National Park Service ranger Anna Pigeon. Anna, on leave because she's still suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder suffered in 2008's Winter Study, takes a delayed honeymoon with her sheriff husband, a rafting trip in Texas's Big Bend National Park. The Rio Grande reveals a number of surprises, including a stranded cow and, more disturbingly, a dying pregnant woman caught in a strainer. Fortunately, the resourceful Anna is able to perform a C-section and save the baby's life if not the mother's. Things get really serious after a sniper kills first the couple's guide and then a fellow rafter. Meanwhile, at Big Bend's Chisos Mountain Lodge, Houston mayor Judith Pierson announces she's running for governor, and her security chief must worry about keeping Pierson's errant husband in line. The vivid Texas backdrop lends color. Author tour. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Unable to shake the despondency and self-doubt that settled on her after her horrific experiences at Isle Royale (Winter Study, 2008), Anna is put on administrative leave. In a move designed to help her recover, her husband arranges to take her on a guided rafting trip in Big Bend National Park, which straddles the border between Texas and Mexico. Their companions are four college students. Within hours of their departure, the raft careens into rocks and is lost. The occupants have barely recovered from the shock when one of them makes a gruesome discovery: the body of a very pregnant woman caught among tangled branches. Though unable to save the woman, Anna saves the child, whose welfare becomes her mission. Unfortunately, some people have other plans for the tiny new life and the struggling rafters. A riveting series of gut-wrenching events heads the book, winding down about midway as the personalities on shore and the mystery surrounding the child come into focus. Barr is less successful than usual in masking her evildoers, but her extraordinary ability to create electrifying drama in the natural world is unequivocal, as is her compelling portrait of Anna—real enough to touch as she struggles to regain her confidence, her enthusiasm, and her sense of self. --Stephanie Zvirin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: An Anna Pigeon Novel (Book 15)
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (April 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425233782
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425233788
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (187 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I found Borderline to be much more of a page-turner than the previous Anna Pigeon mystery, Winter Study. It was also less violent (a good thing). I have been a fan since the first book in the series and recommend reading them in order. Anna has indeed matured and grows more complex and interesting with each book. Nevada Barr is one of the few authors that I follow closely; I buy her books as soon as they come out and have never been disappointed.
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Format: Hardcover
I have to say I am a fan after reading my first Anna Pigeon novel. On a forced vacation after a violent incident in her last case, park ranger Anna and her husband, Paul, have signed on to a river rafting excursion in southwest Texas' Big Bend National Park, where the Rio Grande skirts the Texas-Mexico border. The adventure begun simply enough with a few college students and a capable guide, Anna and Paul are enjoying a short hiatus from their usual responsibilities. When a series of misjudgments leaves the raft at the mercy of a flooding river, the rafters are cast ashore with few provisions, their outing become suddenly more perilous. But when a sniper starts shooting at the party, the trip is run-for-your-life dangerous.

Her professional instincts reawakened, Anna is challenged even more by the discovery of the body of a pregnant woman trapped in the debris of the Rio Grande. Horror-stricken, Anna delivers the woman's unborn baby, the tiny child awakening a maternal instinct in the pragmatic Anna that amazes her. But there is no time for personal indulgence, the child's life at risk as the stranded rafters desperately climb to safety in spite of the sniper. Nearly safe, Anna and Paul stumble upon another surprise, unsure if they face friend or foe. Clearly, in Barr's novels, expedience requires quick reactions. Anna must trust her survival instincts if she is to save herself, the infant and her companions.

Meanwhile, a political rally in the park serves as a venue for Huston mayor Judith Pierson to announce her run for the governorship of Texas. A feisty and savvy politician, Pierson is a conservative Ann Richards, border issues high on her list of priorities. By Judith's side is ex-secret service agent Darden White.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm an avid follower of Anna Pigeon's exploits who was disappointed in the latest book in the series. Barr's plots aren't her strongest suit, but this one was truly out there. I had a very hard time believing the motives for many of the characters' actions. While Barr does her usual great job describing the physical setting for the novel, along with Anna's inner thoughts, this believable depiction is at odds with most other parts of the story.

As usual, we are expected to believe that Anna (and others) are somehow physically strong enought to endure multiple injuries, fatigue, lack of food and water, etc. without succumbing to their attackers. That's OK -- most male protagonists in crime novels have to do the same and as a 50-something female, I enjoy reading about a middle-aged woman who isn't a couch potato. But this time I was annoyed by Barr's inaccuracies about the subject of the book: a river trip. She has a whitewater outfitter ignoring a basic rule of wilderness river travel by floating the Rio Grande in a single raft, with no other craft for safety or backup. No NPS concessionaire would be allowed to do that on a river with any hazards. Then she repeatedly confuses oars with paddles. Along with this, the WW guide seems unfamiliar with the river's flow stages and rapids. She does not have much of a plan for the float trip, e.g. one that would allow for sufficient rest, for scouting rapids, or that involved the kind of pre-trip basic safety training the outfitter's insurance company would mandate, as would NPS and the guide's professional association. The rafting accident that follows, while necessary as a plot device, is difficult for this reader to believe -- especially given Anna's substantial experience.

Ms.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a big fan of the Anna Pigeon series but this one gets a mixed review. The first half, about Anna's rafting trip and her struggle with PTSD, is compelling and pushes the story along like a raft in whitewater. The second
plot, surrounding a politician's ambition and her relationship with one of her bodyguards, brings that raft up against a boulder and the raft starts to swamp. Fans of the series will enjoy it nonetheless, but first time readers should start with one of the other books in the series!
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Format: Hardcover
THE SETUP
Anna (a National Parks Service policewoman) is on vacation with her policeman/minister husband, Paul, in Big Bend National Park, Texas. After losing their raft while rafting down the Rio Grande, the group discover a dying pregnant woman. After her death, Anna performs an emergency cesarian to save the baby. As if things are not bad enough the river begins to rise, and the party leader is shot trying to climb to the canyon rim to phone for help. Even so, they are forced to climb to the rim in the dark. At the rim they find, and scuffle with, a Texas Ranger, Freddy Martinez, assigned to the Park. In the meantime, Judith Pierson (the mayor of Houston, running for the Governorship) is having a political rally at the Park. Judith's husband announces that he is leaving her for his pregnant mistress. That's the setup.

COMMENTS
I am a voracious reader, reading over 100 novels/year. I have learned that there are fundamental differences between how men and women tell stories, even within the limited genre of action/mystery novels. Women, usually being more social and perceptive, are interested in the interpersonal relationships and emotional conflicts even of people they do not like. Men are generally interested only in characters with whom they can relate---who are like themselves, or like people they have known, or who are people they would welcome as friends, or characters they find attractive. Women fill their lives with "secrets" about both friends and enemies. Men fill their lives with "useful information"--such as how to fix a refrigerator, and private emotions about the people they care about. Love, hate, jealousy, and revenge are the prime motivating factors in most novels by women.
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