Endangered Species (Anna Pigeon Series #5)

Endangered Species (Anna Pigeon Series #5)

by Nevada Barr

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Overview

Cumberland Island, off the coast of Georgia, is a breathtaking setting for tedious fire presuppression duty. But Anna’s boring routine is shattered when two men die in a plane crash, victims of sabotage.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425226858
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/04/2008
Series: Anna Pigeon Series , #5
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 86,557
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Formerly an actress and a park ranger, Nevada Barr is now an award-winning and New York Times–bestselling novelist and creator of the Anna Pigeon mysteries, and numerous other books and short stories. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and various pets.

Hometown:

Clinton, Mississippi

Date of Birth:

March 1, 1952

Place of Birth:

Yerington, Nevada

Education:

B.A., Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, 1974; M.A., University of California at Irvine, 1977

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Black and blood-warm water slammed into Anna's back, rushing over her shoulders and down the front of her shirt. Closing her eyes against the salt sting, she clung to the turtle's carapace and concentrated on keeping her footing as the wave dragged against her legs, sucked the sand from beneath her sneakers.

The loggerhead wouldn't be washed unwillingly back into the Atlantic. There was little the turtle couldn't handle in the sea. It was land, that unfamiliar and ever-changing universe, that had baffled her. For miles she'd swum from God knew where to lay her eggs on the beach of Cumberland Island, one of the Golden Isles off the coast of Georgia. In her tiny brain -- or perhaps her great heart -- instinct had programmed a map with such precision that out of thousands of miles of coastline she'd found her way back to this narrow ribbon of sand.

Anna ducked as another wave broke across her shoulders, and embraced the animal hard against her. The ripples of the loggerhead's armored back, nearly a yard across, dug into her cheek where flesh thinned over bone. She could feel the powerful scrape of the creature's back flipper against the sodden fabric of her trousered thigh.

Water flooded around her, warmer on the back of her neck than the mild summer air, and Anna wondered how turtles thought, how this turtle thought. On the chart that instinct tattooed on her soul, was there a picture? In whatever passed for a loggerhead's mind's eye, had she seen, remembered the flat welcoming beaches?

"Sorry, old girl," Anna muttered as she heaved against several hundred pounds of sea beast. A capricious tide had trenched out a four-foot-highsand and shell escarpment along fifty yards of ocean front. A week ago the sand had been flat; two weeks hence it would be again. Tonight it was proving impassable. Still, with the eternal patience that seemed endemic to turtles, rocks, and other long-lived, slow-moving creatures, the loggerhead had beached herself and started her trek inland.

Loggerheads coming ashore north and south of the ephemeral cliff were making their appointed rounds. Between drenchings, Anna could hear the delighted cries of park rangers, volunteers, and researchers celebrating the renewed cycle of this threatened species.

Over the past hour, since she'd been drafted into the turtle-midwifing business, Anna had received a crash course in the reproductive habits of the loggerhead. In an ideal world, they made their way up onto the beach, above high tide, dug a nest, laid the eggs, and buried them. Their role in the universe completed, they returned to the sea, and, it was presumed, never looked back until four or five years rolled by and they again felt the urge to come home to nest.

The turtle Anna danced with in the crashing surf could not negotiate the sand cliff and was exhausting herself with the effort. Too tired to fight any longer, she was giving up.

"Dear Lord, she's laying. Give me your hat," came an exasperated cry near Anna's ear. The words were carried on a gust of foul smelling air. For an instant Anna thought she'd shoved her face too near the east end of the westbound turtle. When she realized it was Marty Schlessinger's breath, she began to believe the rumors that the biologist ate roadkill.

The Atlantic drew back and the full weight of the loggerhead was laid again in Anna's and Marty's arms. "Don't hurt her," the biologist warned as Anna felt the little muscles in her sacroiliac stretch and complain.

"Fat chance," she grumbled, but she braced herself, forearms on thighs, shoulder against shell, and held on.

In a sudden peace left behind by the receding waters, the moon pushed over an inky horizon to paint a path in silver over the ocean and onto the back of turtle under Anna's chin.

By the clear light she could see Marty Schlessinger's face inches from her own. Thirty-four years of beachside living were etched in the lines of determination carved on either side of an uncompromising mouth set in a lean face. Long hair, worn in pigtails like Willie Nelson in his heyday, fell in thin ropes across the loggerhead's shell.

The returning ocean forced Anna to her knees. Her thigh was wedged against the turtle's carapace, the animal's flipper hard against the outside of her leg.

"Hat, hat, hat," Schlessinger growled.

Anna snatched off her baseball cap and poked it into the biologists groping fingers.

"Hold her," Schlessinger ordered.

"Christ!" Anna breathed as the man relinquished his grip on the turtle to gather the eggs.

Unlike many sea turtles, the loggerhead's egg-laying machinery was recessed beneath the rear of its shell, and Anna could not see the eggs. By the ecstatic groans from the biologist, she guessed the laying was a success.

"No!" Schlessinger cried suddenly. Such was the pain in his voice that Anna was unpleasantly reminded that the coast of Georgia was the breeding grounds for the great white shark.

"What?" she demanded.

"Lost a baby."

Anna was relieved but had the good sense to keep quiet. Schlessinger would consider the loss of a ranger's leg somewhat less heartrending than that of an embryonic loggerhead.

Minutes ticked by. Waves banged at Anna's back, tried to buckle her knees. Sand gritted between her teeth and salt sealed her eyes. The muscles in her arms and shoulders had progressed from ache, to jelly, to constant torturous throb. All sense of glamour and adventure was long since gone.

"This is getting to be work," she grunted.

"Quiet," Marty said.

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Table of Contents

Interviews

In Endangered Species, the fifth in the Anna Pigeon series, Anna finds herself marooned on Cumberland Island National Seashore in south Georgia. A member of a five-man pre-suppression fire team, she's slated to sweat through 21 August days in heavy boots and long trousers on the off chance the drought-stricken island will catch fire. Cumberland, once the playground of the terribly rich, is now a political hybrid, partly owned by the eccentric descendants of the original tenants, and partly wilderness managed by the National Park Service. Amid the endangered loggerhead turtles, foraging alligators, and Georgia's voracious tick population, Anna discovers an unexpected treasure. And the corpses of a few law enforcement rangers. (Got to have a corpse, that's half the fun.)
—Nevada Barr

Customer Reviews

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Endangered Species (Anna Pigeon Series #5) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I like a good mystery, but can't stand grisly details. This book is perfect! It's a great story, very intriguing, and lots of fun. I'm very happy that I randomly picked out this title!
Fernandame on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Audiobook - I am still enjoying this series.
SweetAmber on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novel was nice and fast. A quick read that left me laughing as I tried to figure out who did what to who. This is the first time I have read a Anna Pigeon novel, I'm not sure which book this is in the series. I have never read part one and that didn't stop me from keeping up at all. Barr did an excellent job at balancing between giving us character info from past novels and not being too repetitive or not having enough info for new readers to the series. I would not mind reading more from this series.
thornton37814 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Anna is on fire watch (a temporary assignment) at the Cumberland Island National Seashore when a plane goes down. It isn't long until foul play is suspected. In the mean time, Anna's sister, a psychiatrist in New York City, is receiving threats. Anna sends her boyfriend FBI agent Frederick Stanton to investigate. I have read several books in which loggerhead turtles have played a part in the story, and I'm always amazed at the work the volunteers do to help the species survive. I enjoyed the national park setting more than the mystery itself in this one. There are a few amusing scenes as well. It wasn't a bad installment, but it wasn't my favorite either.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While I enjoyed this book to a moderate degree, I have to say it was not up to the standard set in previous books from the series. The plot became too convoluted and tedious about two-thirds of the way through. I will continue to read the series hoping for a better read next time. Stephanie Clanahan
sherrb1158 More than 1 year ago
Although I enjoyed the descriptions of the area, climate and the scenery, I didn't enjoy this novel as well as her previous that I have read. I had a hard time keeping track of who the characters were or getting to know them, (luckily for the &quot;find within book&quot; feature I could search and reference previous chapters to remember who characters were). I didn't feel like any of the new characters were developed to any meaningful degree. The only characters I really started to gain an interest were the two older volunteer ladies, Dot and Mona, who weren't really introduced until the end of the book. Hopefully the next novel in the series will be more engaging.
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Hike_For_Fun More than 1 year ago
An enjoyable read, just not as good as the earlier novels.
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Velvetsnow pads into the currently empty den with her tail dragging behind her. She sinks down into their usual nest, the green moss now dry and itchy since their last time in it together. But this seems to matter little to Velvetsnow as she lays down and waits for Missingmoon to join her. Each muscle tired, her pelt full of the now unbearable scent of the tree, and a few others; Velvetsnow closes her eyes but does not go to sleep immediately. "Sorry I couldn't even tell you when we went, it was a bit of an emergency," she murmurs softly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Near the Nursery grows an extra large sagebrush, its leaves glistening with a hint of blue mixed within the usual gray. This plant protects a very spacious interior and once nests cover the shadowed floor, it becomes apparent that a couple dozen cats can sleep here. The den soon grows warm with the addition of so many bodies and is a very comfortable place to stay. This comfort is well deserved for the cats who sleep here are the protectors of Horseclan. These warriors would gladly die for their fellow clanmates and honor the Warrior Code. In return their clan honors them long after they are gone. So after a busy day of hunting, fighting, and teaching, warriors are welcome to rest under the sturdy branches of this den. ~ Warrior Den, Sapphirestar <br>