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Hard Truth (Anna Pigeon #13)

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  4,470 Ratings  ·  389 Reviews
Just days after marrying Sheriff Paul Davidson, Anna Pigeon moves to Colorado to assume her new post as district ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park. When two of three children who'd gone missing from a religious retreat reappear, Anna's investigation brings her face-to-face with a paranoid sect--and with a villain so evil, he'll make the hairs on the back of your neck ...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published February 7th 2006 by Berkley Books (first published 2005)
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(showing 1-30)
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Hard Truth, a mystery set in Rocky Mountain National Park, is the story of a ranger - Anna Pigeon - who ends up in a seemingly impossible situation (one in which you know she'll be triumphant) that involves a creepy religious commune, missing and abused children, and a psychopathic serial killer who loves torturing living creatures. Not exactly a fun novel to curl up with on a summer night!

This is part of a series of books about Anna and I have not yet read any of the others. I might give anoth
Holly Booms Walsh
Aug 17, 2007 Holly Booms Walsh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: horror fans, true crime readers
Shelves: audiobook, mystery
I love the Anna Pigeon lady park ranger mystery series, but this book (her most recent) was seriously disturbing. Less about the natural surroundings and history than the other previous books, this one delves deep into the psyche of a killer that also twists the minds of young girls he's kidnapped from a small conservative religious enclave. This book will mess with your head. I was open-mouthed in horror by the end. Not the normal Barr mystery, so reader beware!
Jun 01, 2007 Shakti rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
I usually love Nevada Barr's stories, but this one was a bit hard to read because of all the violence. Either I've gotten more sensitive to it or Nevada Barr stepped up the gory details in this book.
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
Another excellent story in the Anna Pigeon series although with a little bit from other people's perspectives which I didn't particularly care for. I had a few questions like how the media described the girls' disappearance in the first place. All that was talked about was how they were found in the beginning of the book. Also, at one point Anna talked to Heath about something privately and it was never clear what they talked about. An another big problem that bothered me from the beginning was ...more
Oct 17, 2009 Tara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So why do I read Nevada Barr? She writes these little whodunit murder mysteries set in National Parks that are mostly fun little reads. As a former NPS employee, she captures the park service culture very well, which adds to the amusement, because that is one of the cultures I live in. She is also famous for thinly veiling some of her characters, so when she writes about a park you've worked in, it is always fun to try to guess who some of the characters are. The ironic thing is that the most ev ...more
Nov 10, 2012 Ernie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actually, this was read as an audio book. It was pleasant to have the words interpreted as well. I listened to it while on an 18 hour car ride.

Nevada Barr writes a mystery series based on a park ranger named Anna Pigeon and based at different national parks. This is only the second for me. The first was based on the park in the Florida Keys. This one based in the Rocky Mountain National Park. Having visited RMNP several times, I thought it would be fun.

Anna is newly assigned as one of the head
Christi Nash
Im a huge fan of Anna Pigeon but this is my least favorite thus far. I give it three stars because it was well written enough to keep me up reading, wanting to finish this book, and yet I found it to be more horror cross over than mystery. I actually like horror but not when I expect a mystery, the cat abuse scenes were horrid, as was the end of the novel....the end was satisfying but more in a Silence of the Lambs/Children of the Corn sort of way...yet Barr tried to wrap it up with usual Anna P ...more
Jun 29, 2010 Cathy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm not completely happy with these last 2 books. Nevada Barr is changing her style of writing to include perspectives from characters OTHER than Anna Pigeon. I don't want to read what other characters think - I like to know what Anna Pigeon thinks. I enjoyed the book for the most part, but found myself skipping over sections that weren't focues on the main character.
Just days after marrying Sheriff Paul Davidson, Anna Pigeon moves to Colorado to assume her new post as district ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park. When two of three children who’d gone missing from a religious retreat reappear, Anna’s investigation brings her face-to-face with a paranoid sect–and with a villain so evil, he’ll make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Book description from Amazon.

Horrible, gut-wrenching stuff happens to kids in this story and that made this a to
Anne Hawn Smith
Dec 01, 2009 Anne Hawn Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This book is much darker than the earlier books. I think it is because it deals with a psychopathic killer of children and the oppression of women and children in the fundamentalist break-away sect of the Mormon church similar to the enclave of Warren Jeffs. In both cases, the helpless are being oppressed and the reader is helpless.

There is a new character introduced that I would love to see again. Heath is an embittered woman who has become a paraplegic due to a climbing accident. She is a very
Nancy Bandusky
This is a novel full of suspense with two heroines: Anna, the ranger, and Heath, a woman thrust into the story. Both have issues which help drive the plot.

While the "story" of the book involves a religious group, Anna's strong anti-religious leaning is overdone, actually leading to distraction of the reading experience as the reader wonders what is her underlying problem. Her constant "digs" put in question the viability of her relationship (and now marriage) to Paul Davidson since he is a mini
Sep 15, 2014 Lobstergirl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: Bix Beiderbecke

Does Anna Pigeon ever stop to wonder why death, murder, mayhem follow her to every jobsite? Does her husband wonder? Her sister? How about the Park Service? These people are not very intelligent.

Of course we're supposed to suspend a certain amount of disbelief. But within the world that a genre writer creates, things still have to make sense and be consistent. In this thriller, three young girls are (view spoiler)
Dec 28, 2009 Shelley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: murder-mystery
Setting: Rocky Mountain National Park

Main Character: Anna Pigeon a fictional law enforcement ranger for the National Park Service.

Plot/Storline: Anna Pigeon leaves her new husband, Sheriff Paul Davidson, back in Mississippi, to assume a new post in Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park, where she encounters a serial killer and a strong, determined woman, Heath Jarrod, much like herself. Heath, a former ice climber now confined to a wheelchair after a near-fatal fall, feels depressed, isolated
Aug 25, 2014 Hilary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Diverging slightly from the more normal "park ranger" duties, there's more of an edge here, and quite a nasty one. The bad guy's attitude is quite shocking, as is the final handiwork. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a horror book in the realm of Stephen King, but it does explore the dark side of human nature more than most of the Anna Pigeon series. Think Barr with a touch of Koontz; the horror comes from knowing what was done deliberately, and the sadness it brings.

But there is happiness too. So
Oct 11, 2012 Kate rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"Just days after marrying ..., Anna Pigeon moves to Colorado to assume her new post as district ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park. When two of three children who'd gone missing from a religious retreat reappear, Anna's investigation brings her face-to-face with a paranoid sect -- and an unspeakable evil ..."
~~back cover

This one was MUCH further along the psychotic horrific spectrum. First there was the fundamentalist religious sect, complete with patriarch -- well, you know that story. And
Jul 06, 2008 Danna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I still gave this three stars because I'm a sucker for the character Anna Pigeon, and in this book we meet another woman of similar spirit. In Hard Truth Barr tries to weave two stories into one as she did in her 2006 novel Flashback, but this time it didn't seem to work. The sociopathic serial killer was a new villan-type for her, and trying to also work in a fundamentalist polygamist cult was too much; the cult angle was too stereotypical and didn't really resolve itself satisfactorily. (Oddly ...more
Chris Cook
Jul 26, 2014 Chris Cook rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really didn't enjoy the end of this book, which colored how I felt about the rest of the book. SPOILERS: I am not a fan of Psycho-Sociopaths as the murderer in a book. I read books like this for escapist entertainment, and frankly the world is full enough of disturbing forces that I don't need to spend my time reading (or in this case, listening to someone read) about them for hours on end. It was relentless for at least the last quarter of the book, and honestly I would have stopped listening ...more
May 19, 2008 Brackman1066 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Somewhere, Nevada Barr jumped genres and started writing horror novels, and I didn't get the memo. Eek. I don't often wish I could un-read books. I like the fact that Barr is not willing to write the same book over and over, and I respect her for it. However, since her heroine got married 2 books ago (after being a widow for 15 years or so), surely there is plenty of scope there for character development? Why is Barr so firmly keeping the new husband off stage instead of playing that facet of th ...more
Sep 19, 2010 Christie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
The premise of this AP mystery was a recent move to Rocky Mountain to take a district ranger job. When she arrives, she finds that 3 children have been long missing in ROMO's moutainous terrain, and their LDS-like parents aren't even actively looking for them. Main characters included a recently paralyzed rock climber and her Dr./aunt, and a young male youth group leader. I have to say I was disapppointed in this one. It seems that the author Barr has truly mastered the building-up-suspense and ...more
Dec 01, 2007 Lain rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nevada Barr has a way with words -- no doubt about that. But I'm not so sure that mysteries are her strength. The storyline in this book was compelling, but the number of plot holes and the confusion generated by the teeter-totter between points of views undercut the strength of the book. I lost the thread several times, and was constantly questioning Anna Pigeon's decisions (particularly the idea that once she captures the killer, she wouldn't just shoot him in the leg or lock him up instead of ...more
A lot of these suspense/mystery writers are just so similar to each other. Her main character, being a park ranger, and setting, being the great outdoors, makes Nevada Barr stand out from the others, but other than that it's just so formulaic. This particular book had a very 'ripped from the headlines' feel to it centering around a polygamist 'Christian' community that was very reminiscent of Warren Jeffs, but then the bad guy ended up being your normal psychopath who only did bad things because ...more
Nov 23, 2010 Toni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 18, 2013 Erika rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Okay, so usually I love the Anna Pigeon mysteries. But this one... I dunno. The bad guy wasn't scary, and I had him figured out waaaay before Anna sniffed him out. And seriously, it felt like two different stories smushed together. I found Heath's storyline much more interesting than the serial killer one. And Heath was a better character than Anna in this book. Maybe Wilkie Collins has ruined today's mystery writers for me--I've never once figured out the end before it happens in his books.
Jan 19, 2014 Jill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book, because

a. it's a mystery and I love mysteries
b. The main character is a park ranger in a national park and I LOVE national parks.

However, I just couldn't give this more than 2 stars. I didn't really find any of the characters very likeable. I thought about just stopping the book, but I wanted to give it a fair chance so I read it all. It seemed rather slow and too wordy at times.
Sep 09, 2010 Ferree rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Nevada Barr book I've read and I was bowled over with her excellent characterization details and story line! I listened to it on CD, loved the narration by Barbara Rosenblat--I doubt I could or would listen to another Nevada Barr book without her. Sometimes the characters--both hero and villian-- are a little over-the-top and unbelievably strong or evil, but for a mystery to listen to while driving, it's great. I also enjoy the national park service settings.
Jan 29, 2014 Tori rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The first two-thirds of this novel were great. The mystery was intriguing, there were plenty of suspects to choose from and the twists, while not super creative, were at least entertaining. Then the bad guy is revealed and what was an intense, psychological thriller all of a sudden morphs into torture porn. The shift is very jarring and completely killed whatever enjoyment I had gotten from the first part of the book. Very, very disappointing.
Oct 20, 2008 AmyJo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This Nevada Barr book was well written and does draw you in but I feel that she is following the path of everything else to the very dark side of our collective psyche. It was very dark and thank goodness ended quickly. I really would not recommend this book, but love all the other books.
The few descriptions of "true" Mormons, were a little off and not well researched. This disappoints me because it makes me wonder what things in her other books are incorrect.
Dec 06, 2013 Rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
My second Nevada Barr book, and I don't think I'll actively search out more. The "mystery" of this book is why Anna Pigeon is so obtuse. It's pretty obvious, almost from the first time we meet the bad person, that this is a bad person, but Anna takes forever to figure it out. And then she doesn't act when she should, so that the supposed climax goes on waaaaay too long. Quite honestly, I think Anna is a bit of a masochist.
Dee Renee  Chesnut
There seems to be two groups of readers of the Anna Pigeon mysteries. I belong in the group that enjoys the settings and histories of the National Parks with a mystery. I'm not in the group which likes the darkness of "true crime" genre. I would put this one in the dark variety, and I don't recommend it to my friends who prefer the earlier books.
Ryan Mishap
This is Barr failing to write a mystery, instead taking that well-worn path of descent into thriller. It also begins or continues (depending on where you start) the repeated storyline of Anna getting the shit beat out of her in some beautiful natural area until she somehow triumphs over the dastardly assailant. In other words, no imagination.
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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 19 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)
  • Blind Descent (Anna Pigeon, #6)
  • Liberty Falling (Anna Pigeon, #7)
  • Deep South (Anna Pigeon, #8)
  • Blood Lure (Anna Pigeon, #9)
  • Hunting Season (Anna Pigeon, #10)

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