Back in olden times, before my spouse gave me a kindle, most of my reading involved books she had read and judged worthy to pass along. At one time or another, virtually all of the Nevada Barr novels involving Ranger Anna Pigeon were passed along to me, including this one. For some reason, my spouse got it into her head that I should re-read this particular book. Something about extreme cold, I think. Being a dutiful spouse, I acceded to her request.
In this book, Anna Pigeon is posted to Isle Royal, a national park in the extreme north of Lake Superior, during the winter when the park is shut down to outside visitors. The park service and some academic scientists have been studying the wolf and moose populations on the island for some fifty or so years. The place is so isolated that no new animals can be introduced to the populations already extant. But for some reason, Homeland Security would like to shut down the wolf study and open the park year round. They seem to think that a few scientists are less likely to notice and repel invading terrorists from Canada than will a bunch of winter tourists. It sounds like complete nonsense to me, but then Homeland Security was the brainchild of G. W. Bush, one of the stupidest Presidents ever, so the plot point is vaguely plausible. Anyway, one of the people involved in the study is an alleged academic who is Homeland Security's plant to learn enough about the study to allow them to shut it down and open the park to whomever wishes to travel there.
It's cold as crap all the time. There appears to be an alleged sighting of some kind of super wolf in a couple of instances. There seems to be some DNA in scat samples that is incompatible with any of the wolves who have lived in the park for the past 50 years. There is a chicken-shit pervert among the crew who loves to molest and rape inert woman, either dead or drugged. Anna faces multiple near-death experiences, but lives to tell about it. And so forth. Lots of excitement. Too many bodies for me these days and a rather morally ambiguous ending. My recollection is that I've had rather a fondness for the Anna Pigeon novels, but this one left me wondering if Barr hadn't jumped the shark when she got to this book. Perhaps this is as good as my dimming memories of the others, and I'm just getting too old for carnage, perversion, and tales of dangerous beings/beasts which may actually exist.