Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon

Nevada Barr’s primary protagonist, Anna Pigeon makes a great character. She is a gun-toting National Park Ranger. Pigeon may be short in stature, but big on guts and independence. Her travels have taken her all over the United States. She has been out west, north to Isle Royale, and south to the Natchez Trail. She has explored caverns, fought alligators and braved the Lake Superior winters.

Burn is Barr’s current book, and places Anna Pigeon in harm’s way in New Orleans. The town is slowly recovering from Katrina, but Pigeon finds herself the recipient of a possible curse. Read the book to find out. Anna is in New Orleans to recover from harrowing escapades in Texas and Isle Royale. She is looking for a little relaxation in the Big Easy, but instead she finds a stinky situation underneath the town’s recently applied veneer. Burn will be coming out in paperback May 24th.

Barr currently lives in New Orleans with her husband and assorted cats and dogs. Her resume includes a stint in the National Park Service serving at the places she now writes about. She also has some formal training as an actress, and worked in the business for eight years. Nevada Barr was born and raised in, drum roll, Nevada. Hmmm, imagine. In addition to her writing, Barr also paints. Her artwork is online at Paper Tiger Productions, Art by Paxton, the alter ego of Nevada Barr.

Aspiring Author Tip: An article by Susan Larson in the Times-Picayune, March 26, 2009, quotes Barr, “Every story has already been told. The only thing you can bring to it is whatever is idiosyncratically yours.”

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Alex Kava - Damaged

Alex Kava writes psychological suspense novels.  She published her first book A Perfect Evil in 2000. FBI profiler, Maggie O’Dell hunts down a child serial killer in Platte City, Nebraska. Nick Morrelli, local lawman on the scene assists Maggie in many ways despite local family complications.

Ten years and eight O’Dell novels later, Maggie’s a seasoned veteran. She’s been exposed to biological hazards and majorly twisted serial killers. In the beginning of Damaged, we find Maggie washing off cerebellum spatter from her latest case. No sooner does she get out of the shower, and the FBI sends her to Pensacola, Florida to investigate miscellaneous body parts packaged like deli meat and packed in an ice cooler floating in the ocean.

For good measure Kava adds Homeland Security, FEMA, Coast Guard and military to the government soup to keep the plot interesting. However in a rare literary occurrence the various departments actually play well together. Wounded veterans from Afghanistan in the military hospital suffer from an unknown disease that is proving fatal, and a category 5 hurricane bears down on Pensacola. O’Dell must determine if a serial killer stalks the beach, and if so solve the case before the evidence washes away.

Kava’s next book, Hotwire, is scheduled for release in July 2011. Maggie O’Dell gets called back to Nebraska to investigate the mysterious death of a group of high school students. Meanwhile on the East Coast a deadly mysterious disease infects an elementary school. Could the two incidents be related? Probably.