Wednesday 7 October 2009

Book Club - NPS & the RCMP

Nevada Barr's book Blood Lure is the latest I have read. A great book in a series. But you really must begin at the beginning. I am on book 13 (2004) but my hubby is well up ahead of me.

Nevada Barr (not a great blogger, but is on YouTube) develops a strong character in the form of Anna Pigeon. Unlike many fiction writers, things change throughout the series. Anna develops, her life experience brings her wisdom and understanding. Relationships ebb and flow, but not like the current TV mystery shows which seem to be too sappy, melodramatic and soap operaish. Do begin at the beginning of the series: Track of the Cat!

A former park ranger, the author obviously writes about what she knows. Nevada was born in Yerington, Nevada and raised on a mountain airport in the Sierras. Both her parents were pilots and mechanics. She began working in the National Parks during the summers -- Isle Royale in Michigan, Guadalupe Mountains in Texas, Mesa Verde in Colorado, and then on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi.

The character, Anna, loses people she knows as friends and co-workers. The plot twists and characters are realistic, and no one is immune from death and tragedy. She deals with being 40+ years old in the book. I love the truth and honesty in this character. Anna is strong, and has a fierce love for nature, as reflected in Barr's evidenciary knowledge and beautiful descriptions.

I have learned a lot about bear since one has been visiting our street back in June. But Barr's bears are bears in real park country. As usual there is a death or two.

I have learned about the National Parks System in the US. Very different than our RCMP, who patrol those places where cities do not have their own police forces. My ex-late-father-in-law was an RCMP office in the NWT back nearly 60 years ago! Rather interesting to compare our system and what I know of it, to this one. There is still the gender bias, dealt with in this series.

A shout out to another book about strong women in law enforcement...

THE RED WALL: A Woman in the RCMP
is an autobiography published by my publisher, GSPH, and written by Jane Hall. (She joined the RCMP in June 1977 and retired in 1998.)It examines the first women as they were accepted in the RCMP. It, too, deals with the gender bias in military-type operations.

Coincidentally, The Toronto Star, as did many papers, celebrated women's involvement in the RCMP just this past weekend. It was an ignominious start, due to gender bias, but it was a start.

Tonda MacCharles September 19, 2009

Tina Rysen thought her first day on Pierre Elliott Trudeau's security detail would be her last.

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@Barrie Summy


Scott Parker said...

Nevada Barr is one of my mom's favorite mystery writers. We just bought for her Borderline, the latest hard cover. It takes place in Big Bend, Texas, so I'll most certainly read that one.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have read a few of Barr's books and enjoyed them, especially since you get to travel with each one.

Sarah Laurence said...

I love your banner image – looks like Maine now.

The park setting sounds like a great setting. It must be good to draw you back for so many installments.

Jenn Jilks said...

It's true, Sarah. A new park every time, new flora & fauna, some new characters. It works well for her!

Barrie said...

Jenn, I got your link, BTW. :)

Barrie said...

My neighbour across the street is a huge mystery fan. She introduced me to Nevada Barr several years ago. And I must say that I have never met a Nevada Barr I didn't like.

Rose said...

I'm a big mystery fan and tend to read all the books of an author I find I like. I read one of Nevada Barr's books this summer, Flashback, and didn't care for it. I really liked the character of Anna, but the style in this particular book was distracting, I thought. Perhaps I should do as you suggest and begin at the beginning!

Jenn Jilks said...

I agree, Rose, Flashback represents a bit harsher turn to style. I rather liked it myself.

But the earlier ones are much gentler. But then, doesn't that reflect our life experiences, as we age and have more difficult experiences of life, death, tragedy?