For Tres (pronounced “trace”) Navarre, English professor turned private investigator, business has lately taken a drastic turn south. But if chasing down bail jumpers, adulterous spouses, and workmen’s comp cases seemed like the dregs of the PI game, it was at least a living. Not as much could be said for tracking down a man like Will “the Ghost” Stirman.
The stone-cold killer has just staged a bloody escape from the Floresville State Penitentiary with a gang of violent cons. And no one seems more worried than Navarre’s boss and mentor, Erainya Manos. It was her husband along with rival PI Sam Barrera who built the case that sent Stirman away. But Erainya’s husband is dead and she’s certain Stirman won’t let that stand in the way of his taking revenge against her and her adopted son.
All of Navarre’s instincts are screaming that there’s more to this case than meets the eye. But Erainya won’t tell him—and Sam Barrera seems to be escaping into a strange twilight from a truth too terrible to remember. That leaves Tres to dig into a twisted mystery of greed, vigilantism, and murder, where lives are bought and sold and the line between guilt and innocence is razor-thin. Meanwhile, Stirman and his gang are coming, leaving behind them a trail of brutal, unforgiving violence that will end in an area of San Antonio known as Southtown—but that may soon just as well be called hell on earth.
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- Publishers Weekly Editor’s Pick May 2004
- Superb — should delight old Riordan fans and win new ones. Publishers Weekly, starred review
- In prose as clean, sharp, frightening and final as bleached bones in the South Texas sun, Rick Riordan gives us tender monsters and flawed heroes: characters so human that I was alternately chilled and uplifted by the unexpected but completely believable courses of their lives. SJ Rozan, author of WINTER AND NIGHT
- Just when you think the shamus subgenre might have been milked to death, along comes talented Riordan to demonstrate what brisk pacing, smart plotting, and an immensely likable protagonist can do to revive it. Kirkus Reviews
- Jarring and effective — a tense adventure. The cast that Riordan has assembled around Tres has a satisfying roundness, and the story has a cagey, tightlipped warmth that Navarre fans will enjoy. The Washington Post More Reviews
- Riordan’s Navarre is tough to beat. Any reader who waits impatiently for every new Dave Robicheaux or Stephanie Plum mystery can add Riordan to his to-be-read list. He’s one of the real artists in the world of neo-noir. San Jose Mercury-News
- Riordan’s prose is smooth and tight. The characters are drawn with precision and economy and their motivation is utterly plausible. Where the book really shines, however, is the level of moral complexity and ambiguity Riordan achieves in this story. Set aside a block of free time before you start reading this book because, like a frightened rattler roused from its slumber, this one will grab ahold and won’t let go! The Mystery News
- High Noon with a twist.T The Toronto Sun