Borderline has been on my iPod for a long time. In fact, I think it may be a carryover from my last iPods. I read another Nevada Barr book in the Anna Pigeon series, something about a mountain lion, I think. I remember I wasn’t that crazy about it. I can’t remember why I didn’t like it, but it kept me from listening to this one for too long. Like restaurants, I like to give authors second chances. It seems like a strange comparison, but reading and eating and the enjoyment thereof, are both pretty subjective. Since it could be me, not the creator of the work, I try not to be too hasty – good thought in this case.
The story in Borderline revolves around the US border with Mexico and a rafting trip on the Rio Grande gone terribly wrong. As I listened, I thought a good subtitle would be “Now What Else Can Go Wrong?” The first half of the book left me nearly as exhausted as Anna Pigeon and her fellow rafters as there was no let up of crises. Ultimately, the theme turned on the problems inherent when the that portion of the border closed and the political wrangling that followed including the impact on a political campaign. Borderline left me with a much better impression of this series. While I’m not the park ranger type and don’t find that job as glamorous as others, I did enjoy how Barr handled the underlying political issues. She wove them into the story and presented characters on both sides, yet I’m not 100% sure what her position is.
I haven’t done any additional research so I don’t know if the having the border open prior to 9/11 is part of the fiction or not. Barr’s description of the location is close to where I crossed to attend school in Mexico many years ago and it was a challenge getting back into the US even with valid documentation. If it is fiction, Barr did a great job of weaving this issue into the story.
Addendum: I was remiss in not including the outstanding narration of this story by Barbara Rosenblat. I love her voice and her narration made a great story outstanding.