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Hard Truth shows Barr his still stale and even is borrowing ideas from other books. (The subplot of unauthorized animal care was used in another book I read a few years ago--maybe even a Barr book.) As in Liberty Falling, the park setting is less important in this book than the crime story. Character development is also skimped. In short, this is a run-of-the-mill crime mystery that will fulfill the basic needs of the mystery reader addicts. For those who want Barr at her best, read Blind Descent or one of her other early Anna Pigeon stories.
Publishers Weekly, 2005-02-14 In Barr's taut 13th thriller to feature Anna Pigeon (after 2004's High Country), the 50-ish National Park Service ranger leaves her new husband, Paul, back in Mississippi, to assume a new post in Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park, where she encounters a serial killer and a strong, determined woman, Heath Jarrod, much like herself. Heath, a former ice climber now confined to a wheelchair after a near-fatal fall, feels depressed, isolated and helpless. She's camping in the national park with her physician, who's also her aunt, when a pair of battered young girls, two of three missing from a nearby religious retreat, appear at the campsite. Heath and Anna at first dislike one another, but join forces to break the silence enforced by the retreat's domineering head and discover why the youngsters vanished, who took them, where they were and what happened to the third girl. Barr skillfully weaves contemporary issues of parental responsibility, religious and political separatism, and sexual abuse into her harrowing story. She carefully sets the scene in the first part of the book, which builds to a spectacular climax that pits Anna against evil incarnate. Noted for her precise plotting and atmospheric descriptions of nature, Barr again proves her skill in putting believable characters in peril against a backdrop of breathtaking scenery. Agent, Dominick Abel. National author tour. (Mar. 24) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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