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Big Red Tequila Mass Market Paperback – Jun 2 1997

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Big Red Tequila + The Widower's Two-Step + The Last King of Texas
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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: 10.6 x 2.7 x 17.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #312,944 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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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

4.0 out of 5 stars

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By Pequegnat on 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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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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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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ten years ago, Jackson 'Tres' Navarre left San Antonio to escape the memories and burdens of his sheriff father's murder, which he witnessed. Now, he's come back home, hoping to answer the lingering questions once and for all. But then his former girlfriend mysteriously disappears, his other former girlfriend shows up to help in the search, and the police aren't interested in turning over old stones. Even Robert Johnson, Tres' taco-eating cat, is acting strangely.
This is the first book in Rick Riordan's Tres Navarre series, and it's not only a great story in its own right, but a strong lead off for what's proven to be a high-quality and exciting series. Riordan's plots can be tangled -- lots of plot twists, and characters with complex motivations -- but this is evidence of the high quality of the writing: Riordan proves he can handle both complexity and cohesiveness. Nevertheless, this book repays a second read.
'Big Red Tequila' is filled with San Antonio atmosphere, and while it helps a little for the reader to know the city, that's not essential to understanding and enjoying the story. Personally, I find myself with a margarita-and-tortillas craving every time I read a Tres Navarre book. But then, I'm a Texan by birth. Not everyone has that advantage, so maybe not everyone will respond the same way.
What I *can* say is that I've read three of the four Tres Navarre books currently in print, and am working on the fourth now. I didn't read them in order, so I can attest that each title stands alone as an exciting and rewarding mystery novel. I didn't get drawn into this one as quickly as I did 'The Last King of Texas' (the third title in the series), but the mystery and the character development moves quickly. If you're looking for a powerfully done series with sympathetic and engaging characters, rich atmospheric detail, and 'a plot that keeps you guessing,' I strongly recommend starting here.
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