Big Red Tequila (Tres Navarre Series #1)

Big Red Tequila (Tres Navarre Series #1)

by Rick Riordan

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reissue)

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series
Everything in Texas is bigger . . . even murder.

Meet Tres Navarre—tequila drinker, Tai Chi master, and 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, is 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.

“Riordan writes so well about the people and topography of his Texas hometown that he quickly marks the territory as his own.”—Chicago Tribune

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553576443
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/28/1997
Series: Tres Navarre Series , #1
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 135,298
Product dimensions: 6.86(w) x 10.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Rick Riordan is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and the Heroes of Olympus series for children and the multi-award-winning Tres Navarre mystery series for adults. For fifteen years, Riordan taught English and history at public and private middle schools in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Texas. In 2002, Saint Mary’s Hall honored him with the school’s first Master Teacher Award. His adult fiction has won the top three national awards in the mystery genre—the Edgar, the Anthony, and the Shamus. His first Percy Jackson book, The Lightning Thief, was a New York Times Notable Book for 2005. The Sea of Monsters was a Child Magazine Best Book for Children for 2006 and a national bestseller. The third title, The Titan’s Curse, made the series a #1 New York Times bestseller, and the fourth title, The Battle of the Labyrinth, had a first printing of one million copies. The series concluded with The Last Olympian, which was also a major national bestseller.  Rick Riordan now writes full-time. He lives in Boston with his wife and two sons.


San Antonio, TX

Date of Birth:

June 5, 1964

Place of Birth:

San Antonio, TX


B.A. in English and History, University of Texas

Read an Excerpt

Everything with Lillian was familiar, from her linen sheets to the citrus scent of her hair when I finally fell asleep buried in it.  I was even hoping I might dream of her for a change, the way I used to.  I didn't.

The dreams started out like a slide show—newspaper photos of my dad, Express-News headlines that had burned themselves into my memory that summer.  Then it was a late spring evening in May of '85 and I was standing on the front porch of my father's house in Olmos Park.  A battered gray Pontiac, probably a '76, tinted windows and no license plate, was pulling up by the curb as my father walked from the driveway to the front door, carrying two bags of groceries.  Carl Kelley, his deputy and best friend, was a few steps behind him.  For some reason I remember exactly what Carl was holding—a twelve-pack of Budweiser in one hand and a watermelon in the other.  I was opening the front door for them, my eyes red from studying for my last round of freshman final exams at A & M.

My dad was at his very heaviest—nearly three hundred pounds of muscle and fat stuffed into oversized jeans and a checkered shirt.  Sweat lines running down his temples from the rim of his brown Stetson, he lumbered up the steps with a cigar drooping off the corner of his mouth.  He looked up and gave me one of his sly grins, started to say something, probably a wisecrack at my expense. Then a small hole blew open in the grocery bag in Dad's right arm.  A perfect white stream of milk sprouted out.  Dad looked momentarily puzzled.  The second shot came out the front of his Stetson.

Fumbling for his gun, Carl hit the ground for cover about the same time my dad hit the ground dead.  Dad was three months away from retirement.  The watermelon made a bright red starburst as it exploded on the sidewalk.  The gray Pontiac pulled away and was gone.

When I woke up alone in Lillian's bed the conjunto music from next door had stopped.  The cranberry glass night lamp was on, making the squares of moonlight pink against the hardwood floor.  Through the open bedroom door I could see Lillian standing naked in the living room, her arms hugging her body, staring at one of her photos on the wall.

She didn't seem to hear me when I called.  When I came up behind her and put my arms around her shoulders, she stiffened.  Her eyes never left the photo.

It was one of her early college pieces—a black and white photo-collage of animals, human faces, insects, buildings, all of it hand-tinted and merged into one surrealistic mass.  I remembered the December weekend when she'd been putting it together for her end-of-term project.  I'd done my best to distract her.  We'd ended up with photo scraps scattered all over the bed and clinging to our sweaters.

"Naive," she said, absently.  "Beau used to take me out into the country—we'd be shivering all night in sleeping bags on some godforsaken hilltop in Blanco for one shot of a meteor shower, or we'd trudge through twenty acres of pasture outside Uvalde so we'd be in just the right position at dawn to catch the light behind a windmill.  He used to say that every picture had to be taken at the greatest possible expense.  Then I'd look back at my old collages like this one and think how easy they'd been."

"Maybe naive gets a bad rap," I said.

We stood there together and looked at it for a minute.

"It just feels strange," she said.  "You being here."

"I know."

She leaned her head against me.  The tension in her shoulders didn't go away.

"What else is it?" I said.

She hesitated.  "There are complications."

I kissed her ear.  "You asked for me to be here.  I'm here.  There's no complication."

Until Lillian looked around at me I didn't realize her eyes were wet.

"When you left San Antonio, Tres, what were you running from?"

"I told you.  The rest of my life stuck in Texas, the idea of marriage, the careers everybody else wanted me to take—"

She shook her head.  "That's not what I meant.  Why did you go when you did, right after your father's death?"

I hugged her from behind and held on tight, trying to get lost in the citrus smell of her hair.  But when I closed my eyes against her cheek, I still saw the old newspaper photo of my father, the caption that I knew by heart. "Sheriff Jackson Navarre, gunned down brutally on Thursday evening in front of his Olmos Park home.  Deputy Sheriff Kelley and Navarre's son watched helplessly as the assassins sped away."  My father's face in the photo just smiled at me dryly, as if that caption was some private joke he was sharing.

"Maybe because when I looked around town," I told Lillian, "all I saw was him dying.  It was like a stain."

She nodded, looking back at her photo-collage.  "The stain doesn't go away, Tres.  Not even after all these years."

Her tone was bitter, not like Lillian.  I held her a little tighter.  After a while she turned around and folded herself into my arms.

"It doesn't have to be a complication for us now," I whispered.

"Maybe not," she murmured.  But I didn't need to see her face to see that she didn't believe me.

She didn't let me say anything else, though.  She kissed me once, lightly, then more.  Soon we were back in the linen sheets.  I wasn't sleeping again until almost dawn, this time with no dreams.

Table of Contents

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Big Red Tequila (Tres Navarre Series #1) 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
camera_stooge More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up because I live in San Antonio (and I've been reading more crime fiction/mystery lately). It was weird reading about these locations I'm familiar with in real life. Other than that the book is a straightforward PI mystery with a touch of the comic. The mystery was convoluted, and I wasn't able to figure out the ending (although I'm not a very sharp reader, so that might not be saying much about the story). San Antonio native (and unlicensed P.I.) Tres Navarre returns to his hometown at the request of an old girlfriend. When she disappears he's caught up in not only this mystery, but also the 10 year old mystery of who murdered his father. This book feels like the first of a series, introducing a bunch of characters who will probably fill the pages of the other books of Riordan's series. I will be checking out the rest of the series, although I haven't decided if I'm going to purchase them or check them out of the library.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you're a San Antonio native, it's hard to escape hearing about Rick Riordan. I've read countless reviews of his work in the Express-News, but must admit I stayed away because I was worried his books were getting press solely because they're set in SA -- not because they were good. A friend convinced me to quit being a cynic and give him a try. I must admit, I am glad I did. I started and finished Big Red Tequila last night, and it was one of the more enjoyable evenings I've spent. Riordan's writing is crisp and witty, his descriptions eloquent, his characters belieavble, and his plots just a lot of fun. I'm buying his other book now while I'm here...and I'm confident it will be just as enjoyable. Texans will love all the in-jokes, and others will get a kick out of Riordan's smooth writing, great plot structure and wonderful sense of place.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the first crime fiction novel I've read that is set in Texas. I can tell you that I really felt as though I was actually there. San Antonio is no longer strange and unfamiliar to me. An enjoyable read.
wvlibrarydude on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Decent plot and a central character who's sarcasm was a little humorous. Heavy on the cussing, and lack of any morality was a downer that I couldn't quite get over. The central theme of messed up family relationships between children and parents was interesting... but only slightly.Lightning Thief series is much better.
debnance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I certainly can¿t share this with all the many fans of Riordan¿s The Lightning Thief at my elementary school, but I can share it with all the adult readers who love silly mysteries. An added incentive to reading this book was its setting in San Antonio; what fun, I thought, to release this book at the Texas Library Association Conference to be held in San Antonio in April. It¿s been a while for me since I¿ve finished anything close to literary fiction. Oh well. Nothing wrong with some just-for-fun reads now and then.
Squeex on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
was listening to THE LIGHTNING THIEF: Percy Jackson and the Olympians (my review) at the same time as part of this one. It's so amazing how talented an author can be to write two completely different genres and both of them be so highly enjoyable. Tres Navarre is a well written character and, gosh, do I want to be his buddy. He's got a nice dry sense of humor, takes a hit and keeps on quippin', and has human foibles. And has an enchilada eating cat named Robert Johnson. He comes back to town after ten years away in San Francisco after the shooting death of his father in their driveway. Ostensibly, he feels the need to solve the murder of his father, but he's there, also, to help his ex-girlfriend solve some problems with her business partner. There are some possible ties to the Mafia and corrupt politicians. The possibility of all of this being tied with the murder of his father sucks Tres (and the reader...) in. Five big ol' Texas beans....and maybe some bottles of Herradura...Tres' tequila of choice...
MrsLee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tres is the kind of Noir hero I enjoy. His remarks to others make you cringe, but you enjoy him saying them. Sassy isn't the word for it, more like self-destruction, but somehow he comes out the other side of a beating. I've never been to San Antonio, but I felt as though I was there in the middle of the heat through Riordan's descriptions. I enjoyed this mystery right through to the end, and I didn't see it coming until the appropriate moment, but didn't feel cheated of clues at the end, either. Though not to be kept on the shelves forever, like Sayers or Stout, I will certainly look for more of Rick Riordan's mysteries. This was a fun read, more foul language than I enjoy, probably less than most people are used to these days. I also appreciated the way he described his hero's more intimate moments. Enough that I knew they were there, but I didn't feel like a voyeur after reading about it.
Dene2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dry humor and self depreciation by lead character very refreshing. Rick Riordan can definately write for adults as well as the elementary school crowd. A bit too much unnecessary swearing for my taste, otherwise a good read.
debavp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Any tamer and this would be classed as a cozy. While a decent start to a series, there needs to be some pickup to future installments. And please, Robert Johnson needs more quality page time!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Growing up and living in San Antonio, I found it interestng to have been everywhere Tres had been. With all of the rich and spot-on descriptions, I found it easy to care anout all of the characters.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
IS THIS APPROPIATE FOR CHILDREN?? (is the content like the percy jackson series?....) If you are responding to me make the title of the review:abc123DOREMI
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Percy Jackson but this story doesn't as well thought out as that series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is this book hard to read? Is it good? Please answer, and if you do please title it NFL
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No this is not good. there is talk of drinking 20 bad words in a single chapter, even two f bombs. I would give this no stars if I could. This is not like Rick Riordan's other work do not get.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What the heck?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unrealistic. Why. Why, just why?