Anna Pigeon 09 Blood Lure by Nevada Barr

Nonfiction 4

By Nevada Barr

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Twenty-five hundred feet was the ascent Anna'd used to climb twice a week from the ranger station in Guadalupe Mountains National Park to the high country. She'd been younger, stronger and taller herself in those days and still it was a bitch of a climb. A member of the bear team assigned to handle bears that clashed with visitors gave them a lift partway up the famous Going to the Sun Road that cut through some of the most scenic country in the park, a road made in the 1920s and '30s, when labor was cheap and so was wilderness.

She fell into a second and equally dangerous subspecies of idiot: those who felt a spiritual connection with the wild beasts, be they winged, furred or toothed. A sense that they would recognize in her a kindred spirit and do her no harm nullified a necessary and healthful terror of being torn apart and devoured. This delusion didn't extend to the lions of Africa. One couldn't expect them not to eat an overseas tourist; everybody enjoys an exotic dish now and again. But American lions, American bears .

Henry Higgins aside, few people could place others by their dialect, except within the broadest of areas. Americans made it more difficult by swimming around the melting pot: kindergarten in Milwaukee, third grade in San Diego, high school in Saint Louis. The south was as close as Anna could place him, anywhere from Virginia to Texas. Out of long habit she committed his physical description to memory. He was a big kid, though not tall, around five-foot-eight, chunky without being fat. The kind of body that's a good deal stronger than one would think.

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