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Blind Descent (Anna Pigeon Mysteries)
by Nevada Barr
ISBN 0399143718 / 9780399143717 / 0-399-14371-8
Publisher Putnam Adult
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Feisty, resourceful forest ranger Anna Pigeon faced everything from raging fires to deep-water dives with cool aplomb in her first five adventures. Very early in Blind Descent her courage is put to an even greater test when she learns that a woman seriously injured while exploring a cave next door to New Mexico's Carlsbad Caverns is a friend who has requested Pigeon's help in getting her out. "A chilling image filled Anna's mind: herself crouched and whimpering, fear pouring like poison through her limbs, shutting down her brain as the cave closed in around her." Pushing aside her fears, Pigeon takes the plunge, leading readers through a truly harrowing series of tight squeezes. Nevada Barr is so good at involving us in Anna's terror that when she finally resurfaces, we share her "unadulterated joy. Even the dirt smelled alive... When she saw her first stars, she croaked out her delight from tired lungs." Above ground, Anna quickly gets involved in two possibly linked murders and becomes a rifleman's target. As we share the progress of her investigation, a sneaky suspicion starts to grow of possible suspects within the small community of spelunkers and National Park Service bureaucrats. Barr couldn't possibly ask Anna to go back underground again, could she? When it happens, of course, it seems inevitable--and just as frightening as the first time. [via]