Thursday, November 03, 2022

Fiction Review: High Country

I have been a fan of Nevada Barr's novels for decades. My husband and I both enjoy her thrillers (19 now!) set in national parks, starring Park Ranger Anna Pigeon. We've read Anna Pigeon novels set in Isle Royale, Mesa Verde, Lassen Volcanic, and Carlsbad Caverns (see my review of Blind Descent). It's especially fun to read a Barr novel set in a park we've visited, as is the case in High Country, set in Yosemite National Park.

Our visit to Yosemite was in the summer with blue skies and sunshine, but this novel is set in December, a time when far fewer visitors come to the isolated valley. That setting--cold, foggy, remote, and constantly overcast--provides plenty of atmosphere for this dark story. Anna has been asked to come work at the park undercover, to help get some information about four young people, all seasonal park employees, who recently disappeared without a trace. Trish was one of them, and she worked as a waitress at the historic Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Valley, so Anna arrives just in time to take over Trish's shifts. She also takes Trish's room in the nearby employee dorms. Her roommates are twenty-somethings and Anna is almost fifty, but she does her best to be friendly and get to know these young women who might have information about Trish that could help to find her and the other missing employees. Almost immediately, Anna begins to sense that something sinister is going on at the park. The head ranger who brought her in is away for a week, and the deputy thinks this whole undercover thing is ridiculous, so Anna heads off on her own. She has some clues that something might be going on at a small backcountry lake, so she hikes into the high country, in snow and dangerously cold temperatures, all alone. With her decades of ranger experience, Anna is an experienced hiker and backpacker, but nothing could have prepared her for what she encounters up there.

It had been years since I last read an Anna Pigeon novel, and this book reminded me how much I love this series! Nevada Barr is an excellent writer and has crafted a gripping, action-packed plot that kept me turning the pages, but she also has a wonderful sense of humor that often had me laughing out loud. Anna gradually uncovers the mystery of what is happening behind the scenes at Yosemite, and it's a twisty, unpredictable one. She finds herself in mortal danger not once but twice in this fast-paced adventure. I stayed up way too late reading this novel (and also read some of it outdoors). Now that I've remembered how great the Anna Pigeon books are, I definitely won't wait years before I read another Nevada Barr novel--I have about fifteen of them to catch up on!

323 pages, G.P. Putnam's Sons

Recorded Books

This book fits in the following 2022 Reading Challenges:


Mount TBR Challenge

Diversity Challenge

R.I.P. Challenge


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Listen to a sample of the audiobook here, narrated by Barbara Rosenblat from the start of the novel, and/or download it from Audible.


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Or you can order High Country from Book Depository, with free shipping worldwide.


  1. I haven't heard of this author or the series, but it sounds like a good one. I'll have to check them out. It will probably make me want to visit the parks, too.

    1. This particular one might make you stay away from Yosemite!! ha ha Luckily, it's usually beautiful and peaceful :)