Mission Road by Rick Riordan
This entry in the Tres Navarre series is the one where the series definitely grows up. The first steps towards adulthood were already visible in Southtown with its multiple viewpoints and bigger emphasis on the psychology of the characters but here Rick Riordan takes the darkness and ‘meatiness’ of the series even further. In that way it reminded me of Robert Crais’ L.A. Requiem and Dennis Lehane’s Gone Baby Gone.
Tres’ pal / sidekick Ralph is suspected of shooting his wife, Anna and on the run from the law. Soon Tres joins him, helping him in stay out of the hands of the cops as well as with proving his innocence. The story shows the life of Anna’s mother, a female cop just like her and the relationship she had with her partner. It shows the influences of violence in the lives of the offspring of the crime boss White.
Characters like Ralph and White’s daughter might seem larger-than-life at first glance but they show a remarkable humanity and reality as the novel progresses. Yeah, it can be dark and heavy stuff but Rick always manages to keep the action going and makes the darkness bearable with Tres’ trademark sense of humor. It makes the novel enjoyable both for casual readers, looking for something to read waiting for the newest Spenser as well as the serious crime reader.