I've read most, if not all, of Nevada Barr's series starring Anna Pigeon.I like the fast pace of Barr's novels, and I think she does a great job with suspense. What always keeps me from loving her books is the excrutiating detail she goes into describing the natural surroundings. No matter how much detail she goes into, I'm never able to picture the place. I'd like to skim over it, but am always afraid some small detail may be pivotal to the climax. So I read it and feel bad about myself and I never do catch the all-important detail, if there is one. This keeps it from getting 4 stars. This book cleverly takes place earlier than any of the other stories, before Anna becomes a law enforcement agent for the National Parks. A glimpse into who Anna Pigeon was before.
The story was great, although personally I could've done without the knowledge of how much human fecal matter ends up in lakes. Gross. That's probably what that oozy stuff is that always creeps me out if I accidentally touch bottom. Never again.
There was one passage that took me by surprise. Barr actually wrote something funny. There's usually not a lot of humor in these books but I actually smiled after reading this: "If you even look like you're thinking of tossing that key into the canyon, I will kill you without a qualm." "You don't need a qualm, you've got a rope."