Firestorm (Anna Pigeon Series #4)

Firestorm (Anna Pigeon Series #4)

by Nevada Barr

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An insatiable, unstoppable beast, the wildfire called Jackknife has already devoured 17,000 acres of California's Lassen Volcanic National Park. A devastating force of nature, it has brought out the very best — and worst — in those sworn to defeat it.

Ranger Anna Pigeon is among the exhausted firefighters, serving as medic and spike camp security, when an abrupt weather shift sends Jackknife racing relentlessly in their direction. And when the monstrous blaze has passed, Anna emerges from her protective shelter to discover two men are dead: one a victim of the hungry flames, the other stabbed through the heart. Now, trapped in a nightmarish landscape of snow and ash, cut off from rescue by a rampaging winter storm, Anna must investigate an inexplicable homicide — as she and nine others struggle to survive the terrible rage if nature. . . and the murderer in their midst.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780613069601
Publisher: Bt Bound
Publication date: 02/28/2002
Series: Anna Pigeon Series , #4
Product dimensions: 4.26(w) x 7.06(h) x 1.11(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Formerly an actress and a park ranger, Nevada Barr is now an award-winning and New York Times–bestselling novelist and creator of the Anna Pigeon mysteries, and numerous other books and short stories. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and various pets.


Clinton, Mississippi

Date of Birth:

March 1, 1952

Place of Birth:

Yerington, Nevada


B.A., Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, 1974; M.A., University of California at Irvine, 1977

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

If she'd had a foot fetish Anna would have been an extremely happywoman. Cradled in her lap was a prime example of pedis giganticus belonging to one Howard Black Elk. More mole foam than fleshwas visible.

"Fighting on slopes keeps tearing 'em off," Mr. Black Elk told her between gulps of Mountain Dew. "Anybody but you does 'em they're gone by lunch. You got the touch."

Absurd as it was, Anna took great pride in the durability of her blister dressings. Caesar's army may have moved on its stomach, but firefighters moved on their feet. After ten days, of skirmishes, the army battling California's jackknife Fire was proceeding a bit gingerly. The line queued up outside the medical, unit tent was Anna's barometer, and the pressure was rising. Sho-Rap, the Shoshone and Arapaho firefighting crew out of Montana, seemed, to suffer more thanmost. Maybe because they were big men. Even with the protective fire boots they were required to wear, gravity hit them harder.

Anna eased the ruined dressings off Mr. Black Elk's foot and examined the carnage. Black Elk was an Arapaho Indian but he wasn't with the Sho-Raps. He was a member of the San Juan crew from the southwest. "You busted open the blisters," she accused.

"Got to let 'em drain."

"No you don't. They'll get infected." She looked into the man's face to see if she was getting through to him. "Are you going to quit that?"

"You betcha."

Anna didn't believe him. She cleaned the ball of his foot and his heel with hydrogen peroxide. When he winced at the sting she said, "Serves you right."

A heady sense of Normandy, Tripoli, John Wayne and Twelve O'ClockHigh reverberated through fire camps. Like everyone else, Anna reveled in, it. A soldier's life-particularly in a war where death was highly unlikely and the battle soon over — was a life enhanced with an illusion of importance untrammeled by responsibility. Orders were simple: climb, stop and dig. Hard physical labor and the ability to sleep on rough ground were all that was asked. Anna found peace in the freedom from choices.

With great care, she began reconstructing the protective barriers of foam, Second-Skin and bandages on Mr. Black Elk's foot. The rest of San Juan Plateau crew began drifting over from the chow line to swell the ranks waiting for medical attention.

The San Juans were an interagency crew with firefighters from the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the, National Park Service.Three of the firefighters were from Mesa Verde National Park, Anna's duty station. Anna had arrived independently when the call went out for more emergency medical technicians to man the medical units.

These units provided care to the firefighters in the spike camps. As the Jackknife cut a black swath through the Caribou Wilderness and Lassen Volcanic National Park in northern California, Incident Base — the maincamp housing supplies and command headquarters — needed units closer tothe fireline. Small camps, called "spikes" by firefighters though officialdom no longer used the term, were springing up like fire moss.

"You guys with blisters go ahead and take the dressings off and clean your feet with peroxide," Anna said to those waiting. "I think Stephen's got a spare bottle."'

"Go easy with the stuff," Stephen Lindstrom, the other EMT, said. "We won't have any more till tomorrow afternoon."

Lindstrom was with the Forest Service out of Reno, Nevada. When Anna and three crews had been spiked out nineteen miles from base camp, she'd begged for and gotten him. Efficient and gentle, he was one of the better EMTs she'd worked with.

"How 'bout I get you some dinner before them hogs swill it all down?"

Anna looked in the direction of the familiar Memphis plus drawl. Jennifer Short, a seasonal law enforcewent ranger from Mesa Verde, leaned against a sugar pine near the outdoor examination room Anna and Stephen had piecedtogether from a ground cloth and twelve folding chairs.

Jennifer had been on the Jackknife fire for seven days, one day less than Anna, and she was still wearing makeup. Anna couldn't help but admire her. Anybody who stuck to their beliefs under duress deserved respect The sooty fingerprints around her nose and the trails of sweat running through her dust-coated rouge only added to the effect: bloody but unbowed.

"Thanks," Anna said. "Stephen, want some supper?" Belatedly she askedJennifer, "Would you mind?"

"Why I'd just lie down and die if he said no," Jennifer said, and winked.

Dividing her time between bites and blisters, Anna managed to finish he rsupper and thirteen feet in the next hour. Kneeling at the fourteenth and last, she began unlacing a well-worn, custom-made White's fire boot. "Helps if you remove your boots for me," she said mildly.

"My feet's not what hurt."

Anna rocked back on her heels and took in the face attached to the expensive boots. "San Juan crew, crew boss, right?"

"John LeFleur." The firefighter stuck out a hand with spatulate fingers reminiscent of the toes of Amazon ram forest frogs Anna'd seen hopping through various PBS specials. She forced herself up from her knees.Cold, fatigue and hard beds were taking their toll. Getting old, shechided herself. once-hard work had made her tougher, now it only made her fired. she stuck out her hand and, tying for a pressure that was manly without being macho, took LeFleur's.

His bottom lipwas swollen and bruised, Dried blood caked where the skin had split. "Does Your face hurt?" she asked. The third-grade insult, "Because it's sure killing me," flickered nonsensically through her mind, but John LeFleur certainly wasn't hard to look at Anna had him pegged for forty-five or so — his hair was still...

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What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"A brilliantly executed mystery." -- Washington Post Book World "A almost singes you as you turn the pages." -- Detroit Free Press

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Firestorm (Anna Pigeon Series #4) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best part was the fire scenes and insights into the world of large wildfire fighting. Plot and characaters somewhat plodding & stereotyped.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In attempting to rescue a firefighter with a broken leg, Anna Pigeon and eight other crew members get trapped on the mountain due to a firestorm. As the weather dies down and Anna and her crew leave the safety of their shelters, they do so only to find a man dead, and others severely injured. They must spend two days on the mountain waiting for help, not sure of whom they can trust.

The book was written well, although it seemed as if there was more description than needed. The book seemed to drag on at parts, then speed up at others. The author did a decent job of not revealing the ending of the story until the end. All in all, the book was enjoyable to read.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Firestorm was very different from Barr's other Anna Pigeon books. It was a bit slow at times but it was a fairly good read. I especially liked the ending and the insight into Pigeon's character in this type of situation. Stephanie Clanahan
LilyLangtry More than 1 year ago
This fourth in Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon series is even more "breathtaking" and suspenseful than the previous "Pigeon" novels. Though each compels you to quickly continue to the next, wondering how it could be as compelling as the one you just finished.
IllanoyGal on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An exciting read involving National Parks ranger Anna Pigeon. Good series. I always look forward to the next story.
Neverwithoutabook on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be an ok read. The ending was a bit unexpected, and having never read any of the previous books in this series, I didn't have the background that was referred to occasionally. I would read others in this series, but it wasn't complicated enough that they would be my first choice. Otherwise, it was a decent enough story if you need something to pass the time.
mojacobs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love the Anna Pigeon series, and this book is one of the best. Full of suspense, and not too much heroics for Anna, keeping the book believable.
ffortsa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Anna and a bad fire season in California
tysmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Although not as well-written as the three previous books, "Firestorm" is still a favorite of mine.Park Ranger, Anna Pigeon and her colleagues find themselves in a forest fire blazing out of control in California's Lassen Volcanic National Park. Anna, and several others are trapped in the burned-out forest with no food, no medical facilities for the badly burned, and the knowledge that whoever committed a murder is among them.Those who have read the three previous books will be glad to see the return of FBI agent Frederick Stanton, and the possibility of romance. A great read for a rainy day!
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