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Hard Truth: 04/24/15

cover art

Hard Truth by Nevada Barr is the thirteenth in the Anna Pigeon series. Newly married Anna Pigeon has left her home in Mississippi to be the district ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park. Shortly after she arrives, a pair of missing girls appear, nearly naked, bloody, and claiming amnesia. They are rescued by an ex-mountain climber who is now a paraplegic.

Hard Truth offers a break from the typical storytelling of the Anna Pigeon books. This time the point of view is shared, switching between Anna, the usual protagonist, and Heath, the woman who initially found the girls.

Anna quickly suspects sexual and physical abuse and the girl's home life in a hyper-conservative quasi-Mormon compound further fuels her suspicions. Meanwhile, Heath is being tormented by unseen demons (some of her own making and some relating to her rescuing of the girls).

I've decided I'm done reading this series. The problem isn't the violence. Instead it's the sameness of the plot, even when the narration is changed. Anna basically hates people and continues to insist on working in a job that requires lots of interaction with people because she likes nature and has this crazy idea that she might be able to get away from things out in the wilderness.

The problem is that whenever there's a couple presented in the book (other than Anna and her now husband or her dearly departed first husband), the man is most certainly a monster and the woman is complicit in his crimes, or in more recent books, as much a monster as he is. Seriously, to solve any of these Anna Pigeon mysteries, just look for the couple. They did it. But before you can get to the end, you'll have to suffer through Anna being an ass, Anna getting her ass kicked, Anna some how surviving again and finally confronting and probably killing (or somehow causing the death of) the male criminal.

Two Stars

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