The triple-crown winner of mystery's most prestigious awards-the Edgar, the Anthony, and the Shamus-Rick Riordan blasted onto the crime scene with one of its freshest and most intriguing protagonists, Tres Navarre. In Mission Road, Navarre returns in a wrenching crime drama in which he must revisit the sins of the past to catch a killer about to get away with murder…again. San Antonio private investigator Tres Navarre is used to working on the edge-that razor-sharp line between legal and life sentence. But this time he's stepped straight into a no-man's-land. When an old friend appears at his door spattered with blood and wanted for attempted homicide, Tres doesn't have to think twice about where his loyalty lies-or the consequences. Ralph Arguello is a criminal who put the street life behind him when he married SAPD detective Ana DeLeon. Now Ana's been gunned down and her fellow cops don't need to look far to find a prime suspect. For Ana recently reopened the most infamous cold case in SAPD history-the unsolved murder on notorious Mission Road eighteen years before that threw the San Antonio underworld into bloody chaos.
The past collides explosively with the present in Edgar-winner Riordan's relatively weak sixth Tres Navarre novel (after 2004's Southtown) when Navarre's boyhood friend, reformed criminal Ralph Arguello, appears on his doorstep wearing a blood-soaked guayabera barely one step ahead of the San Antonio police. The cops believe Arguello's wife, cold case detective Ana DeLeon, is about to name her husband as the prime suspect in the 18-year-old unsolved murder of Franklin White, son of a local organized crime boss-and, more incredibly, that Arguello shot her to slow down the investigation. Arguello convinces Navarre he's being set up, and the two of them struggle to evade a citywide manhunt and discover the real killer's identity. Riordan jump-cuts between the present and the mid-1980s to tell the story of White's murder and to provide background for the main characters, including Ana's mother Lucia, one of the city's first female cops. While the parallel narrative adds much needed depth, it dampens the pace and momentum. But the book's biggest flaw is the sitcom-like familiarity of the characters, including Navarre himself-the self-deprecating, wise-cracking PI who could only exist as a fictional trope. Agent, Gina Maccoby. (July 5) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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February 27, 2006
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Excerpt from Mission Road by Rick Riordan
ANA HAD TO GET THE BABY OUT OF THE HOUSE. Things were about to get ugly.
She called Ralph's sister, told her one of them would drop off Lucia in ten minutes.
She packed a bag of diapers, bottles, extra clothes, Lucia's favorite blanket and stuffed beagle.
In the kitchen high chair, Lucia was finger-painting her tray with yams, her meaty little hands coated with orange goo. She'd managed to get some in the black tufts of her hair.
Ana stared at the mess on her daughter's bib and realized she was thinking about blood-splatter patterns.
Looking at her own daughter, and thinking about the homicide case.
Ana had to end this. Tonight, before she lost her nerve.
She zipped the travel bag, unlocked the high chair tray and immediately got yams on the sleeve of her blazer.
"Damn it," she muttered.
She hadn't bothered changing from work. She'd only taken time to empty her shoulder holster and lock the service-issue Glock in the hallway closet where it always went the moment she got home.
She was trying to figure out how to get the baby cleaned up without ruining her clothes when Ralph stormed into the kitchen.
He'd showered and put on his old traveling outfit--black jeans, steel-tipped boots, crisp white linen guayabera, black leather jacket. His newly braided ponytail curled over one shoulder.
He clunked a Magnum clip next to the baby's tippy-cup and started loading his .357.
"What are you doing?" Ana demanded.
He gave her that high-voltage look which had been bothering her for weeks.
Since laser surgery, Ralph had set aside his thick round glasses for contact lenses. There was no longer any shield between his ferocity and the rest of the world. His stare reminded her too much of the people she worked with--cops and killers.
She wasn't afraid of him. She'd never been afraid of him. But tension from their earlier argument hung in the air like the smell of burnt fuses.
He finished loading the gun, hooked it inside his pants--a makeshift holster rigged from a coat hanger. "Johnny Shoes has a lead for me. I'll drop Lucia on the way."
That's how desperate they'd become: begging for help from a drug lord who literally cut his enemies to pieces.
"Ralph, the last time you saw Zapata--"
"I'll be fine."
"He tried to kill you."
"You want to give me a better lead?"
He must've known she was holding back. She'd asked for time alone tonight. She only did that when she needed to make an important decision. And this time, their lives hung in the balance.
"I can't," Ana told him.
"You know who killed Frankie, don't you?"
"I've already told you more than I should."
He considered that, his eyes boring into her. "Yeah. Maybe you did."
"Ah-ba." Lucia held up her gooey hands to her father. "Ah-ba."
Ralph unfastened the seat strap and lifted the baby out of the yam disaster area. Her fingers made streaks of orange on his white guayabera, but Ralph didn't seem to care. He kissed the baby's messy cheek, put her over his shoulder. Lucia made a high-pitched squeal of delight and kicked her bunny feet against Daddy's belly.