Hard Truth by Nevada Barr

Hard TruthBook Review:  Hard Truth by Nevada Barr

Just days after marrying Sheriff Paul Davidson, Anna Pigeon moves to Colorado to assume her new post as district ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park. When two of three children who’d gone missing from a religious retreat reappear, Anna’s investigation brings her face-to-face with a paranoid sect–and with a villain so evil, he’ll make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Book description from Amazon.

Horrible, gut-wrenching stuff happens to kids in this story and that made this a tough read for me.  Still an incredible book though!  Anna is one of those characters who just resonates with me.  I can relate to her love of nature, her love of animals,  and her love for the parks system.  I can also relate to her feelings about God, especially in this book.  And then there’s the fact that although she’s non-religious, she fell in love with and married a religious man — I can relate to that as well.

This chapter in the Anna Pigeon series gives us another strong character to connect with — Heath Jarrod.  A mountaineer recently confined to a wheelchair, Heath is angry with her new circumstances.  She feels helpless, isolated, and lost.  When she finds two terrified, malnourished, and barely-clothed little girls near her camp, her life changes again.  She wants nothing more than to protect them and she will not allow her physical limitations to prevent her from doing so.  Love Heath!

But back to the horrible, gut-wrenching stuff — the story revolves around it.  There’s a religious cult on the outskirts of the park — they believe in little but prayer and their leader.  Even those who have lost faith in the leader are more terrified of the government than they are of him.  And somewhere nearby, within or without the cult, is the person responsible for the two girls Heath found — and the girl still missing.  The girls are so traumatized by the experience, or terrified that they still are not safe, that they will not identify who held them.  They have good reason for their fears.  The person who held them is a psychopath who takes pleasure in degrading and dehumanizing others and bending them to his will.  His ability to appear normal allows him to escape suspicion.  The clues are there but with a more obvious suspect in the area, and other odd events happening, Anna does not make the connection until she unwittingly places herself in a precarious position.  Nearly 1/3 of the book focuses on each harrowing detail of her attempt to escape him.

Hard Truth has a dark, disturbing storyline and it’s not for everyone.  There are optimistic moments (and wolf pups), but it’s still a difficult read.  Make sure you allow time to immerse yourself in something pure and light afterwards — something that will renew your faith in the world.  You’ll need it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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