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Big Red Tequila Mass Market Paperback – June 2, 1997

79 customer reviews

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Big Red Tequila + The Widower's Two-Step (Tres Navarre Mystery) + The Last King of Texas
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Editorial Reviews Review

Rick Riordan has loaded his first mystery with lots of genre baggage: this story about a man coming home to San Antonio, Texas, to rescue his old girlfriend and solve the 12-year-old murder of his sheriff father is a virtual homage to James (The Last Good Kiss) Crumley. But Riordan writes so well about the people and topography of his hometown that he very quickly marks the territory as his own. Tres Navarre has put behind him the teenage days when he and his friend Ralph Arguello would cruise through San Antonio, drinking a ferocious mixture of cheap tequila and Big Red cream soda. A University of California Ph.D. in English plus a fascination with t'ai chi ch'uan led Tres naturally enough to work as a private investigator in San Francisco. But one call from the love of his early life--the mysterious and captivating Lillian Cambridge, now trapped in dangerous work and love relationships--and Tres gladly trades his trendy Peet's coffee for the stronger brews of home.


Winner of the 1998 Shamus Award for Best First Novel and the 1998 Anthony Award for Best Paperback Original!

"A standout...A crooked construction company, corrupt cops, old enemies--you can almost feel the summer storms rolling over South Texas."
---Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reissue edition (June 2, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553576445
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553576443
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rick Riordan is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, the Kane Chronicles, and the Heroes of Olympus. He is also the author of the multi-award-winning Tres Navarre mystery series for adults.

For fifteen years, Rick taught English and history at public and private middle schools in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Texas. In 2002, Saint Mary's Hall honored him with the school's first Master Teacher Award.

While teaching full time, Riordan began writing mystery novels for grownups. His Tres Navarre series went on to win the top three national awards in the mystery genre - the Edgar, the Anthony and the Shamus. Riordan turned to children's fiction when he started The Lightning Thief as a bedtime story for his oldest son.

Today over 35 million copies of his Percy Jackson, Kane Chronicles, and Heroes of Olympus books are in print in the United States, and rights have been sold into more than 35 countries. Rick is also the author of The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones, another #1 New York Times bestseller.

Rick Riordan now writes full-time. He lives in Boston with his wife and two sons.

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#35 Overall (See top 100 authors)
#35 in Books
#35 in Books

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 3, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was the first mystery book that wasn't just about a brutal murderer or sick person. This was a murder, that wasn't a serial killer, not the kind of thing that would give you nightmares. It was just a normal guy's life mixed in with the capture of his ex-girlfriend. I loved every word of the story, and Robert Johnson was an incredibly clever character! I recommend this book to anyone who has half a sense of humor and the need to read a cleverly put together story that feels like it's coming right from the person's mouth!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 31, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Big Red Tequila is one of the funniest, smartest, slickest books I've read in a long time. Riordan does a fabulous job of imbuing his work with the sights, smells and sounds of San Antonio, and his characters seem incredibly real and multi-dimensional (even the bad guys!). The dialog crackles with wit and little details like the enchilada-eating cat and the half-brother with a passion for Jimmy Buffet's music just add to the entertainment. While the actual "mystery" in this book is perfectly adequate, to me it was almost secondary. I found the real fun was tagging along with Tres as he criss-crossed the city of San Antonio from La Villita to Monte Verde to the most exclusive neighborhoods with their gated entrances (which, of course, he always managed to talk his way into). I can't wait to read the rest of the series. Highly recommended!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Robin C. on January 20, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
For those of you who love the John D. McDonald books starring Travis McGee, let me introduce you to Tres Navarre! The hero of Riordan's first book in the series, Tres reminds me of a young Trav McGee. He has a bit of dark edge to his character (he's lived a lot!), and his smart mouth gets him into trouble, but he's a decent, intelligent man who wants to find the truth and protect the innocent. In that way, he also reminds me of Dave Robichaux in the James Lee Burke Novels. Like McDonald and Burke, Riordan does a great job at presenting a particular culture and location, in this case San Antonio, Texas, and in developing very three-dimensional characters. I can highly recommend this book.
In this debut novel, Tres returns to San Antonio after having fled ten years previously after the murder of his father. He returns to wrestle with his past and to find the truth behind his father's death. In the process, he uncovers a conspiracy that involves families he's known all his life, forcing him to weigh love, loyalty, and compassion against the truth.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By K. Barrett on March 17, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
What a hoot this was to read. As a Texan, I especially appreciated the "laid back" flavor of this charming and "out there" book. Tres Navarre has enough cowboy in him to be charming and enough intellectual ability to be much more than a cartoonish hero! Imagine a PhD in English who loves cats with peculiar eating habits and spikes his Big Red with good tequila...hard to fathom but tons of fun. Tres gets himself in so much trouble trying to figure out who killed his sheriff-father ten years earlier, but he has a tremendous support system including his aging but gorgeous beatnik mother and his savvy lawyer ex-girlfriend from California. Tres is a complicated man. As soon as I finished this book, I grabbed up The Widower's Two-Step and devoured it as well. Can't wait to read the Last King of Texas. I only noticed a couple of things that didn't ring true, like the mis-spelling of the name of a prominent Texas family from the King Ranch. The Klaybergs referred were actually the Kleburgs, but then maybe Riordan changed the spelling intentionally--don't know--and it doesn't change anything of significance in the story. This was a good read. I recommend Tres Navarre and his friends to everyone with a taste for fun and adventure.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Untouchable on April 27, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A student of Tai Chi, a man unfazed by the confrontation of violent enemies, the owner of a cat named Robert Johnson, Tres Navarre is introduced in Big Red Tequila, the first book in Rick Riordan's hardboiled Texas series. Tres Navarre is an unlicensed private investigator, tequila drinker and all around nice guy. But he's also troubled by the past and when he sets about easing his mind, more than a few feathers or going to get ruffled.

As the story opens, Tres has returned to San Antonio after a 10 year absence and is nonchalantly throwing the previous tenant out of the house he is now renting. Immediately we are confronted with a guy who is very capable with his hands, won't back down from a fight and the nonchalance is the way he performs most tasks. Add to that a vague air of amusement and the character of Tres Navarre is virtually complete.

Tres is back in San Antonio at the request of Lillian Cambridge, the girl with whom he was madly in love with and had plans to marry 10 years before. She's one of the few people pleased to see him come home with quite a number of very lukewarm greetings received. A lot of people still haven't forgiven him for his decision to suddenly leave town after watching his father get gunned down on his front doorstep.

Anyway, he's back, Lillian's overjoyed and he's determined to solve his father's murder which had remained unsolved all these years. Suddenly Lillian goes missing, her business partner looks to be connected to one of San Antonio's wealthiest families in some kind of shady deal and the death rate has suddenly spiked, particularly among people who may have been able to help Tres solve his father's murder. Tres has effectively poked an anthill with a stick and the inhabitants are not the slightest bit happy about it.
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