Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Boar Island by Nevada Barr

Obsession. Nevada Barr combines unlikely obsessions in a novel that finds Anna Pigeon in Acadia National Park. She's surrounded by friends, but she still manages to find herself in the middle of trouble in Barr's latest book, Boar Island.

When Anna's goddaughter, Elizabeth, tries to kill herself, Elizabeth's mother, Heath, rallies the troops. Dr. Gwendolyn Littleton and Anna both show up, only to find Elizabeth is the victim of an unknown cyberbully. They suspect the neighbors are involved, but they can't do anything as terrible photos go viral. When Anna says she's been assigned a twenty-one-day detail as acting chief ranger in Acadia National Park in Maine, her group of friends decide they'll visit friends there. But, Boar Island, where they're staying isn't quite what they expect. And, someone knows where they're going.

And, someone with an obsession is already there. Denise Castle, who once lived with the park's assistant superintendent, is not happy watching her ex-lover with his new wife and baby. When she finds a woman who looks like her, drinking in a bar, she makes a connection. "The woman's outside was a public image of her own inside: battered, abused, ashamed, and drinking alone." Both women, who share a past, have revenge on their mind.

Barr is capable of mixing all these plots together in a couple storylines involving obsession, but, to be honest, it was easy to guess where the plot was going. And, one of the storylines seemed old and stale. I'm not going to discuss it further because I don't want to spoil the book for others who want to read Boar Island. I felt the story lacked imagination. And, the final scene in which Anna was endangered seemed a little outrageous.

Saying that, the early discussion of cyberstalking showed how cruel it can be, and how impossible it is to handle. It was terrible to watch the reactions of a sixteen-year-old to such cruelty.

I may not have been excited about Boar Island. But, that's just my reaction, and I'm sure there are others who will appreciate Nevada Barr's latest book.

Nevada Barr's website is

Boar Island by Nevada Barr. Minotaur Books. 2016. ISBN 9781250064691 (hardcover), 374p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I don't like the character and don't read her books. One was it for me.

Lesa said...

Jeff, It's been quite a while since I read one, and it looks like I may not read another one either.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

I have enjoyed this series in the past, but I recently gave up fifty pages into this one. It just seemed boring and cliched. It felt to me like the author saw all the news stories about kids and cyber stalking, skimmed the coverage, and then cranked out the book with that as the hook.

It just did NOT work for this reader. I will try the next one and give Nevada Barr another chance. But, she may be heading for the island of abandoned authors where I no longer read their books despite having been a huge fan in the beginning.

Lesa said...

I like that "island of abandoned authors". Sad, isn't it, Kevin?

Kevin R. Tipple said...

It is. But, despite an increasing population they have food, water, and shelter. Once CBS finds them for a spinoff version of SURVIVOR they will get their fame back.

Lesa said...

I might actually watch an authors version of SURVIVOR.