Saturday, July 24, 2010

Review: 13 1/2 by Nevada Barr

When I noticed a Nevada Barr at the library earlier in the week, I automatically picked it up since I hadn't read it. I just looked at the title and I always expect it to be an Anna Pigeon book. Well, 13 1/2 is no Anna Pigeon. This is totally different and it blew me away.

If I had known this was a psychological thriller, I might not have read it and that would have been a shame because this is quite a book. I'm always a little put off by psycho killers - now there's a statement for you - and this killer is very spooky. The story begins with the killing of a family, all except two brothers. One nearly loses his leg, actually almost loses his life, and the other is tried and found guilty of the murders.

Meanwhile another story line has a girl trying to grow up in a trailer park down south with a drunk for a mother and a series of step-fathers, then boyfriends who aren't any better. She frequently has to sit outside and wait until the fights are over and both adults are passed out before she can go in. Since she's a lot smarter than her mom, she steals the car and heads for New Orleans.

You know of course that these two story lines will merge at some point, and when they do there will be fireworks. The way the story comes together is a wild ride and I was fooled for a long while. Then I figured things out and was scared out of my gourd. I've known Nevada Barr as a wonderful novelist whose plots are a lot of fun to figure out, but this story raises her even higher in my estimation.

I recommend this book if you aren't put off by some gory scenes and a psycho killer on the loose.

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