by Bruce TierneySeptember 2007
In the winner's circle
<b>In the winner's circle</b>By this point, there must be no trophies left for Rick Riordan to add to his mantelpiece. He is the triple-crown winner of the three most coveted awards in suspense writing: the Edgar, the Anthony and the Shamus. His Tres Navarre mysteries, typically set in the Texas Hill Country around Austin, offer a deft blend of hard-bitten urban PI fiction and the big-sky purple-sage romanticism of a Louis L'Amour western. In his latest adventure, <b>Rebel Island</b>, the aforementioned Navarre finds himself far from his usual haunts, both physically and metaphorically. For one thing, the perennial bachelor is tying the knot with longtime sweetheart Maia Lee, who is pregnant. For another, he has returned to an unsettling locale laden with bad memories from his childhood, Rebel Island, for a brief honeymoon with his bursting bride (and his ne'er-do-well older brother, who has tagged along for the ride). If that's not surreal enough, let's introduce a vindictive U.S. marshal, a trio of college druglords, a wily blackmailer and a grimly efficient assassin. Oh, and a hurricane of truly biblical proportions, for however difficult a mystery may prove to solve, it becomes exponentially more difficult when the wind is screaming around your ears and waves are lapping at your ankles . . . on the second floor! Red herrings abound (perhaps courtesy of the storm-tossed sea), the dialogue is smart and incisive, the characters superbly drawn. For longtime Riordan fans and newcomers alike, <b>Rebel Island</b> is a guaranteed-to-please page-turner of the first order.