Author – Jason Webster
Published – 7 June 2012
Genre – Crime fiction
When I won my copy of Or the Bull Kills You earlier in the year I was lucky enough to also receive a sneaky copy of this second title in the Max Cámara series.
Set something over a year after Or the Bull Kills You, Chief Inspector Max Cámara is called to a packed beach where there is a stand-off between the Guardia Civil and the Policias Nacionales – neither wanting to make the first move and take responsibility for a body floating at the shoreline. Cámara seizes control, and takes responsibility, only to find that the body is the subject of his current investigation – the disappearance of a well-respected paella chef.
As with his previous novel, Webster provides the reader with background on some of the atmosphere, local traditions and colour of Valencia – both the good and the bad. As well as finding out more about paella, and the colourful fishing quarter where the ill-fated chef lived and worked, we also find out more about the corruption amongst the local politicians. Add to this a missing abortionist and the visit of the Pope – Webster again tackling moral issues, challenging the reader and his detective.
The story is well-plotted, and as events unfold we see more of Cámara’s character. He’s still smoking dope and drinking, but there’s less detail here than in the earlier book – enough if you didn’t read the first one, not too much if you did. His personal life isn’t any more organised – in fact he has the rug pulled from under his feet! The relationships between Cámara and some of his colleagues are also explored in a bit more depth.
Needless to say Cámara gets himself into a few scrapes during the story and there’s an exciting climax as all the threads come together. Perhaps, as before, the contrast between the slower-paced early part of the book and the climax is a bit too marked for me, but that’s just a personal quibble.
All-in-all this is another thoroughly enjoyable read – and a little bit of Spanish sunshine for our English summer.
You can see another review over at Gav Reads.