SYNOPSIS: While in Austin teaching a summer class at UT, Tres Navarre discovers that his brother is in debt from his failing start-up company and is also being framed for the murder of his best friend and business partner. Even with the evidence stacked against him, Tres believes his brother is innocent and as the bodies start to pile up it’s a race against time to solve the crime.
This book at first felt like a let down from The Last King of Texas. Riordan got rid of the amazing ensemble that he made in the previous book and brought back a love interest from Big Red Tequila that I didn’t really miss. Also at first it felt like she was brought back for unnecessary angst, but I changed my mind towards the end. The thing that kept this book from being a complete let down was the little emails written by the killer that were interspersed throughout the book and the grand finale. I wasn’t entirely sure where he was going with the emails from the killer because all the information in the emails were pointing to the most obvious suspect and I was going to be so disappointed if we knew the killer for the entire book, but luckily it was not the obvious guy, though I still figured out who the killer was on my own very early. I liked how Riordan blended the mystery within the mystery with the actual investigation because I didn’t figure out the second mystery and that was a lot of fun for me. However, I feel like the relationship between Tres and Maia Lee is a little forced. In The Last King of Texas, all of Tres’s relationships with the other characters had an easiness to them and some even had a potential to go deeper, but with Maia it felt like she was brought back to be the main love interest. She didn’t really do much except tell Tres “No!” (and of course he did it anyway) and in the end she was needed in order to save the day, but I wanted her to be more than just the lawyer girlfriend. Hopefully since she’s here to stay she gets more developed. This book also felt more angsty than usual because Tres and his brother were dealing with a lot of emotional baggage and I wish they had dealt with it more. It felt kind of like they wanted to dump stuff, sort through it real quick, and then be done with it. Neither character is a feelings-sharing type of person, so I wish there was a third party present to actually make them deal with things better so it came across as important rather than just a little detail to force conflict. Even though I found this book to be lacking compared to the previous one, I did like the story-telling risks Riordan took and the big finish was exciting and captivating!