by Nevada Barr

G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2009. ISBN 978-0-399-15569-7.
Reviewed by Rhonda Esakov
Posted on 03/24/2009

Fiction: Mystery

If you have not had the opportunity to visit our National parklands with Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon series, Borderline is a fine example of the best she has to offer.

Park Ranger Anna Pigeon is attempting to recover from the shock of a near death experience in the cold northern territories [see Winter Study]. To save her own life and protect others; she had to kill a man with her bare hands. Although married to her sheriff/priest husband nearly a year now, their jobs have kept them mostly separated for much of that time. Ordered to go on medical leave to recover from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Ranger Pigeon and her husband Paul decide that a relaxing rafting trip to Big Bend will give them time together to get back in touch with nature and their own inner peace. The combination of the hot desert sun and the flowing river should do the trick.

The trip turns out to be anything but relaxing. First, the raft overturns in a rapids, spilling everyone and all their belongings—even the live cow they had on board from an earlier rescue attempt. One of the college girls along for the trip then discovers a body trapped in a snag near the shore. In an attempt to retrieve the body for later identification and removal, they discover that the unidentified woman is barely alive and very pregnant. Pigeon's protectiveness is awakened when a new baby enters her world and she would do anything, even kill again, to solve the puzzling riddle that surrounds the child's birth and protect the infant from danger. Running, climbing, dodging bullets and rescuing children seems to be par for the course of Ranger Pigeon's "relaxing" vacation. Why relax when you can get shot, hunted down, and beaten up?

This trip to the Texas borderlands between the United States and Mexico is rife with political maneuvering, because the Mayor of Houston has chosen the area as the platform from which to announce her run for Governor. Philandering spouse aside, the Mayor and her former Secret Service protector have many secrets that would be dynamite if exposed. At the center of this is a tiny baby born of the now dead woman found in the river. Was the mother attempting to cross the Rio Grande to attempt to gain citizenship for her unborn child? Or is murder floating around the rapids of the Rio?

After several previous adventures, Ranger Anna Pigeon still has the ability to surprise, entertain and carry you along on a thrilling adventure into the National Parklands of our country.

Nevada Barr is the award-winning author of fourteen previous Anna Pigeon mysteries, including the New York Times bestsellers Winter Study and Hard Truth. She lives in New Orleans and welcomes visitors to her website.

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