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A Death in Valencia by Jason Webster
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A Death in Valencia

by Jason Webster

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This is a book about more than a singular death, it is an exploration of the nature of death and what constitutes murder. Max Cámara, the Valencia detective introduced in Or The Bull Kills You, cannot sleep: his street is being dug up as the new Metro line is being built, the summer heat pulsates, and Valencia is crazy as it prepares for the arrival of the Pope.
The city buzzes with pro- and anti-Catholic emotions, with pro-life and pro-choice campaigners lining up their arguments for the Pope. Meanwhile the police force prepares security for the visit, as a developer is ripping up the old fisherman’s quarter El Cabanyal to build new apartment blocks. On the first page, a dead body is washed up on the shore. A well-known paella chef.
Max has eaten the chef’s paella but is taken off the case to help hunt for a kidnapped woman, a gynaecologist who performs abortions. The eve of the Pope’s visit is the worst possible time for this to happen. As always seems to happen in crime novels, two seemingly separate incidents are linked. The link, in this case, is carefully plotted so I didn’t spot it until the end. For me, this is a deeper more intelligent novel than the first in the Max Cámara series [there are now four], perhaps because the author is settling into the genre and the character.
I must add that Valencia simply rocks in this book, it comes alive off the page, the heat, the tension, the grief. I can smell the summer dust.
Read more of my book reviews at http://www.sandradanby.com/book-reviews-a-z/ ( )
  Sandradan1 | Oct 29, 2015 |
"A Death in Valencia" is Jason Webster's second novel in the Max Camara series, following the very good "Or the Bull Kills You". Preparations are underway for a papal visit and in the meantime there is local unrest over two seemingly remote issues - destruction of old neighborhoods to modernize and extend the metro, and the government's abortion laws. And then there's a murder. The victim is a paella chef, perhaps the best in the city, and suddenly the story has more ingredients than a steaming serving of the city's most reknowned dish. As with the the first story, DIV has many criminals, most of whom work for the city government, and many of whom are related through marriage or have a common military experience. And then Max's flat collapses. And there was an abortion a long time ago, and a very personal one not so long ago. There is an awful lot to like about this book. I truly felt like I was in Valencia as I read it. Somehow, the author seemed to slow the pace of the environment, the language, the people, yet speed up the events of the story. The book was saturated with issues that envelope the Valencians in their daily lives and seemlessly wormed these issues into the fibers of the plot. This is a very well done book and I recommend it highly. It is not without its faults however. There are so many characters that a very lengthy explanation of who did what was necessary in the last ten pages - perhaps some of the characters should have been trimmed or the story lengthened to understand who's on first. The next book is due Summer 2013 and the author has wisely shifted the focus away from the bad guys of Valencia city government. ( )
  maneekuhi | Mar 7, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 031258184X, Hardcover)

A Death in Valencia is the electrifying second Max Cámara Valencian crime novel from Jason Webster, author of Or the Bull Kills You.                                             

Max Cámara is feeling low. Ominous cracks have appeared in the walls of his flat; the body of a well-known paella chef has been washed up on the beach; there are rows and threats about abortion clinics in anticipation of the Pope’s visit to Valencia; and Town Hall officials are set on demolishing El Cabanyal, the colorful fisherman’s quarter on Valencia’s seafront. As Cámara untangles these threads, he stumbles into a web of corruption and violence, uncovering deep animosities and hidden secrets, and forcing him to question his own doubts and desires. 

This is the second novel in Webster’s dark and witty series, following his widely praised debut, Or the Bull Kills You. The plot is fast and twisting, the scene-setting vivid, and the atmosphere powerfully authentic. Starring the determined Cámara, with his love of flamenco and brandy, and occasional doped-out high, A Death in Valencia delves into issues that rouse unruly passions and divide the Spanish people today.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:06 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Tackling frustrating challenges in the form of a chef's murder, local political uprisings, and plans to demolish a colorful fisherman's quarter, detective Max Cmara stumbles into a web of corruption that forces him to question his own doubts and desires.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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