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Endangered by Pamela Beason

Endangered (edition 2011)

by Pamela Beason

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384298,882 (3.92)None
Authors:Pamela Beason
Info:Berkley (2011), Edition: Original, Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

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Endangered by Pamela Beason



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I received this book free from a Goodreads.com Giveaway.

Endangered is a great book. This is a story of rehabilitated Cougars and a missing boy. I don't usually like mystery books because for me the plots usually tend to be easy to figure out and honestly I thought I had figured this one out a couple of times. Yet, when I thought I had it all figured out something new would be presented and would send my thoughts going in a new or different direction. This book is very well written. This was a book that once I started reading I didn’t want to put down until I had finished it completely. In fact I lost sleep because I couldn’t stand to not know what was happening next. This book is a great read and really worth it. I highly recommend it. ( )
  tianicolle | Jan 27, 2016 |
I received this book free from a Goodreads.com Giveaway.

Endangered is a great book. This is a story of rehabilitated Cougars and a missing boy. I don't usually like mystery books because for me the plots usually tend to be easy to figure out and honestly I thought I had figured this one out a couple of times. Yet, when I thought I had it all figured out something new would be presented and would send my thoughts going in a new or different direction. This book is very well written. This was a book that once I started reading I didn’t want to put down until I had finished it completely. In fact I lost sleep because I couldn’t stand to not know what was happening next. This book is a great read and really worth it. I highly recommend it. ( )
  tianicolle | Jan 27, 2016 |
First Line: It was almost time.

Wildlife biologist and freelance writer Summer Westin is on assignment in southern Utah for the Save the Wilderness Fund. As she's about to hike out to her camp, she hears a mother calling for her child and has a little boy run into her, but before she can do anything, the little boy runs toward a man on the other side of the trees. Assuming the man is the child's father, she waves, the man waves back, and Summer heads out for her camp.

She arrives in time to take once-in-a-lifetime photos of a female cougar and her cub walking out across Rainbow Bridge. Having all the latest portable technology, she uploads her photos and her article to SWF and calls it a night. Returning to town the next day, she's stunned when she learns that the little boy has gone missing and is presumed to be the victim of a cougar attack. The news media has swarmed over the story and is inciting every nut with a gun to show up and blast holes in the killer cougars.

Knowing the cougars had nothing to do with it, Summer is in a race with the clock before the government sends in trained shooters to track down the big cats. Getting in her way at every turn is FBI agent Chase Perez, and Perez hopes the cougars are at fault-- because the alternative could be a whole lot worse.

As soon as Summer took those photos of the cougars at Rainbow Bridge, I had a huge smile on my face. For years, I've loved Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon series, not only for Anna herself, but for the National Park settings and the wildlife. Now here is Summer Westin, a woman who carries a camera instead of a gun, and she likes to get out in the middle of nowhere to observe wildlife. I'm in heaven!

Beason also provides romantic interest in FBI agent Chase Perez. Normally I prefer my crime fiction sans romance, but Beason hits just the right note with hers, and the sparks between Summer and Chase add to the story rather than detract from it.

This is pretty much a two-person show, but two secondary characters-- both rangers in the park-- perform admirably and show just how dangerous it can be to be a solitary ranger facing a motley assortment of park visitors. And if you like excitement along with wilderness and wildlife, you're going to love the tour of caves in a rainstorm that the author supplies. I couldn't read fast enough!

Are you looking for another writer who can fill your craving for adventure, wilderness, wildlife, and strong characters? Add Pamela Beason to your list. The second book in this series, Bear Bait, is already in my sights. ( )
  cathyskye | Dec 24, 2012 |
Sam Westin, star reporter for the Save the Wilderness Fund, finds herself in her element, in the wilds of Utah’s Heritage National Monument anticipating a sighting of Leto, a female cougar who had just survived a bullet shot. This would be the story of her life, Sam was sure of it, and it wouldn’t help readership either to have a picture to post of a cougar with a history like Leto in the park, possibly even with her cubs.

But first she needed to check in with the park ranger Kent Bergstrom. After meeting the ranger and setting up tomorrow’s schedule, she runs (literally) into Zack, a 2 year old boy. Zack is the friendly type, touching her shirt and asking if the image was a “cougie” and offering her his “truck” actually a small black plastic wheel. Wondering where his parents are, she begins to look around and hears a woman calling for Zach. Deciding to help him find his family, she takes his hand and begins to head towards the campsite. Catching her vest on a bush, she loses hold of Zack’s hand and Zach takes off in the shadows. Untangling herself, she spots a man at the end of the trail. He waves as does Zack and Sam heads back to the trailhead lot, hoping to get to Sunset Canyon and see Leto, the cougar, her main feature. She will recognize right away, the cougar as Leto by the scar on her left flank put there by a hunters bullet, leaving her wounded and her three cubs to starve. Luckily Kent, Sam and other volunteers nursed the cougars back to health. Coming back in spring, Sam was a part of the release of the now healthy cougars and she felt a tug of pride that she played a part in their survival. this reminds her of “Cougar Charlie” a curiosity of sorts around the park. A man who supposedly lived off the land (as well as whatever he could take from unsuspecting campers) he had rarely been seen and was a legend of the area.

Freezing in place, Sam watches Leto for awhile. and suddenly a smaller cougar appears. It must be Leto’s cub Artemis. She stealthy makes her way across the canyon floor searching for the perfect picture. Taking several pictures, her camera beeps telling her the memory card is full. Slowly she unzips a pocket to get a spare card, but the zipper sticks and even the slight hiss of a zipper alerts the cougars, for when she looks up from her pocket, they are gone.

Suddenly she realizes she has to hustle to make the deadline for the SWF edition at 9. Checking her camera, she finds to her delight, the perfect picture of the two cougars framed in the setting sun. Working frantically with an article she had “dummied” up before she left, she adds some more details and gets ready to send the article. Racing against time, she finally gets a signal and sees by her laptop that she made deadline.

After a good nights sleep filled with the sounds of the howling of coyotes, Sam calls Kent to check in. It is then that she discovers that Zack, the little boy she ran into in the woods is missing. Discussing the area, she asks if there are lobo’s around. A few lobo’s, endangered desert wolves, had been released into the park and there had been many discoveries of late of bullet ridden corpses of them in the park. She wondered if enough were left to keep the species alive. On the subject of Zack, she reports to Kent her encounter with the little boy yesterday and that the last time she saw him was heading towards what she assumed was his father at the end of the trail. Thinking back, she wishes she had walked Zack back to his campsite but he seemed so sure and even waved and the man seemed at ease with the child.

Continually worrying about Zack, she headed back to base camp to see if there was any news on the little boy. Volunteers had shown up from all walks of life to look for Zack. Sam was given the search assignment of the valley campgrounds and trailhead parking lots. Meeting up with a variety of people, one man struck her as odd. It was Wilson, a somewhat different man who kept a variety of kids toys in his trailer (for the Grandkids he said) and who just seemed a bit off to Sam. He showed her a red cap he had found by the river and said that he had washed it off because it was muddy. Sam remembered Zack had a red cap, told the man she needed it for evidence and made her good-byes.

As she continued her search, she came across a group from Outward Bound. They were rappelling down the side of a cliff, a sort of exercise for the group to garner trust that those working with you would watch your back and keep you safe, while instilling self confidence. Sam moved on searching, digging in dumpsters, and trash cans and looking in any nook or cranny she could find that a small boy could hide in. But no luck. Zack was gone. Before she left for the day, she ran into FBI agent Perez whom she didn’t seem to make a good first impression. Explaining she was looking for Zack, and that a hat had been found by a camper, the agent took the cap for evidence. Discussing the case, Sam found herself educating the agent as to the wild. Telling him about the difference between simple animal and cougar footprints, she found him to be a silent man, whom she felt didn’t particularly appreciate or trust anyone other than FBI. The subject turned back to Zack but talk aside, they were no closer to finding him than they had been hours before.

Returning to her hotel room as she had planned before going back to Sunset Canyon the next night, Sam took full advantage of the facilities and soon felt human again. As the day went on, more of the same reports came in. There was no sign of Zack and Sam returned to her hotel room. About 11 she was awakened and looked out the window to see Perez and Boudreau heading out dressed in black with a thick manila envelope in hand. Not wanting to miss the action, Same quickly dressed and followed the two agents. The envelope was placed in a metal garbage can and all three hid themselves to wait. After a short wait, a yellow truck pulled up with two scraggly looking characters inside. One headed straight for the garbage can and Perez had the man under control until the Sheriff had an encounter with a bench, giving the man just enough time to take off. Jumping in their vehicles the chase was on, ending when the truck slammed into a vintage Pontiac in a parking lot.

The two turned out to be kids who went to school with the Sheriff’s son. He questioned them at length but all they could give was a vague description of a “bushy haired stranger” who promised them $1,000 if they retrieved the envelope and dropped it off at The Burger house at Fifth. That was all they knew and the Sheriff let them go.

The search went on the next day with fresh volunteers and Sam was directed to search the area she knew so well in the wilderness. Meeting up with young people she gave a quick lesson in tracking, and answering questions she was back on the trail of searching for Zack. As the day went on, she found herself almost out of water and food. She wouldn’t starve, but she beat herself up for not thinking ahead and packing more. Suddenly a man appeared, disheveled in appearance with a look that spoke of living in the wilderness. He offered her a bunch of grapes which she took gladly. After a brief conversation she found decidedly odd, the man left and Sam resumed her search. The day ended as before, with no sign of Zack and Kent becoming more unsure by the minute that they’d find the child alive.

Later discussing Coyote Charlie with Perez, it was decided (by Perez) that Charlie might have some information they could use to find Zack. Drafted by Perez to lead the way in the dark Sam led the way towards the canyon. Along the way, they heard a howling that was not that of an animal. It was Coyote Charlie. Spotting him in the distance they tried to stop him, but try as they might, they could not apprehend the man to question him.

The next morning dawned and Perez announced they were off to the ruins and perhaps The Curtain as well. Finding him more than a bit bossy, Sam agreed and the day began. Along the way, there was no sign of Zack although Perez did disclose that he was Sioux and that he respected the park just as much as she did, although he also demonstrated a bit of a disgust for what he called “white eyes” who displaced his people when they took over the land.

Elsewhere Ranger Rafael Castillo, chanced upon some men taking pot shots at a post. Approaching them, he stated that neither guns nor alcohol were allowed on park property and they needed to cease and desist. Receiving no response, he called for backup and hoped that someone would come soon to aid him in escorting these men from the park.

About this time, Perez and Sam chanced upon a sighting of a cougar, a discovery which they were alerted to by the remains of a cougar kill rotting in the underbrush. When the cougar appeared on a nearby ledge, they began to back away slowly from the cougars kill, Perez, his weapon at the ready should it be needed. Suddenly the cougar leapt from it’s perch and bounded away down the canyon. Perez was rightfully impressed with the cougar and Sam explained that cougars were very territorial animals and that particular one, Apollo, could have been a real danger had they not moved when they did.

Traveling to the ruins Perez sees for himself how beautiful yet haunting they are and feels a tug at his ancestry in the process. Explaining the ruins as they went, Sam guided Perez through an area that was out of bounds for tourists because it was protected. As they traversed the ruins Sam happened to chance on a black plastic wheel, the same toy she had seen Zack with just before he disappeared. She quickly contacted Rafael Costello who told her to evacuate the area immediately and brought her up to date on Fred Fischer, Zack’s father who they were beginning to believe had a part in the disappearance of Zack. Rafael warned Sam that Fred might have a gun and told her to be careful.

Sam explains to Perez that The Curtain is a dangerous journey and that he has to trust her explicitly and do exactly as she told him in order to be safe. He reluctantly agrees. After teaching Perez how to rappel, they are at the bottom of the canyon and on their way to The Curtain. The going is rough as the reader will discover. In a tunnel, rain began to fall as they spot Coyote Charlie on a ledge, while the tunnel begins to fill with water. Thinking fast and instructing Perez quickly, she explains what they must do in order not to drown or be sucked back through the tunnel and thrust down onto the rocks below.

What happens next is both heart stopping and intense. The torture Sam and Perez must endure to survive is horrendous yet they escape. The ending of the book will leave the reader with a sense of awe and sympathy for Coyote Charlie as well as a sense of heroism and bravery Perez and Sam endured along the way never straying from their search for Zack.

The characters are well fleshed out, and completely believable and the book flows so well that the reader is swept away in the search for Zack and the risks Perez and Sam take to find this little lost boy.

A must read from start to finish, it will leave the reader with both an appreciation for the wilderness and all it holds as well as a respect for those who respect and know the parks and wild areas as well. And especially for those who have heard far too many times of lost children, never to be reunited with their parents. ( )
  Susan_Pettrone | Jan 23, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425244989, Mass Market Paperback)

Meet wildlife biologist and writer Summer "Sam" Westin, whose dream of saving the cougars is complicated when a boy vanishes from a campground in Utah...

A child has gone missing, and Sam Westin knows it's her fault. She nudged the boy down a dark path toward a man she presumed was his father. Now there's a media campaign targeting the cougars she helped rehabilitate and release a year ago, blaming them for the boy's disappearance. It's only when FBI Agent Chase Perez joins the case that human suspects are considered.

Clues lead Sam and Chase to the high country, where they comb the rocky canyons for evidence of the boy and for the one man who may be a vital witness. But as hours pass, and the media frenzy escalates, Sam fears they won't uncover the truth in time to save both the boy and the big cats...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:53 -0400)

Wildlife biologist and writer Summer Westin teams up with FBI Special Agent Chase Perez when a young boy goes missing and the cougars she helped rehabilitate and release are blamed for the boy's disappearance.

(summary from another edition)

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