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By Nevada Barr

G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2001
$24.95 hardcover
ISBN 0-399-14702-0

Reviewed by S. E. Warwick

Nevada Barr manages to make one yearn to be in the wild country, yet fear to tread there so as not to further despoil the magnificence of nature.

In BLOOD LURE, Barr's sleuth, Anna Pigeon, who fled the canyons of Manhattan seeking to assuage her grief over the loss of her young husband by losing herself in wild America, is on temporary assignment in Waterton/Glacier National Peace Park. The Park which sits astride the US/Canadian border, is the site of a grizzly bear study that involves using very low tech methods of gathering bear DNA to get a clear profile of the size and movements of the grizzly population in the park.

Anna has grown as a person since TRACK OF THE CAT ( the first in the series and well worth tracking down) but seems to realize just how much when a return to her beloved mountains doesn't offer her the lift she expected. In the process of tracking bears, Anna's team is attacked by a grizzly, but no one is hurt. Nearby, a woman is murdered. The cause of death should be grizzly attack, but the corpse shows signs of ritual disfigurement.

As she works with the Chief Ranger to unravel as dense a thicket of clues as she's ever deciphered, Anna finds a solution that is so strange it could only be the truth.

As usual, Barr provides a wonderful story, exquisite detail, superb plotting and a conclusion that provokes the reader to mutter "of course" as the final puzzle pieces fall into place. Even if mysteries are not your cup of tea, Barr's writing is well worth reading. A joy at many levels.

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