“Uncertainty and mystery are energies of life. Don’t let them scare you unduly, for they keep boredom at bay and spark creativity.” – R. I. Fitzhenry
I love Nevada Barr’s books. Not only is she a good writer, but I always learn something new about the places I love, this country’s wild lands and our national parks.
Her books have taken me from Texas’ Guadalupe Mountains to the South’s Natchez Trace, and from Yosemite’s high country to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty – and lots of other places in between.
But Nevada’s writing has a dark side to it. You can expect, at least somewhere in the book, to find her leading lady in a deadly place that leaves her body ravished to the near point of death. The scenes fit her fictional character, Anna Pigeon, who is on the opposite side of the planet from Janet Evanovich’s fun-loving Stephanie Plum.
While Stephanie’s biggest nemesis is a mother who wants her to settle down and get married and a grandma who gets her kicks at funerals, Anna fights against lost love, alcoholism and depression.
I can read Janet’s books in a day, but Nevada’s get stretched out over many days because I have to stop for a while so I won’t get too caught up in the tension.
Take last night for example, when I settled down with an audible version of Nevada’s “The Rope,” a flashback novel that explains Anna’s National Park Service career beginnings. It starts off very dark. And when I put the book down and fell asleep, I also fell into a nightmare – which thankfully I awoke from before it got too scary.
I admonished myself to stop it, then went back to sleep and had a crazy dream in which I was treated royally at a funky party by a gray-haired, but handsome, Arabian man. It was definitely more inspired by Stephanie than Anna.
This morning, I listened to a bit more of “The Rope,” because of course I have to know how Anna gets out of her hole – and because I love reading about Lake Powell, the setting for the book. I’ll eventually finish the book, but I doubt I will take it to bed with me again.
My nighttime mystery reading from now on will be cozies, where there’s more mystery than blood. Even Anna, in her thoughts about her seemingly inescapable situation in the opening of “The Rope,” decided she was living a Stephen King novel.
Bean’s Pat: Mystery Fanfare http://mysteryreadersinc.blogspot.com/ This is a good blog to follow if you like mystery books.