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Blood Med by Jason Webster
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2.5 stars really for personal reasons
"the characters talk politics almost more than they speak of the murder. "
read more: http://likeiamfeasting.blogspot.gr/2016/04/blood-med-jason-webster.html ( )
  mongoosenamedt | May 7, 2016 |
Page one, Spain waits, the king lies dying. There is the feeling of a nation on the edge. In Valencia, there are homeless on the street, immigrants are being harassed, the police department faces cutbacks despite rumblings of public unrest, and there are not enough drugs for the sick.
‘Blood Med’ is the fourth in the Cámara Valencia-based detective series by Jason Webster. There are two deaths and Cámara and his colleague Torres are given one case each, the hidden agenda is that one of the two men must be made redundant. One death is suspected suicide, the other a brutal murder. In the way of crime fiction, you know there will be a connection but that connection is of course invisible at the beginning.
The detective, orphaned young and raised by his grandfather, now lives in Valencia with elderly Hilario plus Max’s girlfriend, journalist Alicia. Both Hilario and Alicia have key roles in this story. Hilario is a huge influence on Max’s approach to life, and he often recalls his grandfather’s fondness for proverbs when he finds himself in a sticky situation. ‘Visteme despacio que tengo prisa’ he tells himself when he feels the investigation is being rushed. It translates as ‘Dress me slowly, I’m in a rush’. He feels the investigation has tunnel vision; that it is being rushed and would benefit from a step back. “If he could have his way he would send everyone home for the rest of the day to switch off. Go to the beach, go wherever. And have sex – with someone else if possible. If not, whatever. If helped clear the mind.”
This is the most accomplished Cámara novel so far, the setting in Valencia is so strong and the political background feels very real. The ‘corralito’ described [the government decree to close the banks] feels very real. There are a lot more stories to come in Max Cámara’s Valencia.
Read more of my book reviews at http://www.sandradanby.com/book-reviews-a-z/ ( )
  Sandradan1 | Oct 28, 2015 |
The 4th book in the Max Cámara series, which means if, like this reader, you've missed the first three, there's something to look forward to.

Set in post financial meltdown Spain, BLOOD MED is part crime fiction, part police procedural, part analysis of a society that's bottomed out. The King's illness seems to have provided yet more impetus for riots and thugs roaming the streets. Against this backdrop the brutal murder of a young American woman, and the suspect suicide of an ex-bank clerk seem oddly dwarfed. Not helped by the Machiavellian games being played by Cámara's boss setting him and his partner and friend Torres off against each other - budget cuts meaning one of them is going to lose their job.

Add to the tensions in the police, the health service is rapidly falling apart, with insufficient drugs for patient treatment, banks are foreclosing and leaving properties empty all over the place, and some people have been forced to live in the tunnels of the ridiculously expensive, and unfinished underground rail system. Needless to say, official corruption is at the heart of so much that's wrong.

It all feels like a very current day, and one can't help thinking very realistic, scenario. And there is a lot of concentration on those societal aspects in BLOOD MED. Whilst the investigation of the murders does continue, often times it definitely does feel like the society dysfunction is all encompassing. And very personal.

Alongside Cámara there are a number of other main characters - Torres his colleague, his girlfriend Alicia and his much loved grandfather Hilario. All the main characters play reasonably high profile parts in the investigation and in the way that society is viewed, analysed and highlighted.

For a book that's 4th in a series it's quite easy to get into, there's enough background on the characters to give you a good understanding of how everyone fits together. It actually makes you want to go back and read the earlier 3 books.

BLOOD MED is crime fiction that uses the setting of the murders as a way of taking a long, hard, detailed look at the society in which they occurred. This is less crime fiction for fans of investigations and closure as it is for those who are looking for the why, and how things can get to the extremes of murder.

http://www.austcrimefiction.org/review/review-blood-med-jason-webster ( )
  austcrimefiction | Dec 12, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0701186917, Hardcover)

Stunning, urgent novel starring the Valencian detective Max Cámara, a tale of corruption and brutal crime in a collapsing Spain.
     After months away in Madrid, Chief Inspector Max Cámara is back in Valencia, with his partner Alicia and his anarchist, marijuana-growing grandfather Hilario. In the old police headquarters, the mood is tense, as the chief hunts for cuts -- who will go, Cámara or his friend Torres? The two men are flung into action on seemingly separate cases, the suicide of an ex bank-clerk and the brutal murder of a young American woman. Around them the city is erupting into demonstrations and near riots. The king is ill, banks are closing, hospitals are in chaos, homes are lost, demonstrators riot and rightwing thugs patrol the street. The tunnels beneath the streets are at once a refuge and a source of anger. And as the blood flows Cámara roars on his motorbike straight into the heart of trouble. 
     This dazzling new Cámara novel -- tightly plotted, constantly surprising -- full of vivid characters, exposes the dark underside of today'’s Spain. A powerful, gripping page-turner, it confirms Max Cámara as the detective to watch, feeling the pulse of the moment.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:25 -0400)

Spain is corrupt and on the brink of collapse. The king is ill, banks are closing, hospitals are in chaos, homes are lost, demonstrators riot and rightwing thugs patrol the street. The tunnels beneath the streets are at once a refuge and a source of anger. And as the blood flows Camara roars in on his motorbike... Camara is back in Valencia, with his partner Alicia and his anarchist, marijuana-growing grandfather Hilario. In the old police headquarters, the mood is tense, as the chief hunts for cuts - who will go, Camara or his friend Torres? The two men are flung into action investigating the suicide of an ex- bank clerk and the brutal murder of a young American woman. As the city erupts around them, their case takes them into the heart of the trouble. This dazzling new Camara novel - constantly surprising, full of vivid characters - exposes the dark underside of today's Spain. A powerful, gripping page-turner, it confirms Max Camara as the detective to watch, feeling the pulse of the moment.… (more)

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