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Hard Truth
Hard Truth
Hard Truth
Audiobook6 hours

Hard Truth

Written by Nevada Barr

Narrated by Joyce Bean

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

3/5

()

About this audiobook

Just three days after her wedding to Sheriff Paul Davidson, Anna Pigeon moves from Mississippi to Colorado to assume her new post as district ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park, where three girls have disappeared during a religious retreat. Two of the children reappear a month later, clad only in filthy underwear and claiming to remember nothing of the intervening weeks. The girls are frightened and traumatized, but they forge a bond with the pair of campers who discover them - a wheelchair-bound paraplegic and her elderly aunt.

With the reappearance of the children comes an odd and unsettling presence in the park, a sense of disembodied evil and unspeakable terrors: small animals are mercilessly slaughtered, and a sinister force seems to still control the girls. As Anna investigates, she finds herself caught up in the machinations of a paranoid religious sect bent on protecting their secrets and keeping the girls sequestered from law enforcement and psychiatric help.

Following the trail of the many suspects, especially that of the cult's intense youth-group leader, Anna comes to find the force against which the children's minds have been broken. This evil has the eyes of a visionary and the soul of the devil. Anna will discover the truth - even if it kills her.
LanguageEnglish
Release dateDec 25, 2006
ISBN9781423300878
Hard Truth
Author

Nevada Barr

Navada Barr is the award-winning author of seven Anna Pigeon mysteries: Track of the Cat, A Superior Death, Ill Wind, Firestorm, Endangered Species, Blind Descent, and Liberty Falling. She lives in Mississippi and was most recently a ranger on the Natchez Trace Parkway

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Reviews for Hard Truth

Rating: 3.05078125 out of 5 stars
3/5

256 ratings16 reviews

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  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Just 3 days after her wedding to Sheriff Paul Davidson, Anna Pigeon moves from Miss. to CO to assume her new post as district ranger at a national park; 3 girls have disappeared and show up again at a campsite.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Anna Pigeon is a fascinating character--a 50 something Park Ranger, who's in great shape, has spent her life outdoors, but is still concerned enough to take care of her skin! A role model for us elder ladies!In this adventure, she's recently married but has left her new husband back in New Orleans when the call came to take this post in Rocky Mountain National Park. It appears to be a good career step and they agree to take one year to decide whose career will be the one driving where the couple will ultimately live. I sense plenty of room for future tension in that aspect.When Anna arrives at her new post, she is briefed on an ongoing case of three missing girls from some sort of church campout. When two of those girls emerge from the woods dehydrated, filthy, almost naked, and suffering from 'amnesia' about what happened to them and where they've been for the past two weeks, Anna is skeptical. Church and family elders do not want to pursue the adventure, and if it weren't for the fact that one of the girls is still missing, would not allow any questioning at all.Add to this mix the fact that the two girls were discovered by a young paraplegic in a wheelchair who is camping in the park with her 80 year old auntie who happens to be a physician, and you have a delicious mix of motivations and characters. This one has a great plot, lots of suspects - not too many too track of though--a gorgeous setting which Barr describes well, and some well developed characters.Although I have not read the previous 12 in the series, I had no trouble following with the limited backfill. While I am curious about some of the previous adventures (who the husband is and how they met for instance), the lack of knowledge did not detract from my enjoyment of this story. The plot makes a very steady climb to an especially chilling and thrilling climax. I don't usually like "scary in the dark woods" kinds of stories, but I found this one quite believable and was sufficiently grabbed that I had to stay up long past my bedtime to finish it. It is a true cliff hangar. (Read the story and you'll see that is no pun.)
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    It's been a long time since I read this book but I have read the entire series, up until the most current book and I really like it. I love how the series is set outdoors in the different parks. If you like C.J. Box, then you'll like Barr too.
  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
    2/5
    Hard Truth by Nevada Barr is the thirteenth in the Anna Pigeon series. Newly married Anna Pigeon has left her home in Mississippi to be the district ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park. Shortly after she arrives, a pair of missing girls appear, nearly naked, bloody, and claiming amnesia. They are rescued by an ex-mountain climber who is now a paraplegic.Hard Truth offers a break from the typical storytelling of the Anna Pigeon books. This time the point of view is shared, switching between Anna, the usual protagonist, and Heath, the woman who initially found the girls.Anna quickly suspects sexual and physical abuse and the girl's home life in a hyper-conservative quasi-Mormon compound further fuels her suspicions. Meanwhile, Heath is being tormented by unseen demons (some of her own making and some relating to her rescuing of the girls).I've decided I'm done reading this series. The problem isn't the violence. Instead it's the sameness of the plot, even when the narration is changed. Anna basically hates people and continues to insist on working in a job that requires lots of interaction with people because she likes nature and has this crazy idea that she might be able to get away from things out in the wilderness.The problem is that whenever there's a couple presented in the book (other than Anna and her now husband or her dearly departed first husband), the man is most certainly a monster and the woman is complicit in his crimes, or in more recent books, as much a monster as he is. Seriously, to solve any of these Anna Pigeon mysteries, just look for the couple. They did it. But before you can get to the end, you'll have to suffer through Anna being an ass, Anna getting her ass kicked, Anna some how surviving again and finally confronting and probably killing (or somehow causing the death of) the male criminal.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Too graphic, though the story is classic Ms. Barr. Set in the Rocky Mountain National Park, which was cool for me because I live in Denver and have been there.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Once again Anna Pigeon is faced with a national park mystery. Set in Rocky Mountain National Park, it was interesting reading this book while camped at the park's entrance. Our favorite park ranger must deal with a wide range of issues including kidnapping, murder, abuse, religious extremists, and disabilities.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Another excellent story in the Anna Pigeon series although with a little bit from other people's perspectives which I didn't particularly care for. I had a few questions like how the media described the girls' disappearance in the first place. All that was talked about was how they were found in the beginning of the book. Also, at one point Anna talked to Heath about something privately and it was never clear what they talked about. An another big problem that bothered me from the beginning was that the man who was with the kids when they disappeared was never brought in for questioning.

    But despite those, it was a good read as I always expect from Barr and I eagerly await reading the next one.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    A ranger, newly in charge of the Colorado park, is confronted with kidnapped children, tortured animals and a very strict religious sect. Her life is in danger as she seeks to unravel all the threads to this mystery.I have not been thrilled with this story, and in fact quit listening when I was two discs away from the finish. I knew the identity of the killer in disc one and had very few surprises. The only reason I continued so long was because I liked the voice of Anna and the other woman, Heath. I might have finished this if I had been reading it in book form and could skim, but the vivid descriptions of torture, abuse, filthy language and a psychopathic mind were impossible for me to listen to. I listened at least two discs further than I should have as it is. The narrator did a fine job of reading.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Full props to Nevada Barr. The first Anna Pigeon novel, Track of the Cat, was a wonderfully descriptive story in a state park with some great characters and a good mystery. I assumed that she'd take that nice formula and spin it out into a good series of books, and that theory was borne out by the second story I read.Then I got this book. Same Anna, same national parks, but this isn't a nice little mystery. It's a hideous psychological thriller featuring some of the most twisted villains I've ever had the pleasure to read about. Reminds me a bit of Elizabeth George or Ted Decker, and it's kind of nauseating just wondering what kind of mind could even come up with characters like these.The other books in the series I've read I'd be happy to recommend to an Agatha Christie fan. The psychological darkness in this one makes it less appropriate for those genteel folks, but the writing continues to be terrific, and Barr manages to pull her characters and settings right out of their comfort mystery zone and into this blacker one. Quite a feat.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    I first became acquainted with Nevada Barr and her National Parks Ranger sleuth Anna Pigeon in 2001. Ms Barr's book Blood Lure was set in Glacier National Park (the one that shares a border with Canada's Waterton Lakes National Park) which was a place I had visited. I really enjoyed it and so I set my sights on reading all the ones that came before and then catching up to date. With this book I have read all the books that were published up to 2010 and now I have to find the last three.This book is set in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado which is a beautiful park that I have visited several times. It's a good thing that this book is fiction because if the horrible things that Anna Pigeon encounters were real probably no-one would want to visit. Anna has just taken a new job as a district ranger in the park and she is still getting up to speed on what she needs to know. She gets a call that takes her out to a campground set aside for disabled campers. There she finds Heath, a woman confined to a wheelchair after falling in a mountain climbing accident, and her aunt Gwen as well as two emaciated and filthy young girls. Heath tells how the girls emerged from the woods dressed in only underwear with no shoes just after her wheelchair had tipped over on a path near her camp site. They have not talked very much but Anna and the other park staff know that they are two of three girls that disappeared some weeks earlier while on a camping trip with their church group. There are many questions to be answered including where were they kept and who by and where is the missing girl. Those questions take a long time to answer partly because the girls claim they don't remember but mostly because the girls are part of a Mormon religious community that refuses to have them seen by any trauma specialists. The only hope for recovering information lies with Heath's close relationship with one of the girls, Beth; Beth clung so closely to Heath that Heath calls her the limpet. Meanwhile Anna is trying to learn the trails and campgrounds in her district and she also hopes she might find the missing girl. Travelling by herself as she does it is little wonder that she gets into some dangerous situations. And it appears that there is a psychopath loose in the park and Anna has to try to stop him/her.Gripping story which I recommend to anyone wanting to read something a little different from your usual mystery.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    Not the worst Anna Pigeon, but certainly not the best. Anna sleuthing and sleuthing and sleuthing around in the dark for no really good reason other than to be sleuthing, but Nevada Barr sums it up best:"Worse: a fool, a mark, a victim."Fool and mark are correct, but she's a victim of her own idiocy in this book."...through her blind dim-wittedness she'd gotten them into this mess.""Mess" is a bit of an understatement; kind of like saying detonating an atomic bomb leaves a bit of a mess, a tiny bit of destruction.The Pigeon doesn't have to be a superhero, but a complete and total nitwit is seriously unbecoming. Crimes shouldn't be solved by dumb luck alone; there should be at least a modicum of intelligence behind the crime fighting.Not to give too much away, but everyone is a suspect except, you know, the actual suspect.There was a lot going on in this book, and ultimately it was way too much. Interesting having a paraplegic character, and how she interacted with her newfound life in a wheelchair as well as the immediate hurdles. About a third of the way through, I thought that the book took a turn for the better with the introduction of the "cherry cordial," but my newfound appreciation and hope for better only lasted a few pages.Let's just say that when an author decides that the main character is going to bust into a gathering of mob bosses or the main hideout of a drug cartel without any backup or telling anyone where they are going or without any weapons whatsoever (and for some unknown reason many, many writers do), because the good guy or gal is so damn good, what could possible go wrong... well, except for every last thing. In those cases (again way, way, way too many), my interest in said story becomes challenged; I lose interest, and ultimately I cannot vouch for the book in the end. Hard Truth is that story. It's an okay read if you are an Anna Pigeon fan, but by the end I had to admit that it was really lame.
  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
    2/5
    This is the first book by this author for me. I found it to be hard to enjoy reading. It is so full of evil and sadistic content. Harm to children, harm to animals. It is a story set in the Rocky Mountain National Park. It features a cult that is a spin off of the Mormons and a disabled ex climber. I read this for the random challenge, December 2021. I doubt that I will read anymore books by Nevada Barr. I did not like her writing style and felt that she was "trying" to hard and I did not like some of her research. Such as saying an OB GYN doctor had taken care of many children. OB GYN take care of women and their problems and do not care for the children that they delivered. That was not the only thing I found jarring.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Anna married Paul in Mississippi, but three days after the wedding, she moves to Colorado to assume a position as chief ranger in Rocky Mountain National Park. It was an opportunity she could not pass up, but Paul had just won an local election and wasn't ready to give that up either. The two decided to evaluate the situation in a year. When a paraplegic woman is rescued by two girls who went missing in the park, Anna discovers the girls belong to local cult founded by a former LDS member. Unfortunately the girls' parents refuse to allow their children to be examined for rape or get psychiatric help. Three girls had gone missing, but only two came out. Where was the other girl? When one girl accidentally reveals she stayed with Robert, the cult's youth leader, Anna begins looking for the missing girl. A trip to the outhouse at a back-country ranger station reveals a disturbing mice crucifixion. The ranger states Robert must have done it, but Anna keeps options open as she continues the search for the girl and the now missing Robert whom she needs to question. Meanwhile another seasonal ranger rescued wolf pups from another park and is hiding them in a location Anna discovers in the search. The paraplegic woman remains involved with the two girls who rescued her and takes an interest in finding their abductor. When Anna does meet the missing girl, it's clear she's been brainwashed. The ending provides plenty of suspense. I enjoyed this novel, but some religious depictions may be stereotypical and/or misleading to persons not familiar with the mainstream LDS group.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    I wasn’t prepared for the brutality of the final pages and ultimately skimmed them. After reading pretty much this whole series, it surprised me. Also, the absence of Paul surprised me. I guess Barr just isn’t ready for Anna to be married just yet.Plotwise, it fell into typical pattern. Anna is working in yet another National Park. She's the new kid on the block again, but this time has some rank. 2 out of 3 missing children turn up battered and dazed from their ordeal, they aren't much help in locating the 3rd girl. Obvious and less obvious suspects are presented, and one is depicted in such a way that I knew he couldn’t be guilty. Immediately I started looking at the less obvious and pretty much found the guilty party, I just didn’t know how sick and twisted a character that person would turn out to be. There were also some things that didn’t make sense to me, that maybe are explained in the pages I couldn’t deal with. Like whose finger was it anyway and how did Anna connect her criminal with the cases she brings up at the end; murders out of state? But I’m not going to go and find the answer, I’m good.I should have known this book would ratchet up my emotions to a high degree. It featured a cultish clan of “Christians” that was remarkably close to the fringe groups of Mormons; virtually enslaving women and creating a brothel of underage girls for the picking of dirty old pedophiles masquerading as righteous men. Sickening in its own right, but the lengths with which the killer goes to create different kind of twisted little clan is equally chilling. Barr really went all out with this one.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    This one had some very disturbing scenes. Somewhat difficult for me to read, but it ended well.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Anna Pigeon moves from Mississippi to Colorado and finds missing girls in the National Park. A religious cult seems to be the answer. A newly handicapped woman finds she is still needed as two of the girls are found and the search continues.