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Blind Descent

(Anna Pigeon #6)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  8,761 ratings  ·  532 reviews
Lechuguilla Cavern is a man-eating cave discovered in New Mexico's Carlsbad Caverns National Park in the mid-1980s. Estimated to extend for more than three hundred miles, only ninety of them mapped, the cave was formed by acid burning away the limestone; corridors, pits, cramped wormholes, cliffs, and splendid rooms the size of football fields tangle together in a maze shr ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 372 pages
Published April 1st 1999 by Avon Books (first published January 1st 1998)
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  8,761 ratings  ·  532 reviews

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Book six in the mystery series starring U.S. Park Ranger Anna Pigeon takes Anna to New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns, where one of her friends, and an avid caver, has been seriously injured while exploring a new (and not open to the public) cave system. Frieda has a serious head injury and is mostly unconscious, but she has asked for Anna. So, Anna swallows her claustrophobia to come to her friend’s aid. In a brief moment of lucidity, Frieda tells Anna that it was not an accident.

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Mar 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
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
Clare O'Beara
Sep 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: america-crime, nature
Atmospheric barely begins to describe this crime story set mainly underground in New Mexico's Lechuguilla cavern system. Park Ranger Anna Pigeon is called to join a Search and Rescue party after a ranger is injured underground. They face a few days of trek to the injured woman and a few more days of stretchering her out, filled with climbing, crawling, wading and walking on rough stone. But when Anna reaches her friend, she starts to suspect that the accidental head injury was no accident. Given ...more
May 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Anna is as depressing and as crazy as always. Nature dominates the scene 70% of the time and once again murder is attempted and committed due to environmental reasons... There is this really disturbing way in which a friend of hers dies.... Yea, I will not forget it, especially when climbing... Good book for this series.
Ellen Trautner
Nov 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Finished this a while ago but forgot to review. If I reviewed at the the time, this probably would've gotten 3.5 stars, rounding up to 4. But with time and reflection, I'm rounding down to 3.

This is the first Nevada Barr book I've read, and I've only been meaning to read it for 8 years. she writes murder mysteries set at different national parks,and this one happens to be set at my park! So ever since I started working at Carlsbad, visitors have been asking if I've read this.

I finally got it f
Jeanette (Again)
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.
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
May 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: what-mystery
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.
Aug 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nevada Barr's sixth novel featuring park ranger Anna Pigeon is set in New Mexico's Carlsbad Caverns. The location is known to the National Park Service as CACA. The area contains two of the most famous caves in the world, one of which, Lechuguilla, now harbors an injured caver who is also a close friend of Anna's.

I have never once in my life had the desire to explore caves. I am not really claustrophobic but I don't like the idea of being underground. Anna, on the other hand, suffers badly fro
Jun 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenge
Enjoyable mystery that kept me guessing. Not being a caver, I had some trouble picturing some of the things they were doing in the caves and sometimes I got confused trying to keep all the characters straight. I do love that these books are set in the National Parks and I feel like I get a behind the scenes tour in each book.
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This series does not disappoint and I liked the character development. Will read on!
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
With each book I read in this series, I get more and more hooked! THe last 30-40 pages of this book had my heart pounding and me biting my nails! I love this series!
Lynette Lark
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
What an awesome read! It's literally filled with twists and turns. I loved/hated so many of the characters. It's a who-done-it filled with suspense and wit down below Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. I had no idea that so many ego-driven people were attracted to spelunking underground, but I suppose it's where they naturally belong. If you like suspense without the stuff of nightmares, then you'll love this author and this book. There is, however, a quote from the book that really pissed me off a ...more
Diana Band
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very suspenseful and the descriptions of the cave, as well as the group's perils below the earth, were fantastic. Didn't find myself connecting with the characters as much in this one, and Anna's lack of guilt over a certain tragedy, while technically correct, didn't feel accurate to her character.
Another Anna Pigeon adventure - this one in Lechugilla Cave at Carlsbad. Typical stuff happens - there's an accident but it could be murder and Anna will crack the case even if her superiors tell her to mind her own business.

But I have to wonder this. Every year someone is killed and Anna says "It wasn't an accident!" Then someone tries to kill Anna but she stops them and they turn out to be the murderer. She's always right. So why, every year when this happens and Anna says, "Hey, that wasn't a
Oct 12, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-us, adventure
Another solid Anna Pigeon mystery, this one is set in Carlsbad Caverns. Almost a parlour mystery in its inception as Anna's friend Frieda is injured in a closed cavern with limited people about to have committed the murder attempt. There are many claustrophobic periods as Anna crawls through narrow tunnels with other cavers trying to extricate Frieda. A totally new experience for me, this caver's world, both exciting and terrifying. The mystery broadens once the group is above surface, with many ...more
Oct 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
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
May 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent book in this series involving Anna Pigeon, a park ranger for the National Park Service. Barr's books are so compelling - and her settings so intriguing - that I find myself spending at least an hour or two researching the various parks on the web and YouTube.

Blind Descent takes place in Lechuguilla Cave, part of the Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. Even if you don't read the book, do yourself a favor and research this cave on the web; it is famous for its unusual
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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...
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
About a murder in a cave in a National Park. Probably what the author intended, but it was too claustrophobic for me. Also contained pages & pages of description about caving. Since I'm too claustrophobic to ever want anything to do with caving, I didn't care about that. ...more
One of the more terrifying and suspenseful of Barr's Anna Pigeon series. If you have claustrophobia you probably shouldn't read this book. Otherwise, highly recommended.
Kim Myers
Jun 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Having lived in Carlsbad, New Mexico this book hit home. I could visualize the caves (googling the big cave helped). The ending was a bit rushed, but enjoyable.
Mar 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Totally superb thriller. Exceptionally interesting writing, sympathetic characters, intriguing who-done-it, wonderful scenery. My favorite Anna Pigeon story and a Top Ten of all novels I have read.
Lukasz Pruski
Jun 30, 2017 rated it liked it
"Naked people of all shapes and sizes dangling from ropes over a pint-sized paradise; the picture so tickled Anna she had to think dark thoughts to keep from giggling."

Since I liked Nevada Barr's Blood Lure quite a lot I have reached for another book in the series, Blind Descent (1998). Each novel in Ms. Barr's Anna Pigeon series is set in a different national park in the U.S, which is music to the eyes of this ardent fan of the National Parks System. Descent is located in the Carlsbad Caver
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
We find Anna Pigeon deep inside the Lechuguilla caverns, part of the Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The Lechuguilla caverns were discovered in 1986 and even today are open only to scientific explorers and other serious researchers. The caverns are pristine and can only be maintained that way if the public is not tromping through them.

Anna finds herself rappelling into the deep recesses of the cave and crawling through narrow tunnels because she is a friend of an injured caver, Frieda Dierkz. F
Lindsay Luke
Jun 26, 2020 rated it liked it
The Anna Pigeon series by Nevada Barr comes recommended, so when I came upon this book I picked it up. This is number 6 in the series, but I didn't feel like I needed to have read the earlier ones to understand it.
Anna is an NPS ranger. She gets word that her friend Frieda has been injured in a caving accident in Lechugilla cave in Carlsbad Caverns National Park. She's stuck underground awaiting rescue and has asked that Anna be part of the rescue team. Anna reluctantly agrees, since caving isn
Bedrooped Bookworms
May 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Let me just preface with saying that I think this was my least favorite of the series so far. The beginning of the book was all about the difficulty of the trek through the cave, and then the mystery of who amongst them is a killer. But then they get out of the cave, everyone is still around, and most of the book is Anna all by her lonesome trying to figure out what happened and making everyone around her mad as she basically accuses them all of murder. Then suddenly the book skips a huge chunk ...more
Pamela Mclaren
I can't even imagine what it would be like to be a fairly good mountain climber but to be asked to use those skills to not go up but go down into dangerous uncharted caves, but that is the scenario that faces Anna Pigeon in this story.

Pigeon agrees because an injured caver in the caverns is someone she knows and its important that the injured person have someone with her she recognizes and trusts. It pushes a lot of emotional buttons for the park ranger but she manages to do things right and mak
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Play Book Tag: Blind Descent / Nevada Barr - 3*** 5 13 Dec 17, 2018 08:08AM  

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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

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)
  • Liberty Falling (Anna Pigeon, #7)
  • Deep South (Anna Pigeon, #8)
  • Blood Lure (Anna Pigeon, #9)
  • Hunting Season (Anna Pigeon, #10)
  • Flashback (Anna Pigeon, #11)

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