Park Ranger Anna Pigeon, used to the high plains and deserts, has now been promoted to District Ranger at Mississippis Natchez Tracethe deep south. Way deep. Maybe too deep, she thinks, as she makes her way to her new home. Her instincts are rightshe soon receives an unwelcome presenta mean-tempered 6-foot-long alligator waiting in her garage.

Is it just that someone doesnt want a lady ranger for a boss, as most of her colleagues make abundantly clear? Or is it connected to the ugly Ku Klux Klan-style murder of a local teenager? Anna is helped in her investigation by the handsome local sheriff-cum-pastor, Paul Davidson, whos much more attractive than he should be. As Anna moves closer to the truth, shes in the killers sights, and it will take all of her strength and intelligence just to survive.

The landscapes of the various national parks that Anna, and Barr, have worked intheir sights, sounds, and smells, the very texture of the airare like vivid characters in the series, as well as Annas inspiration and sustenance. Read just one of these gripping and beautifully written mysteries and youll want to read more. (Feb., 352 pp., $6.99—Hardcover published March 2000)

Reviewed by: 
Laurie Davie