Friday, November 21, 2014

The Devil Went Down to Austin

The fourth novel in Rick Riordan's Tres Navarre series is entitled The Devil Went Down to Austin and I can tell you that I am definitely loving this series. These books are based around a well-developed protagonist, a private investigator/scholar/everyman named Jackson "Tres" Navarre. A man with deep personal convictions and a wry sense of humor that really just adds to his appeal. Each of the novels was developed to be a stand-alone effort, but one thing that I like is that many of the same "background" characters appear in the different books. This only makes sense when one lives in a relatively small town. However, new foils and antagonists are introduced, but they have been introduced in a rather organic manner, such that they fit into the world that Riordan has established for his lead.

In this story, Tres finds out that his brother Garrett is in some financial trouble. Garrett is actually Tres' half-brother, a sort of hippy who lost his legs in a train accident. However, Garrett is a top-notch programmer, and he has quit his long-held job to go in with a few partners to form his own company developing cyber-security systems. For a time, Garrett's effort was growing and showing promise to be a major success. However, during beta-testing of his product, a number of serious deficiencies became apparent and law suits were filed. All of a sudden the buy-out offers that had been coming in offering their millions were now reduced to offering only pennies. Garrett knows that someone has sabotaged his code and is screwing him out of his planned future. When Garrett's two startup partners are murdered, the evidence all points directly to Garrett as their killer. As Tres gets involved, he meets a number of folks, some seemingly kind and gentle, some marked by pure greed, who all seem to have some connection to this case.

Definitely a professional effort. Crisp, well written, layered, and enjoyable. I move now to the fifth novel in the series, Southtown.