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13½ by Nevada Barr, a Review

Updated on July 6, 2015
LillyGrillzit profile image

Libraries saved her. As a child she sought the protection of words and pages. Superhero librarians fed her brain and imagination.

13 1/2 by Nevada Barr permission pending permission pending

13½ by Nevada Barr, A Novel

Most of the authors I follow stringently will on occasion release a title that just doesn't sit well with me, or does not capture my interest.

Sometimes authors want to break out of what they have always done, and shake it up a bit. Nevada Barr has shaken things up, and there is no disappointment. There has not been one of her books that did not grab me instantly and throw me into the story.

Nevada Barr has done it again, she has written another novel I could barely set down. I am a voracious reader and always look for books in the genre containing women heroes. I like detectives, and characters who spend time in the great outdoors. When a murder mystery is written by a female author I like, I look forward even more to reading it.

13½ is set in the city of New Orleans. The characters are real to life, with Southern mysticism, southern wealth, with rural trailer trash genealogy mixed in over the top. As it happens in this city there is an undercurrent of violence. It is not any more than a person would see on CSI or SVU, although a lot depends upon what happens in the reader's brain.

This story has a lead female, a mother. She is protective and determined. This Mom has a spine of tempered steel. She has succeeded with her small family this far, by letting nothing harmful or dangerous near them. Her children are well balanced, and raised with self- confidence and grace.

She meets, falls in love with and marries Dillon. She hasn't known him long. Always dangerous to have an unknown around children, a worst fear can be realized by those expecting the worst,

Her new beau and his brother are a shell game of personality and thought. Dillon spent his entire adolescence in an institution for violent offenders; children tried as adults. Dillon's brother, the only survivor of their brutal family massacre, keeps the reader guessing with the age old question, who done it?

13½ has fortune tellers spread throughout, as the old City of New Orleans does. Tarot readers and alchemists are the wallpaper for this mystical place. How could it be centered about New Orleans and not have the workers of the supernatural?

The time frame of this story is set in post Katrina, pre-Oil Disaster. Very modern.

Long standing social problems and concerns are woven into the texture of this story. The juvenile justice system is highlighted, and how the justice system is a place where many youth are swallowed whole is brought to light. The history of Juvenile treatment facilities over time are central to the pages of 13½..

New Orleans

New Orleans, Louisiana:
New Orleans, LA, USA

get directions

13 1/2 is set in pre-Katrina NOLA

Nevada Barr Discusses 13 1/2

Anna Pigeon books by Nevada Barr

In 1993, I was on the hunt for a new author. I gobbled up Sue Grafton's "'J' is for Judgement" as fast as I could, Patricia Cornwell's, "Cruel and Unusual" had me wanting more. I was doing searches, "powerful women, mystery, animals..." and Nevada Barr's "Track of the Cat" popped up. I was hooked from day one.

The Park Ranger; Anna Pigeon was a beliveable charachter, with honest issues and problems. The Pigeon books were written, showing Barr's love of the environment generally, and the US State Parks in particular. Her Anna Pigeon novels are true glimpses of the US National Park System employees and volunteers. We are given characters who are believable, and possibly recognizable. It gives the interested reader an idea how 'this system functions'. I waited in anticipation for every book to come out. It made me want to be a Park Ranger, except for the physical demands.

The years 2009 - 2010 were been spent in college, and because of required reading, I gave up my free time, leisure reading, and instead concentrated on college texts and manuals.

I did not have extra brain space for my first passion; pleasurable reading. Out of school I spent the majority of my time writing. It was time to get recharged. I think part of what makes a writer interesting is experience, and the experience of being a reader.

New Orleans


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    • LillyGrillzit profile imageAUTHOR

      Lori J Latimer 

      8 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      Thank you tracykarl! I enjoy when you stop by. Nevada Barr is very cool...this book is different than anything she has done before...can't let the cat out of the bag though.

    • tracykarl99 profile image


      8 years ago from San Francisco

      A very nice review ~ Nevada Barr sounds like an author worth checking out. Like you, I love to read about strong female characters. Thanks for passing this along:)

    • LillyGrillzit profile imageAUTHOR

      Lori J Latimer 

      8 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      Dear Inkwell, thank you for stopping by and giving this a read and comment. I am not sure what you mean by download on the computer? If you guys have the Kindle Reader, it is the least expensive version, besides the MP3 version. Not sure if you have a public Library where you are or not, but you can request it in Hardback or Books on CD in our Library system. Thanks again.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I for one believe that Women are stronger than Men. That is just my opine of course.. My Mother is also a voracious reader.. Is it available for download on the computer? Thanks for the information as always and hey I may check this Author out too. Great stuff Lilly! Matt

    • LillyGrillzit profile imageAUTHOR

      Lori J Latimer 

      8 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      Dear Dahoglund, Thank you for the comment! When I wrote her requesting permission to use the book cover image, I did promise not to ruin this for anyone. When you read this, you will understand why I had to keep it on the down-low. :0)

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Being a mystery fan I have read Navada barr from time to time. A Good author.


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