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The Devil Went Down to Austin Mass Market Paperback – Jun 25 2002


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (June 25 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553579940
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553579949
  • Product Dimensions: 2.6 x 10.5 x 17.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #476,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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By Craig Wood on Feb. 26 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Rick Riordan's 'The Devil Went Down to Austin' is a fun little murder mystery, starring PI-cum-lit-prof Tres Nevarre. This isn't the most thought-provoking novel that you'll read this year. But it's a quick and enjoyable whodunnit, with enough plot twists and entertaining characters inside to keep you breezing through the pages. Riordan does a good job of explaining the good guys' and the bad guys' motives. And you'll probably be surprised by the unexpected revelations at the end. 'The Devil Went Down to Austin' is good clean fun. And it's a nice little breather if you've just finished reading something a little bit heavy.
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By D. P. Birkett on Aug. 21 2002
Format: Hardcover
Tres Navarre is a private eye and English professor. His legless brother, Garrett, mortgages the family ranch to start up a software company in Austin, Texas. A dastardly take-over jackal tries to buy Garrett out for a mere three million and sabotages his new program when he refuses. Then Garrett is framed for the murder of one of his partners. There are suspense-laden scuba sequences. The real killer interpolates commentary into the text.
It is a well-written and ingeniously plotted page-turner and I feel churlish about denying it the fifth star, but the problem for me was a certain lack of originality. We have so many tough male private eyes. The plot involves adopted children and long-lost relatives like Ross MacDonald. The interpolated killer's voice reminds of Thomas Harris. None of this detracts from readability, so as far as entertainment value is concerned it's irrelevant, but it stops me putting Riordan in my pantheon of the great.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
In all fairness, let's set the paradigm. I am a Parrothead, so, any book that even mentions Jimmy Buffett is on my must-read list. That's why I picked up Riordan's book. That is not, however, why I couldn't put it down. His characters are high-definition, his plot is intriguing and very timely, but what I enjoyed most was how he can turn a phrase and/or capture a feeling or a mood. From the "aluminum quality" of sinking beneath water, to Austin's "big-boned sister," his writing is truly superb, and very deserving of his many literary awards. This is a writer to watch. He has the urbane quality of a Burke, he approaches the dialogue ability of a Leonard, and his characters laugh at themselves like Parker, but there is really something special and unique about Riordan, his outstanding ability to trigger the senses with his words, to "show" (not "tell"). There was a time we all looked at Harris for that quality; turn your eyes toward Riordan.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
There aren't too many Hispanic PI's, but Tres Nevarre is one of the most interesting and tough minded. San Antonio and Texas sized culture are stirred together by this English teacher who knows how to craft a fun page turner, as evidenced by his Shamus, Anthony, and Edgar awards. A great many characters and situations keep you from accurate guessing, or being bored by the focus. Who did what to whom over the software code? Will the bank reposess the ranch? Are any or all of the deaths connected? which woman will become the love interest? How important is the English literature class? Who are the stupidist relatives? Will the Texas bigshot family have a play? Is Robert Johnson a cat? Is the way San Antonio and Austin really are? Are all the characters in this story related?
There a enough sinister situations, good guys, and victims and suspects to give you a fun read. The atmosphere and color are delightful and really nail the area. I once lived along the water where this story is framed, and the people and places are dead on. Tres is smart and tough. The writing is carefully, thoughtfully pointed at a large number of possible directions so you can never figger it out and are never board.
Those who like quick reads and want all their clues pointed out to them will not like this book. But most mystery readers will love it.
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By A Customer on Nov. 10 2001
Format: Hardcover
A very good read, though I had trouble at the start, because of the dark and slightly confusing way the book begins. You have to try to piece together what's going on with insufficient info. Try to read it straight through, so you remember the yet to be connected stuff you need.
By about one-third into it, it starts to come together and is amusing, suspensful, and entertaining. The setting in Austin is a bonus to those like me who know some but too little about the area as it is today.
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Format: Hardcover
English professor-cum-PI Tres Navarre heads from San Antonio up to Austin just in time to see his brother Garrett arrested for murder. A highly personal case becomes even more personal when attorney Maia Lee, the past love Tres never got over, arrives to defend Garrett and uncover facts about one of her own ex-clients.
I read 'Devil Went Down...', the fourth Tres Navarre title, immediately after finishing the first one, 'Big Red Tequila.' It's clear that author Rick Riordan's style and plotting have improved over time. Not that they were ever bad to start with -- far from it. But though still packed with Riordan's trademark twists and turns, the story in 'Devil Went Down...' was easier for me to follow than the often convoluted plots of earlier titles. Part of the difference may be that there seemed to be fewer characters to keep straight in this story.
There's one element of this book I'm not so sure about. From time to time, Riordan interrupts the narrative to include anonymous email messages. I won't spoil anything by saying what relevance, if any, these have to the story. But for the first time in the series, the reader has information that's not available to our narrator. As I said, I'm still not sure what I think of that.
On the other hand, I want to thank Rick Riordan for not allowing this novel's scuba-diving scenes to become James Bond-movie-style underwater mega-battle parodies. That would have been a tough hurdle for me to overcome.
This story takes place almost entirely in Austin, not Tres' hometown of San Antonio. But the South Texas atmosphere is still strong, Tres is maturing as a person (in his world) and as a fully drawn character (in ours), the other characterizations are solid, and the story itself is powerful. Of the four Navarre titles so far, the third and fourth have been my favorites. Which suggests that even greater things are to come -- he wrote hopefully.
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