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Big Red Tequila Mass Market Paperback – June 2, 1997
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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)
Top customer reviews
Navarre left town after his father, a sheriff, was murdered. When Navarre returns, he hooks up with his old high school sweetheart Lillian, and wants to investigate the death of his father. Lillian soon disappears and Navarre starts digging into her disappearance, while also trying to make sense of his father's murder.
Riordan has created some interesting characters in this debut novel. Navarre has a Ph.D. in medieval literature, practices Tai Chi, knows his way around Texas and has an enchilada-eating cat, Robert Johnson. Navarre's brother, Garrett, is a die-hard hippie, marijuana smoker, a Jimmy Buffett fan who is confided to a wheelchair. He lost both legs years ago trying to hop a train. Riordan also incorporates an up-close look at San Antonio along with the people who live there.
I get the feeling Riordan was trying too hard in his first novel, which did win multiple awards. There are too many characters, too much happening and the pace lags in places. I think the novel would have been better if it was shortened by 50 or so pages.
The story and the characters, however, are interesting. According to some critics, Riordan's Tres Navarre series improves after his debut novel. This book and the rest of the Tres Navarre series are worthy of a reader's time.
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.
I really like the narrative style of Rick Riordan. This book was very fun and engaging. There were sections when I couldn't put the book down. It was a great way to pass the time while waiting for appointments, flying on airplanes, etc. I loved it and plan to read the entire Tres Navarre series!