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High Country (Anna Pigeon Mysteries) Hardcover – February 9, 2004

3.7 out of 5 stars 129 customer reviews
Book 12 of 18 in the Anna Pigeon Mysteries Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When four young employees of Yosemite National Park disappear, ranger Anna Pigeon goes undercover as a waitress at the Ahwahnee Lodge to investigate. Living in the staff dorm, she soon discovers there's a connection between at least one of the missing girls, a crashed plane containing a fortune in drugs, and the outsiders who've moved into the tent cabin last occupied by a skilled climber who's also among the disappeared. The first attempt on her life doesn't scare her away, but the second is nearly fatal, and Anna's harrowing escape keeps the tension ratcheted up until the denouement. As usual, Nevada Barr turns in a well-paced thriller featuring a compelling protagonist and a strong cast of minor characters, but it's her brilliantly etched landscapes that bring readers back to this popular series again and again. High Country is Anna's thirteenth outing, and it's one of her strongest. --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

The serene snow country suddenly turns deadly for Anna Pigeon in Barr's riveting 12th novel to feature the intrepid National Park Service ranger (after 2003's Flashback). On assignment to locate four young park employees who went missing in a fierce storm, the 50ish Anna is working undercover as a waitress at Yosemite's Ahwahnee Hotel, where she must deal not only with an exacting supervisor and a surly head chef but also share a dorm with 20-something roommates. Evoking the stunning beauty of the park in winter, Barr contrasts the relative safety of Yosemite Valley with the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountains into which Anna treks in search of the missing kids. Danger crackles like ice on the frozen lake where she finds a partially submerged plane loaded with drugs. Attacked by vicious poachers, Anna flees into the absolute, terrifying darkness for an ordeal that will keep readers eagerly turning the pages. So well done is this nail-biting sequence that the resolution can come only as something of a letdown. Barr has a true gift for outdoor writing, using the lush snow as natural cover for the violent life in the wild as well as among the park's human custodians. Anyone contemplating a nice winter hike will think twice after entering the wilderness with Anna, but her fans always come back for more.
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Product Details

  • Series: Anna Pigeon Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; 1st edition (February 9, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399151443
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399151446
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #857,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Nevada Barr is at her best in Western settings, where her characters have room to roam. In this book, she returns to the west, but sets her story in a Novemberish Yosemite, hemmed in by clouds, trapped fog-like, barely above the treetops. A lot of reviewers of the hardback complained about that, but they've obviously never lived in a climate that can produce this kind of weather for two weeks at a crack. I do. It can chill you, right to the soul.

Which is what this book is all about. The set-up is simple enough: Anna Pigeon, upwardly mobile park ranger, is working undercover in a swank hotel as a waitress, hoping to suss out the fate of four hikers who went missing and are presumably dead. But what this book is really about is evil: the human evil that, like endless November fog, can invade even sacred places like Yosemite; and the spiritual evil to which some people have surrendered more than others, but which is beneath the skin of us all. Opposing this, Barr sets a collection of women of varying degrees of spiritual and emotional innocence (and in some cases, intellectual innocence) and throughout, she uses undercover detective work as a metaphor for the loss and retaining of one's identity in the face of pressures that would make you someone you don't want to be.

Basically, this is Barr's most ambitious work, and for about 350 pages it works stunningly. In the final 50 pages it comes partially unglued-one of the critical innocence-related plot threads gets dropped, and the behavior of some of the villains seems to have been altogether too convoluted, given their motives. For those reasons, I can't give the book a perfect score.

Bottom line: This is a very good book. But beware, it's darker than the normal Anna Pigeon fare, and the normally sunny landscapes of Barr's natural world share in the darkness.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am an avid Nevada Barr reader, and can't wait for every new book she brings me with Anna Pigeon's next adventure. This one, however, dealt less with the wonderful, descriptive visual images of the National Park,in this case,Yosemite,and more with Anna having to do chase scenes of superhuman acts under more and more physical duress than any "normal", or even, "super middle-aged Anna" could be expected to realistically do!

Barr does not even begin to pull off the reality of Anna's waitress character's relationships to young people, as anyone who works with such an age group can see right through. The one, really believable character, Lorraine Knight, is MIA at times that prove unrealistic. Is anyone really surprised by the "ringleader" of the drug gang? Any mystery reader can figure that out pretty early on. Add to this ad naseum chase scenes, and this definitely is one of Anna's most forgetable adventures in one of America's most unforgetable parks!

Even with that, I wouldn't miss reading any of Barr's Pigeon books. We all have our 'bad days', and, regardless of how outrageous the plot can be, Barr always shows us the wonderful, human and evolutionary side of Anna Pigeon!
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Format: Hardcover
Our favorite NPS ranger Anna Pigeon has been called to California in order to quietly investigate the disappearance of four young people. While she "works" as a waitress in the Ahwahnne Hotel restaurant, she keeps her eyes open, asks questions, and noses around a bit. After she takes a long hike and finds a secret lurking in a remote area of the park, the action takes off and this book is difficult to put down. (Turns out the elevation isn't the only thing in the park that's "high.") Anna ends up finding some rather nasty folks in the midst of the spectacular glacial scenery. Thank goodness she's a trained and capable law enforcement officer and outdoors-person. A lesser woman wouldn't make it past page 155! Following the style of Nevada Barr's earlier titles, this engaging story ends with the best moral of all: There's no place like home.
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By A Customer on May 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Nevada Barr's novels featuring National Park Ranger Anna Pigeon are a nature adventure for the price of the book. "High Country" is Barr's twelfth installment of Anna's adventures in the nation's National Parks. "High Country", set in Yosemite's National Park in the Sierra Mountains, puts Pigeon in a role different than we are accustomed to seeing her in the historic Ahwahnee Hotel working undercover as a waitress. The plot is full of twists and turns, a harrowing chase through the mountains and more than a little soul searching.
I enjoy Barr for her vivid descriptions and her obvious love of all things natural; her character Anna Pigeon is real, rough around the edges and human. I've read every novel in this series and I agree that some are better than others. But I will also argue that this is true with other authors whose series I have read over a long period of time.
"High Country" has a few holes in character development. Even Pigeon at times seems to act a little out of character. I suspect that those locations for which Barr has a real affection are better, the descriptions more vivid, the characters written more comfortably. When Barr is out of her element, Anna the character comes across as incongruous with her surroundings. For this reason, Anna seems most comfortable and realistic in those novels written in the Natchez Trace area. Barr's affection for that locale comes across in the depth of imagery and color with which she writes.
Anna has taken me inside the Statue of Liberty, into the claustrophobic depths of Carlsbad Caverns and down to the icy depths of Lake Superior. Every novel is like a visit with an old friend and I hope she never runs out of National Parks!
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