Thursday, May 15, 2014

Jenn's Review: Big Red Tequila

Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Tres Navarre #1
Publication Date: June 2, 1997
Publisher: Turtleback Books
Pages: 372
Obtained: purchased
Genre:  Crime
Rating: 3.5
Bottom Line: Riordan's debut novel has all the snark but lacks the charm.
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Just get it at the library
Blurb:  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....

Review:  I am missing Percy Jackson something fierce.  I have one book left while I wait for the last book of The Heroes of Olympus series to come out in October and I'm just not ready to go there yet.  So my choices were to try Rick Riordan's Kane Chronicles or his adult private investigator series.  Obviously, I went with the latter.

This is Riordan's debut novel and while his writing style is there brimming with wit and sarcasm, his character development is not.  I wanted to like Tres; I spent the whole novel thinking, I almost like him and it kept me turning pages.  The novel is Psych meets Grosse Point Blank with none of the charm.  Tres drops a life and a relationship in California at the beck and call of his old flame.  Though Tres is immediately pulled into something bigger than just investigating the death of his father, he refuses to see things for what they are, not even when his California girlfriend bails him out.  I respected Tres, all womanizing aside, but I just can't seem to like him.

There were also a ton of secondary characters to keep track of and I had to keep going back and looking up who was who.  It works fine when the secondary characters are established mythological gods, but when they aren't an identity needs to be developed. Without the connection, the story was slowed.

If you're a fan of San Antonio apparently the references are wonderful.  Never having been to Texas, they were lost on me as I suppose LL Bartlet's Buffalo, NY references in her Jeff Resnick series are lost to everyone outside of Western New York. So that didn't hook me either.

However there is something about Riordan's storytelling that just pulls you in.  The plot was twisted, but not overly complicated. It was the mystery and the writing that kept me turning pages, which is incredible when I don't like the characters.  I actually purchased the next book in the series immediately after finishing Big Red Tequila because I wanted more.  Even though I wasn't fond of Tres, I want to know more about him and hope he'll grow into a character I can love.  That's Rick Riordan's talent.



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