April 11, 2013

Saving crows

Crow Medicine
by Diane Haynes

Jane Ray works at BC's Urban Wildlife Rescue Centre (UWRC), where she cares for her favorite birds, crows. But the inexplicable deaths of crows in the city lead the UWRC to change their policy and euthanize all crows in an effort to stave off West Nile Disease. This touches off a media frenzy, resulting in vandalism and abuse. So Jane sets off for Alberta to pick up a controversial vaccine, hoping to save both the birds and the Centre. 

That's the main plot of Haynes' book, but it's not the only one. There's political corruption, lethal pesticides, family problems, and a very public humiliation, which should probably result in court action. Plus, Jane has to land a plane when the pilot has a heart attack! That's a lot of stuff to cram into 350 pages, with the result that none of the situations are thoroughly or satisfactorily dealt with. The most interesting bit, Jane's "crow medicine" - her spiritual connection with crows - is given very short shrift. There are just too many stories competing with one another.  All the mystery/survival/adventure/suspense/romance can be a little exasperating. Haynes would have done better without all the extra drama.

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