Winter Study by Nevada Barr
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This rating is actually 2-1/2 stars. I was very disappointed in this book. I found it to be more thriller than a good mystery and there was too much violence and disgusting sexual content. I hesitate to say that because there will be those who say that anyone who objects to such content is prudish, but this seems to be a substitute for a well drawn mystery that proceeds from character traits of the perpetrator.
Anna Pigeon has come to Isle Royale in Lake Superior to learn about managing and understanding wolves because her Rocky Mountain National Park may soon have a pack of wolves introduced. She is joining a research team which is part of a 50 year old study of wolves and their behavior. The park has always been closed during the winter for the study, but Homeland Security is considering opening the park to supposedly close a weak border where terrorists may enter the country. They have sent a consultant to report on that possibility.
Shortly after Anna’s arrival, the team discovers evidence that a huge wolf has been seen and there is DNA evidence that it is a cross between dog and wolf, which they call a “Wog.” This animal has been mysteriously introduced and has a behavior pattern foreign to the 3 packs that are already on the island. When a researcher is killed, Anna is no longer studying the wolf packs and becomes a detective and it is at this point that the book degenerates into a sex and violence thriller with improbable behavior and bad language. I am very tired of books that substitute shock value for good writing.
The characters in this book are not well drawn and their roles as victim and killer are pretty evident from the beginning. The conclusion, I believe, is also very weak and does not proceed from the personality of the characters. There are so many places where this book seems to have great potential, but it just doesn’t make it. I hope this is not a trend for the future, because I really enjoy Nevada Barr’s books and would like to enjoy many more.
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