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Big Red Tequila [Mass Market Paperback]

Rick Riordan
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 2 1997 Bantam Book
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series
Everything in Texas is bigger...even murder.

Meet Tres Navarre...tequila drinker, Tai Chi master, unlicensed P.I., with a penchant for Texas-size trouble.

Jackson "Tres" Navarre and his enchilada-eating cat, Robert Johnson, pull into San Antonio and find nothing waiting but trouble. Ten years ago Navarre left town and the memory of his father's murder behind him. Now he's back, looking for answers. Yet the more Tres digs, trying to put his suspicions to rest, the fresher the decade-old crime looks: Mafia connections, construction site payoffs, and slick politicians' games all conspire to ruin his homecoming.

It's obvious Tres has stirred up a hornet's nest of trouble. He gets attacked, shot at, run over by a big blue Thunderbird—and his old girlfriend, the one he wants back, turns up missing. Tres has to rescue the woman, nail his father's murderer, and get the hell out of Dodge before mob-style Texas justice catches up to him. The chances of staying alive looked better for the defenders of the Alamo....

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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)

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
By Alison S. Coad TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series since it began, so when I learned that prior to turning to YA novels, he had written a series of Texas private eye mysteries, I thought I'd give them a try. "Big Red Tequila" is the first in that series, featuring Jackson "Tres" Navarre, the son of Jackson Navarre Jr. who, ten years before the story begins, had been gunned down in front of his son and friend while returning home from his Sheriff's job in San Antonio. Tres fled to San Francisco and remained there for 10 years, learning tai chi and earning a Ph.D. in English literature, supporting himself with investigative work for a law office, among other things; but when his old flame Lillian contacts him, he returns to his native city in part to perhaps rekindle his old relationship and in part to finally work out who killed his father and why. But the answers are far from simple to find, and there are far more people willing to kill rather than let him discover the truth.... As with the YA books, this adult novel is full of memorable characters and high-energy action scenes, although neither are as refined as they become in Riordan's later work. I enjoyed the murky underworld of San Antonio and some of the individuals were well worth getting to know, but I'm not as enamoured of Texas as the author might like his readers to be. I would read more in the series if I stumbled across them, but wouldn't really go out of my way to find them; so, a lukewarm response from me.
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3.0 out of 5 stars (C+) May 10 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a moderately entertaining mystery, the story is well paced, the dialogue is clever, and the setting has vivid color and depth. The weaknesses are in the uninspired plot, the unlikable and weird characters, and their highly unconvincing motivations (except for the cat, which is by far the most enjoyable character).
We are supposed too believe in the main character who has a PhD in English from Berkley, is an unlicensed private investigator, and a Tie Chi master. He's also broke, drunk, slovenly, mentally unstable, anti-social, and not to bright. But he has a nice cat. The supporting characters are even less believable for the most part, and just as mentally unbalanced, particularly his mother.
Also the Law Enforcement aspects to the novel are particularly weak, as a former Lawman I was not impressed.
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2.0 out of 5 stars It can't be this easy to win an Edgar! Feb. 3 2003
By T. King
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Aside from the cat, there's not an original thing about Tres Navarre. Too many characters, too much plot, too little action. I didn't care if he found the girl or not,if he found his fathers killers or not. I just finished the thing and I still don't understand why these people did half the things they did. If the ending was suppossed to make me gasp, it made me yawn instead. Tres keep visiting the same people over and over again and comes away emptyhanded. If it's this easy to win mystery awards I might start writing my own. In the meantime I'll stick with, Dennis Lehane, Robert Crais, Robert Parker etc.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Trav McGee Reincarnated Jan. 20 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Good effort, entertaining read. Dec 26 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Riordan's debut of his series character, Tres Navarre, is a competent mystery written with evocative Texas imagery and a good sense of humor. It remains entertaining throughout- good dialogue, interesting characters, enough violence to be satisfying but not enough to push gratuitous.
The novel's weakness is its complexity. For a lighthearted mystery, a perfectly good genre into which this book should easily fall, there are too many characters to keep track of, and Riordan does not give the reader quite enough reminder/clues to keep it cohesive. Only this prevents it from being a great travel companion.
I look forward to the rest of the series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful New Series Oct. 16 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Okay, never mind that I'm a native, although displaced, Texan. (Never mind too that I agree with Riordan there's something majestic about the wide open spaces marked by not much more than dirt, rocks, and scrub because at night the enormous sky that envelops this same desert from horizon to horizon is marked by more stars than you ever believed could exist in this universe and because anyone who has ever seen this same sky painted in reds and golds and oranges and lavenders and deep purples can't believe they're still on our planet!) I just love the Texas and the San Antonio that is brought to life in the Tres Navarre series!
Riordan's plots are complicated enough and sharp enough to please the reader that likes to keep guessing right up to the end about what's really happening in the story. And Riordan is a natural at the surprise ending -- and a convincing surprise ending at that!)
But for those of us who welcome a new group of characters that we can tell are interesting enough, complex enough, intriguing enough and funny enough to last us through many, many more books to come -- that's the most rewarding gift of all.
The hero is just the right kind of funny, self-effacing fellow who never comes off as pompous; never tries to be the superior, wise-cracking, smug, know-it-all detective who spends most of the story showing the reader just how verbal he is compared to the moronic bad guys (so, who cares? By the end of these books, the hero's ego has taken over every scene to the extent that you start cheering for the other side!)
Tres is caring, sensitive, etc. without being schmaltzy about it.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid launch to a terrific series
Ten years ago, Jackson 'Tres' Navarre left San Antonio to escape the memories and burdens of his sheriff father's murder, which he witnessed. Read more
Published on Oct. 16 2001 by Andrew S. Rogers
5.0 out of 5 stars Go Big Red!
This is the first book in Rick Riordan's Tres Navarre series. Riordan teaches middle school English for his "day job. Read more
Published on Sept. 28 2001 by TundraVision
5.0 out of 5 stars Big, read, and intoxicating.
It's a big book...lots of pages, lots of characters, and lots of Texas lore and description. Lots of action, too...fights and bullets and druggings and cracked bones and teeth. Read more
Published on June 5 2001 by Judith Lindenau
4.0 out of 5 stars Prodigal returns to Texas
Fans of Harlan Coben's Myron Bolitar series are likely to find another quasi-hero to root for in the Tres Navarre series. Read more
Published on March 27 2001 by Carol Peterson Hennekens
One of the really great things about the "private eye" genre is that each author picks a particular locale for their main character to live and work in, and the reader,... Read more
Published on July 10 2000 by Wayne C. Rogers
3.0 out of 5 stars I must be missing something.
This one was a struggle for me. I never felt like I got to know any of the characters, and thought there were too many of them. The whodoneit was never clearly defined for me. Read more
Published on June 4 2000 by nobizinfla
4.0 out of 5 stars Rick Riordan's new P.I. is a keeper
Tres Navarre, back in San Antonio after ten years in San Fransisco solves his first mystery which begins with the disappearance of his former girlfriend and ends with the solution... Read more
Published on May 2 2000 by Roz Levine
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