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Borderline

by Nevada Barr

Series: Anna Pigeon (15)

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8843620,024 (3.72)51
Hoping the adventure of a raft trip in Big Bend National Park will lift her spirits, Paul takes Anna to southwest Texas. Instead of the soul-soothing experience they'd longed for, the couple finds a pregnant woman--more dead than alive--and soon they are sucked into a labyrinth of intrigue that leads from the Mexican desert to the steps of the Governor's Mansion in Austin.… (more)
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» See also 51 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
This mystery, set in the Big Bend National Park, features Barr’s National Park Service heroine, Anna Pigeon – and she’s deep in adrenaline-pumping trouble. When Anna and her husband take a rafting trip with a guide and a small group of college students down the Rio Grande, they find a dying pregnant woman – most likely Mexican, trying to cross the river so that her baby will be born an American citizen. Anna no sooner performs an emergency Caesarean to rescue the infant, than her party is targeted by a sniper’s bullets, and she and the baby and her surviving team must reach safety. Set against the geographic backdrop of the wild and rocky terrain of south Texas, with a big dose of immigration and post 9/11 politics. Recommend to nature-loving patrons looking for a fast-paced mystery. ( )
  FinallyJones | Nov 17, 2021 |
Synopsis: ' Anna Pigeon, a park ranger on forced vacation after a traumatic case, begins a river rafting trip on the Rio Grande bordering Texas and Mexico. Accompanied by their guide, Carmen, Anna’s husband, Paul, and a small group of college students, the rafting party anticipates an exciting but not dangerous journey.
Instead, their excursion is marred by tragedy, a sniper attack, and the discovery of the body of a pregnant woman wedged into debris at the side of the raging river. Like it or not, Anna is thrust back into a professional role, she and Paul guiding the students away from danger, hunted by a killer with a powerful weapon.

The adventure turns even more bizarre when Anna realizes the pregnant woman has not yet expired, her baby still alive. She is forced to deliver the baby with nothing more than a pocket knife, the mother slipping away after murmuring, “Take my baby.” But there is little time to register the horror of the situation when the life of a newborn is at stake and a killer lurks nearby.
Oblivious to the drama unfolding on the river, ex-Secret Service agent Darden White is overseeing a formal event at a venue in Big Bend National Park by an ambitious politician, Judith Pierson, the mayor of Houston planning to announce her bid for the Governor’s Mansion. There is a long relationship between Judith and Darden, the bodyguard obsessed with protecting Judith’s interests in a rapacious political environment, where a breath of scandal can bring the most determined ambitions crashing to the ground. Darden suspects Judith has been keeping secrets from him of late, purposely avoiding his involvement in her latest scheme.
Certainly there is trouble in paradise, Judith and her husband, Charles, barely able to disguise their personal rancor from the peering eyes of observant reporters. When news of the deaths on the river reaches those at the political event, a series of confrontations result. Caught in the middle of the chaos, Anna fends off each new danger, disarmed by the tiny newborn and willing to risk death to protect the child.
The stage is impressive, a vast landscape of jagged boulders and a raging river, the efforts of humans pitiful against such grandeur. Judith Pierson embodies political opportunism intruding on the beauty of the wilderness, her hubris outreaching her limitations. For her part, Anna delivers under duress, pushing personal concerns aside and experiencing an unfamiliar maternal instinct far beyond her comfort zone.
Review: Who done it is telegraphed from about the second chapter. However, it's an interesting story, particularly in the political climate of 2020. ( )
  DrLed | Feb 12, 2021 |
Anna and husband Paul find themselves in Big Bend National Park - on vacation. This is the first park in the series that Anna has stayed as a "civilian", not a park ranger. She is still recovering from traumatic events that took place on Isle Royale in Michigan.

But of course it isn't all fun and games.

While Anna and Paul join a group on a raft trip on the Rio Grande, a member of the group finds a young, pregnant woman caught in some branches in the water. The woman appears to be dead but shows small signs of life. Anna puts on her ranger persona to try to save her. The woman dies but Anna takes a chance on saving the baby by performing a rough cesarean section with a pocket knife.

Initially it appears that the woman was trying to cross the river from Mexico, to have her baby in the U.S. But Anna questions this assumption, based on the woman's appearance and the location along the river.

When Anna tries to figure out who the woman is she is stymied at every turn. Worse, she finds herself in danger. We have harrowing escapes here, with heart-stopping moments.

While I enjoyed the story, I found some aspects peculiar. I wondered how it was that a rescue team did not take both Anna and the baby to a hospital, and why Anna was permitted to hold onto the child after the rescue, rather than surrender it to authorities. A reason is given later, that the child protection agencies can't get there until later in the week, but that seems pretty weak.

We didn't get to explore as much of the park as I had hoped. One of the attractions of this series for me is that we get to glimpse activities or locations that are often closed to the public.

Despite these objections, I did enjoy the book. I will miss Anna when I run out of her! ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
Nevada Barr sets her books in various National Parks in the United States and her sleuth, Anna Pigeon, is a kickass mature woman ranger. Ever since I read a copy of Blood Lure, which was set in the Glacier National Park I have been a fan. It maybe helps that I have visited quite a few of the parks where she has set her mysteries but I think anyone who likes a mystery with a strong female character would enjoy them.

In this book Anna is recovering from a stressful incident in the previous book, Winter Study, and she has come to Big Bend National Park in Texas to take a rafting trip with her husband, Paul, and four college students. It is supposed to be a few days of communing with nature, having fun and eating well but it quickly turns into another stressful outing. Their raft gets overturned and all their belongings are swept away. When one of their number goes to search the bank to see if anything can be saved she discovers a body in the water. It is an extremely pregnant Mexican woman and she is still alive. Anna and the rest pull her from the river, she gasps "Please save my baby." and dies. Anna performs a C-section and the infant girl is saved. When the guide climbs up the bank to try to get a signal on her satellite phone she is shot by someone above. It is up to Anna and Paul to get the rest of the young people and the baby up the bank and to help. This, of course, is an ordeal in itself.

I was astonished, given that this book was written in 2009, that one of the characters in the book is a politician who wants to build a wall to keep Mexican people from coming into the USA. I guess that idea has been circulating for longer than I thought. It certainly made the book seem very relevant to today's circumstances. ( )
  gypsysmom | May 17, 2018 |
It's been a long time since I read this book but I have read the entire series, up until the most current book and I really like it. I love how the series is set outdoors in the different parks. If you like C.J. Box, then you'll like Barr too. ( )
  EmpressReece | Aug 22, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
Barr hits her stride whenever Anna is actually on the river.... But nothing else seems to inspire Barr, and the novel’s lame plotting, with its obvious villains, is a comedown from her usual impeccable storytelling.
 

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Hoping the adventure of a raft trip in Big Bend National Park will lift her spirits, Paul takes Anna to southwest Texas. Instead of the soul-soothing experience they'd longed for, the couple finds a pregnant woman--more dead than alive--and soon they are sucked into a labyrinth of intrigue that leads from the Mexican desert to the steps of the Governor's Mansion in Austin.

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New York Times–bestselling author Nevada Barr delivers another extraordinary Anna Pigeon novel set in the wide open vistas of southwestern Texas.

The killings on Isle Royale have left Anna drained and haunted, her memories of her time with the wolf study group forever marred by the carnage on the island. Diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, she is on administrative leave, per her superintendent's urging. Anna wonders if the leave might not be permanent, either by her own choice or that of the National Park Service. The one bright spot in Anna's life is Paul, her husband of less than a year. Hoping the warmth and the adventure of a raft trip in Big Bend National Park will lift her spirits, Paul takes Anna to southwest Texas, where the sun is hot and the Rio Grande is running high. The sheer beauty of the Chihuahuan Desert and the power of the river work their magic—until the raft is lost in the rapids and a young college student falls overboard, resulting in an even more grisly discovery. Caught in a strainer between two boulders and more dead than alive, is a pregnant woman, hair and arms tangled in the downed branches. Instead of the soul-soothing experience they'd longed for, Anna and Paul find themselves sucked into a labyrinth of intrigue that leads from the Mexican desert to the steps of the Governor's Mansion in Austin, Texas.
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