Maine again, but a more brutal take on the state. Boar Island is Nevada Barr’s latest, 2016, offering. Heath (female despite the name) Jarrod is in a wheelchair, so feels particularly helpless when her adopted daughter is the victim of school cyber-bullying. She arranges to go to her old friend, Anna Pigeon, who has taken a ranger job at Boar Island in a remote part of Maine. However, the bullying becomes stalking when the threatening messages continue, and it becomes clear they are being watched.
Anna is trying to clear up the murder of a local man, with a history of domestic violence, which ultimately will put her in extreme danger. The main feature of this book is the high level of violence against women and as such I found it uncomfortable reading. It’s entirely realistic – there’s little that you wouldn’t find in the pages of a newspaper – but the sense of helplessness and anger of the victims comes across very clearly. Barr is a skilful writer – I wouldn’t be left feeling Heath’s anger over her daughter’s oppressor if she wasn’t – but not a comfortable one. Not in a hurry to read another one.