Gripping, hot-blooded detective fiction with an authentic Spanish setting perfect for fans of Michael Dibdin
This book marks Jason Webster's stylish move into fiction. He was born near San Francisco, brought up in England and Germany and after spells in Italy and Egypt, he moved to Spain, the subject of his widely acclaimed books. These include Duende: A Journey in Search of Flamenco; Andalus: Unlocking the Secrets of Moorish Spain; Guerra!: Living in the Shadows of the Spanish Civil War and most recently the mesmerising Sacred Sierra: A Year on a Spanish Mountain. He and his wife Salud divide their time between Valencia and their farm in the high mountains. See his website www.jasonwebster.net
"One of the most attractive figures to enter recent detective fiction... Like the best detective stories, this book becomes a scrutiny of our most powerful drives and secrets" -- Jane Jakeman Independent "Does for Spain what Michael Dibdin did to wonderful effect in his 'Zen' novels for Italy ... a marvellous novel ripe with passion, love and murder ... it is wonderful to read about a crime thriller in the sun - rather than the latest fashion of Swedish murders with its freezing cold and bleak weather, short days and long nights!" Crimesquad.com "Nifty plotting, great descriptions and the most enchanting new detective I've come across in a good while" Guardian "Camara's approach to policing is pleasantly quixotic, involving as little time on the job as possible, but the shambolic cop with virility issues is absorbing company and Webster captures the manic atmosphere of the fiesta" -- Siobhan Murphy Metro "He mixes the various ingredients of Valencian tradition, political factions and personal intrigue into a memorable paella of Mediterranean noir" Independent
Webster's remarkable first novel, a baffling mystery centered on the world of Spanish bullfighting, introduces Chief Insp. Max Camara of the Valencia police. Despite attacks from animal rights activists and politicians hoping to ride public opposition to bullfighting into office, the sport has had a resurrection, thanks to a charismatic young matador, Jorge Blanco. When Blanco's naked body turns up one night in an empty bullring, with two banderilla darts hanging from his back, a matador's sword in his rib cage, and a Spanish flag tied around his neck, Camara isn't pleased to be assigned what is bound to be a high-profile murder case. Webster makes the bullfighting integral to the plot rather than a mere backdrop, effortlessly conveying the role of the sport in Spanish society. The well-rounded lead-cynical, willing to bend the rules, emotionally wounded-should be more than capable of sustaining a long series. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Chief Inspector Max Camara might as well be in the ring himself as he investigates the brutal slaying of Valencia's star bullfighter. When a second, ritualistic death occurs, the pressure escalates. Which way to turn? There are the antibullfighting activists, animal breeders, local politicians, and two possible love interests to complicate his life. One question can't be avoided: Where did a gay bullfighter (rumor has it) fit into this macho society? Webster, who lives in Spain and who is married to a flamenco dancer, makes his scenes easy to visualize, uses believable dialog, and plays out the investigation in an assured manner. The author's marvelously structured mystery not only reveals the complex politics behind bullfighting but also introduces us to colorful, tragic, and empathetic characters. The city of Valencia is a character as well, so strong is the sense of place (map included). VERDICT With its rapid pace and wonderfully flawed detective, this vibrant novel has tremendous appeal. Conor Fitzgerald would be a good read-alike; it also would appeal to new fans of Zen (Michael Dibdin's Italian cop) thanks to the recent PBS Masterpiece Mystery! miniseries starring Rufus Sewell. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.