In Or the Bull Kills You, Jason Webster introduces Chief Inspector Max Cámara, "a dope-smoking... proverb-quoting, flamenco-loving, Valencia-based murder detective." Webster brings the complicated Cámara and his Spanish backdrop to vivid life in this intriguing first novel.
Max Cámara normally takes his annual vacation during Valencia's Fallas festival, to escape the weeks of drunkenness, music and explosions. Unfortunately for Cámara, this year he was not only unable to take time off, but he also has to officiate at a bullfight. Unlike the adoring crowds around him, Cámara does not appreciate getting to watch Jorge Blanco, the most celebrated matador in Spain.
Later that night, Cámara ends up back at the bull ring, but this time instead of a dead bull, he sees the mutilated body of a dead Blanco. As the case unfolds, Cámara is forced to delve into the secretive bullfighting culture, a world he has always despised. There are no obvious suspects: Blanco's grieving fiancée, his rival matadors, his rumored lover and the bull-breeding family that raised him all seem to be genuinely mourning the loss of the popular celebrity. Then, there's a second brutal murder and the pressure from City Hall to solve the case increases. As Cámara grapples with its intricacies, he is also forced to confront a startling revelation from his girlfriend and the displeasure of his boss. Will the noise of Fallas drive the introspective Cámara over the edge or will he be able to solve the case before someone else dies?
Shelf Awareness sent me this book, and my review of it was posted over there earlier this week. As far as I remember, this is the only mystery I have ever read that was set in Spain.
Have you read any others? Have you been to Valencia and experienced Fallas?
And, the winner of last week's giveaway is commenter #9, Molly McCoy Koenig! She doesn't have a favorite Civil War novel, but she is a fan of Quirky Bookworm on Facebook.
Congratulations Molly, I'll be emailing you soon!
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