Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Mission Road

The sixth novel in Rick Riordan's Tres Navarre series is entitled Mission Road and is based on the most complex plot of any of the previous stories. Jackson "Tres" Navarre lives on the outskirts of San Antonio and works as a private investigator in the town where he grew up. For more than a decade after his father, a local sheriff, was murdered, Tres had escaped to San Francisco. Eventually he felt pulled to come back to his hometown. The trouble with such a return is that old labels are re-applied and you never seem to be viewed in the light of who you really are. That can often make folks strive to prove themselves more than they might otherwise. Such is the case with Tres.

One of Tres' best friends is a local pawnshop owner named Ralph Arguello. Tres and Ralph have a long history, all the way back to grade school. Amigos. Compadres. Yet Ralph, while a sensitive and loyal man, has a shady past a mile long. Ralph ends up marrying police sergeant Ana DeLeon, a relationship that severely affects Ana's lieutenant, one Etch Hernandez. Ana's mother Lucia had been the first woman in the San Antonio Police Department, and her partner had been Etch. However, Etch's misgivings about Ralph are apparently about more than just the fact that he has a criminal past. This comes to light when Ana takes on a cold case that her mother had been involved with, one involving the murder of the son of a very powerful local mobster and one that seemed to set Ana's mother on a downward spiral that eventually led to her death from alcoholism and depression.

The story of Mission Road is the slow unraveling of the long hidden truths associated with that murder. We come to understand more than just the cold truth of the facts. We learn how old injuries and hurts can solidify in our hidden places only to bubble to the surface when the right trigger comes along, how a moment can define our identity and our destiny, and how we can blame ourselves for situations that we ultimately were not responsible for. We also see a bit about the power of love and how something so sweet and beautiful can be affected and twisted into something hideous and far removed from our first innocent longings. A fine story. Now I move onto the final entry in the series, Rebel Island.