BookPage reviews

It’s hard getting reviewed these days. Ask any author. That’s why I was amazed and grateful to have both my new books, Mission Road and The Lightning Thief, reviewed in August’s BookPage. Not only that, but both were featured as notable titles. The reviews follow below.

Mission Road By Riordan, Rick

A BookPage Notable TitleWhen homicide detective Ana DeLeon is shot, her husband, reformed criminal Ralph Arguello, becomes the prime suspect. With the full force of the San Antonio police department on his trail, Ralph must turn fugitive to find the real gunman and clear his name.
Mystery of the month

Review by Bruce Tierney

Kudos to Texas mystery writer Rick Riordan for the darkly satisfying new Tres Navarre novel, Mission Road. Private investigator Navarre plies his trade in Austin, Texas. Like most of us, he has grown older and settled down a bit over the course of the past several years. He has taken up with a young Chinese-American woman, and they seem to have fashioned a pleasant and workable living arrangement. So it is something of a surprise when Navarre’s boyhood friend, Ralph Arguello, shows up on his doorstep, bleeding profusely. It seems that Arguello was about to be fingered by his policewoman wife for a murder that had taken place some 20 years beforehand. To make things worse, someone has shot Arguello’s wife (he swears he didn’t do it), and she is hanging on by a thread in the intensive care unit. The cops think Arguello was responsible. Arguello enlists Navarre’s help in searching for the current-day killer and resolving the major inconsistencies surrounding the decades-old case. As the dragnet closes in, the tension becomes palpable; there is really nowhere for the beleaguered duo to turn, except to Navarre’s competent girlfriend, who stage-manages brilliantly from the sidelines.

Riordan uses the plot device of the flashback, cutting between the present and the mid-1980s, to excellent effect. Although the reader will have a pretty good idea of the identities of the bad guys (and/or women) fairly early on, Mission Road doles out its surprises sparingly, saving the best one for the final page (no kidding!). Riordan, whose first book for young readers is reviewed in this issue, is a triple-crown award winner (the Shamus, the Edgar and the Anthony, the three most prestigious awards in mystery circles), one of only a handful of contemporary authors accorded all three honors. With books like Mission Road to his credit, it is easy to see why.
© 2005, All rights reserved, BookPage

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief By Riordan, Rick

A BookPage Notable TitleClassic Greek mythology is mixed with modern adventure in this brand-new, action-packed series. After learning he is a demigod, Percy Jackson is sent to a summer camp on Long Island, where he meets the father he never knew–Poseidon, God of the Sea.

Hard-wired for an epic quest

Review by Linda M. Castelitto

Middle school is no picnic, especially when peer pressure, galloping hormones and embarrassing adults collide. And what if, on top of all that, you’ve been diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD, and your math teacher turns into a monster who wants to kill you? Such is the plight of 12-year-old Percy Jackson, protagonist of The Lightning Thief, the first book in a new series by award-winning mystery writer Rick Riordan. In his first novel for the younger set, Riordan has mixed Greek mythology and the vagaries of modern-day childhood—with fun, fantastical results.
Not long after the unfortunate incident in which he vaporizes his math teacher, Percy has an avalanche of shocking realizations, including the truth about his parentage (mom is human, and dad is, um, Poseidon) and a little-known aspect of the Empire State Building (take the elevator to the 600th floor, get out at Olympus). And the reason Percy has trouble reading? His mind is hard-wired to read ancient Greek.

Even as Percy reels at his new demigod reality, he is given an assignment of grave importance: he must travel across the U.S. to retrieve Zeus’ master lightning bolt, the recent theft of which threatens to start a civil war among the gods. Grover, a kind satyr and staunch environmentalist, and Annabeth, daughter of Athena, join Percy on his journey to the Underworld (it’s in Los Angeles).
Riordan creates rich characters and puts a slyly humorous, contemporary spin on the classic quest storyline. During their journey, Percy and his friends develop a strong bond—and realize that being different is something to be celebrated. Their battles are epic, their encounters with angry gods frightening, and an act of betrayal nearly fatal. In the end, though, good prevails and Percy learns the importance of responsible, wise choices. Bring on book two!

© 2005, All rights reserved, BookPage

Rick Riordan