Book Review: Winter Study

by terry mathews - news-telegram arts editor

Winter Study

By Nevada Barr
G. Putnam's Sons, Hardback
$24.95. 370 pp.

July 8, 2008 - Can't say that I'm a big Nevada Barr fan. I've read a couple of her books, (High Country and Ill Wind) but neither story tripped my triggers.

I tried the new book because it sounded interesting. Scientists studying wolves, isolated on an island in the middle of Lake Superior, discover DNA evidence of what might be a hybrid wolf/dog. It's the middle of winter and cold permeates everything and everyone. When one of the team is brutally killed, all evidence points to the wild hybrid.

The story is number 14 in a series about Anna Pigeon, a tougher-than-nails park ranger who regularly finds herself in the middle of a crisis - think a younger version of Jessica Fletcher from "Murder, She Wrote."

The story bogs down with too many red herrings and ancillary sub-plots. I guessed the villain early on, not because I'm clever, but because the author eliminates everyone else from the list of suspects.

When the story lines converge and Anna finally faces the bad guy, the author spends 49 pages drawing out the action. Frankly, it was about 39 pages too long. Anna will win because she's the good guy, but I didn't really care how it played out. I just wanted it to be over.

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