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Blind Descent
Nevada Barr
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Blind Descent (Anna Pigeon #6)

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  5,976 ratings  ·  337 reviews
Park ranger Anna Pigeon is enjoying the open spaces of Colorado when she receives an urgent call. A young woman has been injured while exploring a cave in New Mexico's Carlsbad Cavern Park. Before she can be pulled to safety, she sends for her friend Anna. Only one problem: a crushing fear of confined spaces has kept Anna out in the open her whole life.

Published February 1st 2001 by Bausch & Lombard (first published 1998)
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So as someone who is claustrophobic, I found this book utterly terrifying since the majority of the book consisted of various caving expeditions deep underground. The author's descriptions were amazing though, and really made the cave come to life, and i could almost feel like i was there scrambling through the mud, walking through the aragonite crystal forest, or wriggling through the wormhole-like tunnels. As the caving expedition started in the book, I began thinking that perhaps caving was s ...more
Blind Descent was the first mystery I've read in the Anna Pigeon series by Nevada Barr. I had to read it-it takes place in the Carlsbad Caverns of New Mexico.

It took me a little while to get used to Barr's writing style but once I got it, I found the story as gripping as a roller-coaster ride. I feel like I have actually been spelunking (exploring caves). Good thing-since after reading this, I will undoubtedly never try the real thing. Or probably even visit Carlsbad.

Yeah, that scary.

And, also
Welwyn Katz
This was an amazing mystery. The writing is so lyrical, the mystery so satisfying, and the terrifying aspects so real and frightening that I couldn't go to sleep without finishing it. The setting is a huge new cavern system near the Carlsbad cave in Colorado, and one of ranger Anna Pigeon's best friends has been injured in it. The place is vastly deep underground, through holes so tightand twisting, they are called by the cavers things like "The Wormhole". Anna is claustrophobic; always has been ...more
Probably my favorite of the series so far ... even with the discomfort brought on by her excellent descriptions of claustrophobic feelings. I'm done with caves. Have visited the Mark Twain Cave a few times and one in eastern Tennessee. ( I forget the name). They are beautiful, but I have no desire to venture into one again.
I rarely give more than three stars to mysteries. But I did here because Barr managed to take me to a place I would never have gone on my own. The idea of crawling into a teensy space in the dark with no real knowledge of what is on the other side makes me breathless with anxiety. Dark caves, lightless spaces, the danger of getting stuck and dying of starvation, endless climbing up and down, whew, just writing about it gives me the heeby-jeebies. Anna Pigeon did all that and solved a mystery, to ...more
The sixth Anna Pigeon mystery, though the first I have read. I read it as a southwestern mystery, though it is really better described as a “National Parks” mystery. Probably the best aspect of the book, which I enjoyed, was the very detailed descriptions of the Carlsbad Caverns, the adjoining Lechuguilla cave and the surrounding countryside. But in addition to great environmental description, the author gives us an unusual death and an unusual motive. Well worth reading.
The story revolves aroun
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
Brilliant, scary, thrilling, all good. Only problem was that in solving the mystery, Anna considers all the possible people and omits one. Someone had to get word out that there was someone injured inside. The people that enter were not there before so they were not the ones that come out. (She makes it clear that no radio can get out through these caves.) So the perpetrator could have left the cave never to be seen again. BIG omission, imho, but other than that, this is her best novel to date.
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I love the Anna Pigeon mysteries, but I had hard time with this because I spent so much time feeling claustrophobic! I'm not a claustrophobe in most situations, but caves and underground make me feel trapped, as there's only one way out. I guess this says something for her writing, that she was able to make it real enough to bother me.
Good story, anyway.
Good whodunit. The description of being in the caves left me feeling a little claustrophobic and anxious at times. And for those of you who have experienced "Camp Keast" you also relive the utter fear of sensory deprivation and disorientation. You definitely feel the respect and love the author has for the National parks.
Ellen Thielen
i'm not sure that this author can write a bad story! Absolutely nailed the claustrophobia felt underground that cavers disregard...The main character is only more likable for doing things that scare the crap out of her...
I love rock climbing and caving. This book bring both together and adds a thrilling mystery to the mix. Basic story line, Anna is called to go on a caving rescue because the victim is a friend and is asking for her. Anna hates caves and is claustrophobic, but she knuckles down for a friend and heads out. Her friend dies, and Anna begins to suspect murder. She digs deeper into everyone involved and manages to offend many people on her quest for the truth. She even manages to fall off the wagon an ...more
Jackie Jameson
I guess it was ok, but I won't remember reading it a month from now. No, make that a week. Writing was good, heroine human and like able, ending so so. Just nothing altogether to make me search out other books in the (of course) series. Can't anybody write just ONE good book anymore without stringing you along for god knows how many more? I have 3 books given to me by my sister now but I lack the FIRST book in the series. I'm too OCD to start at book number 3. (Hey, I rhymed!) To me, it'd be lik ...more
Caves, caving and claustrophobia were the focus of the book. I found that the technical details of climbing to overwhelm the story. I wanted more mystery, less of the details of the horrors of being claustrophobic. I knew why the murders happened relatively early and hoped I was wrong because it was too easy to solve. The risks taken by Anna were in character given previous books, but felt forced and false. I wouldn't particularly recommend this book unless you want to read all of the books in t ...more
This was a very well-written story. The descriptions of Lechuguilla cave and the darkness and cramped quarters definitely made my claustrophobic self squirm, which was aided by the fact that it was mostly read in the dark on a road trip. So intense were the descriptions that breaks were needed from the story to lessen the feeling of claustrophobia, even though the action begged continue. Vivid descriptions, gripping storyline, and the amazing setting of an underground world make this a great rea ...more
As far as mysteries go, this book (and likely this series) was actually really fun for someone like me. Aside from a web of suspicious characters, secrets, and ulterior motives, there is a decent amount to be learned about natural history, the national parks, and in this book caving. The heroine Anna is a park ranger, and describing the environmental setting is a big part of the atmosphere. The fact that the book was largely set in a cave (I liked that a cave map was included) lent a rather uniq ...more
Anna Pigeon is always beaten up so much, one would think she'd be permanently concussed, bruised, and broken. But she's made in the style of 1970s' male TV action heroes: gets a lickin and keeps on bouncing back up, albeit limping.

I like this series for its sticking to one viewpoint, not bouncing around between villain and heroine, which I find takes me right out of the story. I also like the slightly anti-social heroine, and the way she sets about solving a mystery or two. And I particularly li
Sue Jackson
Before I discovered book groups and broadened my reading horizons, I read almost exclusively mysteries and suspense novels. I don't often read these mass market thrillers any more, but I do still enjoy a Nevada Barr book once in awhile. Her unique twist? All of her novels are set in National Parks and her main character, Anna Pigeon, is a park ranger. As an avid outdoors person and frequent visitor to National Parks, I really enjoy these books.

Blind Descent was somewhat unique, even within Barr'
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Early in this sixth tale in Barr's evocative and suspenseful series (after 1997's Endangered Species), national park ranger Anna Pigeon is summoned from duty in Colorado to New Mexico's Carlsbad Caverns. A woman caver seriously injured while exploring the nearby Lechuguilla cave is a friend who has asked specifically that Anna help in her rescue. Anna has faced everything from forest fires to deep-water dives with equanimity, but claustrophobia has so far kept her above-ground. "A chilling image ...more
As with all the other books in the series, I really enjoyed this book. However, I think most of my enjoyment came from the series as a whole rather than just this book. There are 16 books so far and I have read a handful of them...and not in order either. Most of the books I've read are the more recent issues. Blind Decent is #6. At first I was annoyed because Anna Pigeon (the main character) did things that she would not normally do. A small example is sit her rump down in the dirt. She would r ...more
Within the first chapter this book gave me the creeps. I'm a bit on the claustrophobic side, and the idea of squeezing my way through rock makes me consider cavers completely crazy. I don't think I can do hysterical panic for fun.

I CAN do vicarious hysterical panic, though, so I loved the travel in and through the cave, all the nooks and crannies. She fictionalizes the route they took in and out for the story's sake, but landmarks are obviously based on reality and (seem) recognizable by descrip
Trained teams of park rangers respond to catastrophes ranging from weather emergencies to presidential visits. In this book, Anna Pigeon is assigned to a team that is attempting to rescue an injured “caver” who has broken her leg down in the Lechuguilla, a relatively uncharted cave near New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns. The injured woman is Frieda Dierkz, the dispatcher from Mesa Verde and a friend of Anna’s. It is felt that Frieda will find Anna’s presence soothing.

The only problem is that Anna is
"Anna Pigeon, the intrepid National Park Service ranger in Nevada Barr's superb wilderness mysteries, has had some perilous experiences in the five novels that preceded BLIND DESCENT, but non compares with this thrilling subterranean adventure in the underground caverns of Lechuguilla, 'a monster man-eating cave' in New Mexico's Carlsbad Caverns. When a fellow ranger is injured in a caving accident, Anna chokes back the willies of claustrophobia and joins the rescue team. Burrowing 800 feet belo ...more
Lechugilla Cave, located in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, is the setting for the 6th Anna Pigeon mystery. Unlike the main tourist-friendly cave, Lechugilla is wild and largely uncharted. Anna’s coworker and friend, Frieda Dierkz, is part of a small survey team. There’s an accident, Frieda is badly hurt and Anna is asked to be part of the rescue team. Battling claustrophobia every step of the way, Anna focuses on navigating through tight passages, across gaping pits and around precious formatio ...more
Of all of the riveting tales Barr has spun around her park ranger protagonist, Anna Pigeon, this is, I think, the most compelling (and I have read them all)!

Have any issues with claustrophobia? If yours is intense, you may need to give this one a miss. It involves caving and spelunking, including oh my stars crawling in a tiny horizontal tunnel where five extra pounds put on over a last-minute cheesecake just could mean the end of you. Once you've gone miles and you can't go forward, and your l
Finally finished this book. It started to feel as if forces beyond my control were conspiring against me ever finishing. I love the character of Anna Pigeon. A warning if you are claustrophobic or afraid of the dark. This book takes you to some tight, dark spaces. Nevada Barr can always be counted on for a good mystery read.
If you want to know the full story on how I was finally able to finish this book keep reading, if not stop here.
I started this book on CD's in my car. The greatest invention
I had just been to Carlsbad Caverns on vacation and I knew that Nevada Barr had written a mystery about it, so I picked it up. Never having read her before, I knew that her mystery series was about a National Park Ranger named Anna Pigeon, and that she was often involved in murder investigations. In this particular book she is brought to Carlsbad from her home park of Mesa Verde (which I also just visited) to help in the rescue effort of a friend of hers. Deep inside Lechiguilla, a huge second c ...more
LOVED THIS BOOK. Anna Pigeon must deal with her greatest fear: claustrophobia. She has to do it deep in the Earth in the underground caves of Carlsbad Caverns. The angst, anger, pain and every other feeling this character goes through is palpable. I experienced it all with her. Also, she fights for the welfare of the Earth and wildlife drawing me into the story even deeper because I care so much about the Earth and wildlife, as well. I love this series.
This was really slow moving in the beginning. A strength of these books is the great descriptions of landscapes and national parks. But sometimes the descriptions get cumbersome (like the details of the rigging of the ropes in the cave). Once I hit about the halfway point, it got really exciting and I was cruising. A weird thing I noticed about this book is that there is not tons of dialogue. There is a lot of summary of the narrator telling you about dialogue that happened, which makes it harde ...more
A lot of this book takes place underground, and it is TERRIFYING. One of the things I love about these books is Anna's intense physicality and awareness of her surroundings. Descending days deep into an enormous cave with a claustrophobic is harrowing. I listened to this during my commute, and forgot all about the traffic being terrified for Anna.

Anyway, Barr describes these caves spine tingling and loving detail. The mystery is good with lots of strange and worthy suspects, and the ending actio
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Nevada Barr is a mystery fiction author, known for her "Anna Pigeon" series of mysteries, set in National Parks in the United States. Barr has won an Agatha Award for best first novel for Track of the Cat.

Barr was named after the state of her birth. She grew up in Johnstonville, California. She finished college at the University of California, Irvine. Originally, Barr started to pursue a career in
More about Nevada Barr...

Other Books in the Series

Anna Pigeon (1 - 10 of 18 books)
  • Track of the Cat (Anna Pigeon, #1)
  • A Superior Death (Anna Pigeon, #2)
  • Ill Wind (Anna Pigeon, #3)
  • Firestorm (Anna Pigeon, #4)
  • Endangered Species (Anna Pigeon, #5)
  • Liberty Falling (Anna Pigeon, #7)
  • Deep South (Anna Pigeon, #8)
  • Blood Lure (Anna Pigeon, #9)
  • Hunting Season (Anna Pigeon, #10)
  • Flashback (Anna Pigeon, #11)
Track of the Cat (Anna Pigeon, #1) A Superior Death (Anna Pigeon, #2) Ill Wind (Anna Pigeon, #3) Firestorm (Anna Pigeon, #4) Flashback (Anna Pigeon, #11)

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