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Borderline    by Nevada Barr order for
by Nevada Barr
Order:  USA  Can
Putnam, 2009 (2009)
* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

National Park Service Ranger Anna Pigeon is still recovering from her devastating experience at Isle Royal. She and her husband Paul are vacationing in Big Bend National Park. Anna looks forward to being with Paul and hopes the natural beauty of the Chihuahuan Desert will work its magic and heal her.

Big Ben is separated from Mexico by the Rio Grande River. It's running high, so Anna and Paul sign up for a rafting trip. While floating down the river Anna's group, which includes four college students, rescues a cow who has climbed up a cliff and can't get down. Before they know it they are riding the rapids with a cow on board.

The raft careens into rocks and is lost. Anna, Paul, and her novice companions make it to shore where they discover a pregnant woman tangled in debris between boulders. She's alive, but just barely, and dies moments after being brought ashore. Anna saves the woman's baby and is surprised at how quickly she becomes attached to the infant she names Helena. Someone wants the child, dead or alive and Anna fights to defend her.

Anna's relaxing vacation turns into a nonstop struggle to keep Helena alive. Politics, border tensions, and mystery keep the story rushing alone like the Rio Grand rapids, hardly allowing the reader a moment to come up for air.

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