The Widower's Two-step (Tres Navarre Series #2)

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Overview

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series
 
Tres Navarre has just hours of apprenticeship time to serve before he can go for his P.I. license. Staking out a musician suspected of stealing a demo tape should be a piece of pan dulce. But his attention wanders just long enough for fiddle player Julie Kearnes to be gunned down before his eyes. He should just ...
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The Widower's Two-Step

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Overview

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series
 
Tres Navarre has just hours of apprenticeship time to serve before he can go for his P.I. license. Staking out a musician suspected of stealing a demo tape should be a piece of pan dulce. But his attention wanders just long enough for fiddle player Julie Kearnes to be gunned down before his eyes. He should just back away and let the cops investigate, but backing away has never been Tres's strong point.

The missing demo and Julie's murder are just two of the problems besetting Miranda Daniels, a pint-sized singer with Texas-sized talent. She's the prize in a tug-of-war between two music hotshots who want to manage her career. One has a habit of making bad things happen to people he doesn't like. The other has just vanished without a trace. As Tres looks into the dirty dealings surrounding Miranda, it becomes clear he's stepped into a rattlesnakes' nest of greed, double cross, and murder—and he may be the next to be snakebit.

Winner of The Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Paperback Original.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Riordan writes so well about the people and topography of his Texas hometown that he quickly marks the territory as his own."
--Chicago Tribune

*"The characters are well-defined and original, the dialogue is tough and sharp, and narrator Tres's wry observations make him even more simpatico than the first time around. Riordan showed real talent in Big Red Tequila, but here, he's relaxed enough to make it look easy."
--Publishers Weekly, *starred review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553576450
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/28/1998
  • Series: Tres Navarre Series , #2
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 219,611
  • Product dimensions: 4.15 (w) x 6.85 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Rick Riordan
Rick Riordan is the author of six previous Tres Navarre novels—Big Red Tequila, winner of the Shamus and Anthony Awards; The Widower’s Two-Step, winner of the Edgar Award; The Last King of Texas; The Devil Went Down to Austin; Southtown; and Mission Road. He is also the author of the acclaimed thriller Cold Springs and the young adult novel The Lightning Thief. Rick Riordan lives with his family in San Antonio, Texas.

Biography

Percy Jackson and the Olympians is a terrific YA series by former middle school teacher and mystery writer Rick Riordan that revamps Greek mythology in a fun, fresh way kids find enthralling. A trouble-prone teen with attention deficit disorder and dyslexia, Percy is the half-blood son of Poseidon, one of 12 Olympian gods making mischief right here in 21st-century America. Praised by critics, librarians, and teachers, the Percy Jackson books have been honored with numerous awards and appear consistently on The New York Times bestseller list.

The series grew out of a sequence of bedtime stories Riordan invented for his son Haley -- who, at eight, had just been diagnosed with learning disabilities. Although Haley was having trouble in school, he loved the Greek myths and asked his dad to tell him some stories about the gods and heroes. Riordan ran through the standards from mythology, then began to invent new tales featuring some of the same characters and introducing a brave boy hero enough like Haley to make things interesting!

Haley begged his father to write the stories down, and in 2005, The Lightning Thief was published to excellent reviews. It was an instant hit with preteens, who loved the concept of a kid much like themselves -- i.e., embroiled in the everyday problems of school, family, and relationships -- embarking on heroic quests, soothing vengeful gods, and battling monsters.

In addition to Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Riordan also writes books for adults, most notably a series of high-octane Tex-Mex thrillers featuring private investigator Jackson "Tres" Navarre, a complicated loner with an offbeat pedigree. (Tres -- pronounced "Trace" -- is a tai chi master with a Ph.D. in medieval literature who turns to detective work when he is unable to find a teaching job!) The first novel in the series, 1997's Big Red Tequila, scooped the Anthony and Shamus Awards, two of the three most prestigious prizes for Mystery & Crime fiction. Riordan completed the trifecta when his sequel, The Widower's Two-Step, won the coveted Edgar Award in 1999.

Between the two series, Riordan remains incredibly busy. For several years, he balanced writing with teaching English to middle school students. Reluctantly, he has left teaching (a career he thoroughly enjoyed) in order to write full-time, but he still harbors hopes that someday he'll return to the classroom. Meanwhile, he makes frequent visits to schools and enjoys meeting young readers on his book tours.

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    1. Hometown:
      San Antonio, TX
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 5, 1964
    2. Place of Birth:
      San Antonio, TX
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English and History, University of Texas

Read an Excerpt

"Could you please tell your kid to be quiet?"

The guy standing in front of my park bench looked like he'd stepped off a Fleetwood Mac album cover, circa 1976.  He had that Lindsey Buckingham funhouse-mirror kind of body--unnaturally tall, bulbous in the wrong places.  He had the 'Fro and the beard and the loose-fitting black martial arts pajamas that just screamed mod.

He was also blocking my camera angle on the blue '68 Cougar across San Pedro Park, eighty yards away.

"Well?" Lindsey wiped his forehead.  He'd walked over from his tai chi group and sounded out of breath, like he'd been working the moves too hard.

I checked my watch.  If the lady in the Cougar was going to meet somebody, it should've happened by now.

I looked at the tai chi guy.

"What kid?"

A few feet to my left, Jem made another pass on the swing set, strafing Lindsey Buckingham's students as he came down.  He made airplane sounds at the top of his lungs, which was a lot of lungs for a four-year-old, then pointed his toes like machine-gun barrels and started firing.

I guess maybe it was hard for Lindsey's folks to concentrate.  One of them, a short ovoid woman in pink sweats, was trying to squat for Snake Creeps Down.  She ended up rolling on her rump like she'd been shot.

Lindsey Buckingham rubbed the back of his neck and glared at me.  "The kid on the swings, dumb-ass."

I shrugged.  "It's a playground.  He's playing."

"It's seventy-thirty in the morning.  We're practicing here."

I looked over at Lindsey's students.  The pink ovoid woman was just getting up.  Next to her a little Latina lady was doing her moves nervously, pushing the air with her palms and keeping her eyes tightly shut as if she was afraid of what she might touch.  Two other students, both middle-aged Anglo guys with potbellies and ponytails, lumbered through the routine as best they could, frowning, sweating a lot.  It didn't look like anybody was achieving inner tranquility.

"You should tell them to keep their feet at forty-five degrees," I suggested.  "That's an unbalanced stance, parallel footing like that."

Lindsey opened his mouth like he was about to say something.  He made a little cough in the back of his throat.

"Excuse me.  I didn't know I was talking to a master."

"Tres Navarre," I said.  "I usually wear a T-shirt, says 'Master.' It's in the wash."

I looked past him, watching the Cougar.  The lady in the driver's seat hadn't moved.  Nobody else was in the San Antonio College parking lot.

The sun was just starting to come up over the white dome of the campus planetarium, but the night cool had already burned out of the air.  It was going to be another ninety-degree day.  Smells from the breakfast taqueria down on Ellsworth were starting to drift through the park--chorizo and eggs and coffee.

On the swing set Jem came down for another run.

"Eeeeoooooowwww," he shouted, then he made with the machine guns.

Lindsey Buckingham glared at me.  He didn't move out of the way.

"You're blocking my view of the parking lot," I told him.

"Oh, pardon me."

I waited.  "Are you going to move?"

"Are you going to shut your kid up?"

Some mornings.  It's not bad enough it's October in Texas and you're still waiting for the first cold front to come through.  It's not bad enough your boss sends her four-year-old with you on surveillance.  You've got to have Lindsey Buckingham in your face, too.

"Look," I told him, "see this backpack? There's a Sanyo TLS900 in there--pinhole lens, clear resolution from two hundred yards, but it can't see through idiots.  In a minute, if you move, I might get some nice footage of Miss Kearnes meeting somebody she's not supposed to be meeting.  My client will pay me good money.  If you don't move I'll get some nice footage of your crotch.  That's how it works."

Lindsey scratched some sweat droplets out of his beard.  He looked at the backpack.  He looked at me.

"Bullshit."

Jem kept swinging higher and shouting louder.  His skinny brown legs were pinched into an hourglass shape by the swing.  When he got to the top he went weightless, silky black hair sticking up like a sea urchin, his eyes wide, his smile way too big for his face.  Then he got a look of evil determination and came swooping down on the tai chi students again, machine guns blazing.  The OshKosh B'Gosh Luftwaffe.

"Don't suppose you guys could move your class," I suggested.  "Nice place over there by the creek."

Lindsey looked indignant.  "'What is firmly established cannot be uprooted.'"

I would've been okay if he hadn't quoted Lao-tzu.  That tends to irritate me.  I sighed and got up from the bench.

Lindsey must've been about six feet five.  Standing straight I was eye level with his Adam's apple.  His breath smelled like an Indian blanket.

"Let's push hands for it, then," I said.  "You know how to push hands?"

He snorted.  "You're kidding."

"I go down, I move.  You go down, you move.  Ready?"

He didn't look particularly nervous.  I smiled up at him.  Then I pushed.

You see the way most guys push each other--hitting the top of each other's chest like bullies do it on television.  Stupid.  In tai chi the push is called liu, "uproot." You sink down, get the opponent under the rib cage, then make like you're prying a big tree out of the ground.  Simple.

When Lindsey Buckingham went airborne he made a sound like a hard note on a tenor sax.  He flew up about two feet and back about six.  He landed hard, sitting down in front of his students.

On the swing, Jem cut the machine guns midstrafe and started giggling.  The ponytail guys stopped doing their routine and stared at me.

The lady in the pink sweats said, "Oh, dear."

"Learn to roll," I told them.  "It hurts otherwise."

Lindsey got to his feet slowly.  He had grass in his hair.  His underwear was showing.  Standing doubled over he was just about eye level with me.

"God damn it," he said.

Lindsey's face turned the color of a pomegranate.  His fists balled up and they kept bobbing up and down, like he was trying to decide whether or not to hit me.

"I think this is where you say, 'You have dishonored our school,'" I suggested.  "Then we all bring out the nunchakus."

Jem must've liked that idea.  He slowed down his swing just enough to jump off, then ran over and hung on my left arm with his whole weight.  He smiled up at me, ready for the fight.

Lindsey's students looked uncomfortable, like maybe they'd forgotten the nunchaku routine.

Whatever Lindsey was going to say, it was interrupted by two sharp cracks from somewhere behind me, like dry boards breaking.  The sound echoed thinly off the walls of the SAC buildings.

Everybody looked around, squinting into the sun.

When I finally focused on the '68 blue Cougar I was supposed to be watching, I could see a thin curl of smoke trailing up from the driver's side window.

Nobody was around the Cougar.  The lady in the driver's seat still hadn't moved, her head reclined against the backrest like she was taking a nap.  I had a feeling she wasn't going to start moving anytime soon.  I had a feeling my client wasn't going to pay me good money.

"Jesus," said Lindsey Buckingham.

None of his students seemed to get what had happened.  The potbellied guys looked confused.  The ovoid lady in the pink sweats came up to me, a little fearful, and asked me if I taught tai chi.

Jem was still hanging on my arm, smiling obliviously.  He looked down at his Crayola-designed Swatch and did some time calculations faster than most adults could.

"Ten hours, Tres," he told me, happy.  "Ten hours ten hours ten hours."

Jem kept count of that for me--how many hours I had left as an apprentice for his mother, before I could qualify for my own P.I. license.  I had told him we'd have a party when it got to zero.

I looked back at the blue Cougar with the little trail of smoke curling up out of the window from Miss Kearnes' head.

"Better make it thirteen, Bubba.  I don't think this morning's going to count."

Jem laughed like it was all the same to him.

    

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2009

    Rick Riordan

    This series really draws you in. It leaves you wanting to get to the next book. I have read the first 5 of the series & can't wait for the next 2 books to arrive.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2014

    Kiss your hand three times. Post this in three other books. Look under your pillow.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Nice Take on the Genre

    Riordan does a good job of creating some interesting and well-crafted characters, including his rather unconventional cop's son and English Lit major turned private eye, Tres Navarro. The atmosphere is pure Texas, and this look at the darker side of the sunshine and light/cry in your beer country music scene is both stark and amusing. An excellent read and a nice change from the usual whodunnit or procedural.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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