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The Rope is everything you expect from the best of Nevada Barr -- and then some. Lots of white-knuckle moments, when you have to stop whatever you're doing and just listen, afraid to even move lest you miss a word. Lots of interesting stuff about the outdoor life, hiking, 'canyoneering', about Lake Powell and 'Dangling Rope'.
I had some trepidation: first, not hearing the voice of Barbara Rosenblat took a little getting used to. Rosenblat's wry, little-bit-hoarse voice, tinged with good humored, self-deprecating sarcasm, has come to mean 'Anna Pigeon' to me, and I thought I'd miss that. But no, Joyce Bean does a very credible job -- in fact, it might have been smart to have someone else read this 'prequel' to the rest of the books, when Anna was young and foolish.
Foolish? Indeed. Anna as a young woman proves herself not to have been any different from any number of other young protagonists -- an older and wiser Anna would never have gone off -- twice! -- on dangerous hiking/canyoneering trips with questionable people, when she knew very well that someone out there had tried to kill her several times. Okay, okay, so sweet young protagonists have to do those kinds of things, because if they didn't, there wouldn't be much of a story. Still, for the canny Anna we've come to know through the other books, it took some adjustment to think she'd be dumb enough, naive enough, to do such a fool thing.
So it's a great book. I enjoyed it. That said, I'm starting to see why it is that I'm liking the more sophisticated quasi-cozies these days than the kind of hard-boiled stories like this one. Why? There's too much animal torture involved. Authors can't seem to stay away from it. Look: humans are fair game in these books. They fight, they die, we know it's just a story. Most of us probably have never met someone who actually murdered someone else. But to include too much animal torture gives me the willies -- I have a feeling that this is giving too many sick people out there ideas. I don't like it. Leave the animals alone. And as I've said before, to find detailed descriptions in a paper book is one thing -- you can flip the pages. Much harder to duck it in an audio book -- I take my ear buds out, then check in periodically to see if they're done yet, but that doesn't leave me with good feelings about the book, in general.
So I'm gravitating to other authors -- Susan Rogers Cooper, Julia Spencer-Flemming, Deborah Crombie -- any of the British authors, actually -- Alafair Burke, Carol Lea Benjamin, all of the books by the late Phillip Craig, all of these writers turn out great mysteries, great reading. And none of them doom innocent animals to death by sick sadists.... much better, for me, at least.
18 of 18 people found this review helpful
I am quite familiar with the Anna Pigeon series, and am an avid fan. But this one stood out among the lot. First, it is, like most, just a very well-written book, based on a character I like, all crafted by a very talented author. Based on that alone, I would still rate this book as the best in the series. But I found something else in this book that surprised me. Without giving away the story, I must explain that early in this book, Anna experiences a woman's worst nightmare, as a captive with some seriously sexual undertones (don't worry, it is more psychological than physical.) However, the way Nevada Barr handled Anna's responses to the trauma afterward is remarkable. As a woman, I was stunned by the author's insight, and as a fortunate woman, having never experienced such trauma, I gained an insight that I would never have imagined. I came away feeling like I understood far more of the shame, confusion, and anger that comes with such an event. Moreover, I feel like I can understand more clearly why some people behave in ways that seem to be strange. Once I saw it so clearly through Anna's (Nevada Barr's) eyes, it began to make perfect sense. I also realized that I, as a woman, would get a totally different insight than a male reader, and that it might prove far more helpful to the male audience than to the female readers. I would recommend it to all, male and female, based solely on this feature, but I am quite confident that anyone and everyone will enjoy the story on its own merit. It is not until the very end that all is revealed, for throughout the story, I vacillated between my chosen villians, never quite sure. YES, this is a very good read/listen, and for several reasons. If you don't know Anna Pigeon, this is a great introduction. If you do, you'll find you never really knew her until now.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful