Mission Road by Rick Riordan

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RATING: 4/5

SYNOPSIS: When Tres’s best friend Ralph Arguello is framed for the attempted murder of his wife, police sergeant Ana Deleon, the duo (along with Tres’s girlfriend, Maia Lee) embark on a mission to solve a decades old cold case in under forty-eight hours.

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Maia Lee has been upgraded from “the girlfriend character” to actual character! I was so happy that she played a major role in this book and did a lot of the heavy lifting while Tres and Ralph were gallivanting across San Antonio looking for leads. She felt more like a person to me than she has in any of the previous books and I’m glad she had her own POV so we got to see her own thoughts and opinions that weren’t filtered through Tres. I enjoy the fact that Riordan has been switching POVs, but I felt that in this particular case it didn’t add to the stress of the situation the way it did in the previous book. For one thing the shooter is revealed at about the halfway point and then the shooter’s actions later didn’t make the situation too terribly stressful because the actions after the reveal never made me truly afraid or tense. The stakes were high in this novel, but they never felt high because to me the way everyone was written made everything seem calm and easygoing rather than the life-or-death situation everyone was in. I think because the flashbacks that were employed had more to do with backstory for the cold case than the current case are what slowed things down. Yes they were important to showing motive and to connect all the dots, but they took you out of the current situation for extended periods and it was a little hard to build the tension back up from it. However, the final flashback was excellent and I did not see it coming. It helped to end the book on a strong note and I was glad that the flashbacks actually went somewhere. Madeleine White was an interesting addition to the cast and I liked that there was some mystery to her even though Tres knew her when she was younger. I have a feeling she won’t be a part in the next book, but I would enjoy more of her especially since she took a big stand towards the end of the novel. While I do love Ralph and his and Tres’s weird friendship, I found myself missing Tres’s other occasional companions like Erainya and Jem, Kelly, George, and even his visits to his mother. I also wished that he’d go back to teaching medieval literature because I liked the books where he had to balance PI work and schoolwork. Other than the things that I wish would’ve happened over the course of this series, this was a solid installment to the series and I’m interested to see how Tres’s story will come to its finale.

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