We are proud to announce that BookBrowse has won Platinum in the 2024 Modern Library Awards.

Reviews of Flashback by Nevada Barr

Flashback

by Nevada Barr

Flashback by Nevada Barr X
Flashback by Nevada Barr
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2003, 400 pages

    Paperback:
    Feb 2004, 416 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

When it comes to a vibrant sense of place Barr has few equals, as demonstrated in her 11th Anna Pigeon novel, set in little-known Dry Tortugas National Park, a small group of islands 70 miles off Key West.

Running from a proposal of marriage from Sheriff Paul Davidson, Anna Pigeon takes a post as a temporary supervisory ranger on remote Garden Key in Dry Tortugas National Park, a small grouping of tiny islands in a natural harbor seventy miles off Key West. This island paradise has secrets it would keep; not just in the present, but in shadows from its gritty past, when it served as a prison for the Lincoln conspirators during and after the Civil War.

Here, on this last lick of the United States, in a giant crumbling fortress, Anna has little company except for the occasional sunburned tourist or unruly shrimper. When her sister, Molly, sends her a packet of letters from a great-great-aunt who lived at the fort with her husband, a career soldier, Anna's fantasy life is filled with visions of this long-ago time.

When a mysterious boat explodes-- the discovery of unidentifiable body parts--keeps her anchored to the present, Anna finds crimes of past and present closing in on her. A tangled web that was woven before she arrived begins to threaten her sanity and her life. Cut off from the mainland by miles of water, poor phone service, and sketchy radio contact, and aided by one law-enforcement ranger, Anna must find answers or weather a storm to rival the hurricanes for which the islands are famous.


In Her Own Words, by Nevada Barr

I met Anna Pigeon in Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas the summer of 1990. It was my second season with the park service and I was working as a law enforcement ranger there. Before that I had written four novels, two not too bad, one even got published. With Anna I experience what minor miracle writers' talk about: I found my voice. With the creation of the Anna Pigeon character, I began writing close to the bone, mixing a great deal of myself into my people, places and things. Writing became a joy, a blessing, it all made sense.

In 1995 I retired from the park service to devote myself to writing full time – well, not full time; there's a great deal of goofing off required of retired government workers. Since then I have written about parks from California to Florida and had a grand time doing it. Anna (and I) have aged and changed along the way. In the beginning we were very alike but the evolution of the soul of a character and that of a person cannot be controlled with any great precision. Now Anna is her own woman but still, when I write her, I have that hard-wired connection that keeps her alive for me, and, one hopes, for those who read my books. In each book I have tried to find a new challenge for the both of us: a situation unexplored, an emotional world I've not yet touched, a writing style I've always admired.

In Flashback, the eleventh in the series, I took a great leap of faith and tried my hand at a historical mystery. I am a great affectionado of the Old Dead English authors, reading and rereading Charles Dickens, Jane Austin, Trollope, Collins, Wodehouse. Historicals, Anne Perry, Elizabeth Peters, Steven Saylor, Charles Todd, Laurie King and a handful of others I await each year with great anticipation. In Flashback, I took Anna to Dry Tortugas, a strange and wonderful park seventy miles off of Key West. Dry Tortugas has the magic, not only of a rich and diverse sea life, but of a dramatic history. On Garden Key, a tiny scrap of land less than ten acres in its entirety is a Civil War fort. It was kept by the Union during the war and served as the military prison where the Lincoln conspirators were incarcerated after the assassination. How could I resist?

As there are over three-hundred-fifty national parks and monuments in the system, I have job security. As there are at least twice that many facets to every woman's personality, how could I possibly get bored? I hope this latest in the Anna Pigeon series finds favor with my readers, that they enjoy reading the historical theme as much as I did writing it.

Chapter 1

Until she ran out of oxygen, Anna was willing to believe she was taking part in a PBS special. The water was so clear sunlight shone through as if the sea were but mountain air. Cloud shadows, stealthy and faintly magical at four fathoms, moved lazily across patches of sand that showed startlingly white against the dark, ragged coral. Fishes colored so brightly it seemed it must be a trick of the eye or the tail end of an altered state flitted, nibbled, explored and slept. Without moving, Anna could see a school of silver fish, tiny anchovies, synchronized, moving like polished chain mail in a glittering curtain. Four Blue Tangs, so blue her eyes ached with the joy of them, nosed along the edge of a screamingly purple sea fan bigger than a coffee table. A jewfish, six feet long and easily three hundred pounds, his blotchy hide mimicking the sun-dappled rock, pouting lower lip thick as Anna's wrist, lay without moving beneath an overhang of a coral-covered rock less ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

Booklist - Mary Frances Wilkens
The curmudgeonly, charming forest ranger Anna Pigeon returns in another engaging tale of life in a national park....Whether on land or sea, few writers spin a more exhilarating web than Barr.

Kirkus Reviews
Fans looking for Barr's trademark pleasures-evocative natural descriptions, mounting suspense, Anna's never-say-die spirit-will have to look hard to find them buried under all those mysteries, villains, and centuries in this most grandly scaled of her 11 adventures.

Library Journal
When Anna Pigeon flees a marriage proposal for ranger service on Garden Key in Dry Tortugas National Park, she finds that the past (the island was once a prison) and the present (an exploding boat scatters unidentified body parts) are eerily conjoined.

Publishers Weekly
When it comes to a vibrant sense of place, Barr has few equals, as deliciously demonstrated in her 11th Anna Pigeon novel, set in little-known Dry Tortugas National Park.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Read-Alikes

Read-Alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Flashback, try these:

  • The Dangerous Edge of Things jacket

    The Dangerous Edge of Things

    by Tina Whittle

    Published 2011

    About this book

    Tai Randolph thinks inheriting a Confederate-themed gun shop is her biggest headache - until she finds a murdered corpse in her brother's driveway.

  • The Sinister Pig jacket

    The Sinister Pig

    by Tony Hillerman

    Published 2004

    About this book

    More by this author

    With his usual up-front approach to issues concerning Native Americans, Hillerman leads his readers through another of his intricate plots and delivers a masterful tale that both entertains and educates.

We have 5 read-alikes for Flashback, but non-members are limited to two results. To see the complete list of this book's read-alikes, you need to be a member.
More books by Nevada Barr
Search read-alikes
How we choose read-alikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Wild and Distant Seas
    Wild and Distant Seas
    by Tara Karr Roberts
    Tara Karr Roberts is a newspaper columnist who also teaches English and journalism. Wild and Distant...
  • Book Jacket: The Djinn Waits a Hundred Years
    The Djinn Waits a Hundred Years
    by Shubnum Khan
    Shubnum Khan's eloquent and moving debut novel opens in 1932, when a djinn that haunts a house by ...
  • Book Jacket: Transient and Strange
    Transient and Strange
    by Nell Greenfieldboyce
    Throughout her powerful essay collection, Transient and Strange, science reporter Nell ...
  • Book Jacket: Prophet Song
    Prophet Song
    by Paul Lynch
    Paul Lynch's 2023 Booker Prize–winning Prophet Song is a speedboat of a novel that hurtles...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Mockingbird Summer
by Lynda Rutledge
A powerful and emotional coming-of-age novel set in the 1960s by the bestselling author of West with Giraffes.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Leaving
    by Roxana Robinson

    An engrossing exploration of the vows we make to one another and what we owe to others and ourselves.

  • Book Jacket

    The Adversary
    by Michael Crummey

    An enthralling novel about a small town struggling to survive, and a bitter vendetta between two rivals.

Win This Book
Win The Cleaner

The Cleaner
by Brandi Wells

Rarely has cubicle culture been depicted in such griminess or with such glee."
PW (starred review)

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I Wouldn't T H W A T-F P

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.