There is nothing more compelling for a mystery/crime fiction fan like me than a smart but flawed crime fighter. Sherlock Holmes has his cocaine, Philip Marlowe has his booze, Lisbeth Salander has her, well, take your pick. By adding Chief Inspector Max Camara of Spain's Cuerpa Nacional de Policia to this prestigious community, author Jason Webster dares tread on the hallowed ground of masters at characterization. And, by virtue of this fine debut, both he and Max belong there.
First of all, Max, born and raised in a country pretty much defined by bullfighting, intensely dislikes the national sport. This really wouldn't be all that odd for anybody who has adopted 21st Century political correctness. But Max is a cop, a member of an elite national corps of officers that deals with major crimes (e.g. murder) in Spain's biggest cities. It might stand to reason that this...
Beyond the Book
Bullfighting - drenched in symbolism, embedded in tradition - is as synonymous with Spanish culture as flamenco dancing and paella. It is a centuries-old blood sport to beat all blood sports with its ceremonial battle to the death between man and beast. An uneven playing field? Perhaps. Only recently, thousands of stunned fans, both in person and on television, witnessed as a bull gored then pinned to the ground matador Juan José Padilla, severely injuring his face, eye and head. This happened in Madrid just days after a final bullfight played out in Barcelona, capital of the Catalonia region of Spain, where the sport has recently been banned amid a swirl of controversy.