Thursday, September 25, 2014
DESTROYER ANGEL by Nevada Barr
I love Anna Pigeon. Although, in my opinion, the quality of Nevada Barr’s writing has not been of the same quality lately as her earlier Anna Pigeon books, I am always excited to immerse myself in Anna Pigeon’s world.
In Destroyer Angel, Anna takes a vacation with an old friend, Heath Jarrod, her daughter Elizabeth, her dog Wily, one of Heath’s friends, Leah Hendricks, and Leah’s daughter, Katie. Anna’s fans will remember Heath, Elizabeth, and Wiley from Hard Truth (though Wily apparently dropped the “e” from his name as he aged). This time, Barr’s setting is not a national park; rather, the group is camping in upstate Minnesota.
It’s nice to reconnect with old friends. As expected, there are bad guys – we meet them early in Destroyer Angel – and Anna ends up beaten bloody at the end. To this extent, Destroyer Angel is formulaic. But I found that, once I was immersed in the book, I didn’t mind.
I really enjoyed Destroyer Angel. For awhile, I was back in nature, saving the world with Anna Pigeon. The Minnesota winds gently rekindled my dream of becoming a park ranger from the dying embers of Anna’s last campfire.
I don’t understand how – or why – but Anna never fails to encounter the worst that humanity has to offer. And, once again, Barr has done a splendid job of making the bad guys really, really bad. She has a knack for capturing monsters – but also for helping Anna to overcome obstacles and to prevail. And through it all, Barr never lets Anna lose her sense of humor. These bad guys are not only bad, but they’re litterbugs, and this is very annoying to Anna:
Anna was glad she’d killed two of them.
“What’s the penalty for littering, Ranger Pigeon?”
“Death, you slovenly pig.”
Destroyer Angel, p. 242.
But, I think it is the ending that I liked the best. Despite the fact that my adventure with Anna Pigeon was over, the end of Destroyer Angel took a twist that I didn’t see coming. It made me laugh, it made me smile, and it has me looking forward to Barr’s next Anna Pigeon adventure.