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A Death in Valencia Hardcover – September 18, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (September 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031258184X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312581848
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,414,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for A Death in Valencia:

"Tight plotting, rich atmospherics, and an engagingly flawed lead distinguish Webster’s second contemporary mystery."-- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Returning after a well-received debut, CI Cámara remains a fresh and appealing protagonist whether in victory or defeat."--Kirkus Reviews

"Max is a wonderful character, and Valencia is a splendid setting, but Webster also employs real, decades-long tensions in Spanish national affairs andcurrent tensions over legalized abortion and gay marriage to great effect. Fans of international crimefiction will love this series, and they are sure to add Valencia to their genre gazetteers."--Booklist

"[Camara’s] perceptions of what is wrong with Spanish society form an original background to a complex thriller." -- The Independent (UK)

"Jason Webster has made Valencia his own ... This is Chief Inspector Max Camara’s second outing, and his colourful personality is every bit a match for the vibrant but often troubled home of paella he has to keep safe." -- The Daily Mirror (UK)

"‘[Camara] is a lively addition to Mediterranean coppery."--The London Times

 Praise for Or the Bull Kills You

“Valencia looks dazzling in Jason Webster’s first novel.” —The New York Times Book Review 

“With its rapid pace and wonderfully flawed detective, this vibrant novel has tremendous appeal.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“[A] remarkable first novel, a baffling mystery.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“[A] superb Spanish police procedural . . . The country’s culture and heritage, the city, the two faced politicians, and the sport provide strong pillars to a terrific whodunit.”

 —Midwest Book Review

“[Max Cámara is]one of the most attractive figures to enter recent detective fiction. . . . Like the best detective stories, this book becomes a scrutiny of our own most powerful drives and secrets.” —The Independent (UK)

“Webster does for Spain what Michael Dibdin did to wonderful effect in his ‘Zen’ novels for Italy. . . . A marvellous novel ripe with passion, love, and murder.” —CrimeSquad.com

About the Author

Jason Webster was born in California and was brought up in England and Germany. After spells in Italy and Egypt, he moved to Spain in 1993, where he was inspired to write a number of highly acclaimed nonfiction books as well as the first mystery in the Max Cámara series, Or the Bull Kills You. He lives near Valencia with his wife, the flamenco dancer, Salud, and their two sons.


More About the Author

Jason Webster was born in Mountain View, California, and educated at St John's College, Oxford, where he studied Arabic and Islamic History. After living in the US, Britain, Germany, Italy and Egypt, he moved to Spain in his early 20s. He owns a mountain farm in Castellón province, where he plants oak trees, keeps bees, makes olive oil and distills liver-destroying firewater when not working on his new series of detective novels. He is married to the flamenco dancer Salud and they have two sons.

Customer Reviews

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See all 14 customer reviews
I read a lot of detective fiction and loved Webster's first outing with Max Camara.
R. Twigger
The Valencian setting for this story, which is extremely well described by the author, provides both a colourful and distinctive backdrop.
Brett H
This novel, besides being a good detective story, presents a fascinating picture of life and politics in Valencia.
Patto

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By sljk on September 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I couldn't wait to start Jason Webster's newest book; A Death In Valencia to see what Max has gotten into......and hopefully out of. Then sadly, I finished reading it.......now I'll have to wait until (hopefully) Jason writes the next chapter in Max's life. Suspenseful political innuendos combined with drugs, romantic sexual play-on-words and dry humor make for thrilling reading. Max is a likeable, loveable, sensitive, tender man who, if provoked, can break your neck with his bare hands. Max is truly an imperfect, inspiring detective who(like most people) is looking for answers..... Promising beginning for 3rd Max Cámara♥ book: hope I don't have to wait too long.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
Tight plotting, rich atmospherics, and an charmingly flawed lead distinguish Mr Webster's second outing in this contemporary mystery set in Valencia, Spain (after The Bull Kills You).

The over view;

Seven days after popular paella chef Pep Roures disappears, Chief Insp. Max Cámara, helps fish the chef's body out of the water off the port city. The following autopsy reveals that Roures drowned after being stabbed from behind. Roures was generally admired for his gastronomic ability, but he was a vocal adversary of the local government's plan for the so called `revitalization of the area' where his restaurant was located. As Cámara's investigations are just getting underway, he suffers an unsettling personal tragedy that forces him to shift his focus. He soon has a kidnapping to factor in as well as security safeguards for the imminent visit of the pope. Hence there is an undercurrent of downheartedness, as Cámara finds himself in conflict with the powers-that-be.

First impressions

At just over 200 pages, this novel is not overaly long, that said you might finding yourself having to backtrack several times to understand the latest "newest twist" in the narrative. I found I got a very good sense of Valencia; Spain in the reading of this book but I found that I was reminded of Andrea Camilleri's Italy and his Inspector Montalbano. While Max Camara Montalbano is a darker and more "political" character, the similarity, here was his impatience with the bureaucracy and impudent attitude was the same as Montalbano's. Both Montalbano & Camara share the same disposition for gastronomic delights, wine and women.
In conclusion then, one gets a very good story full of twists and turns, there are likeable and unlikeable characters, and a good sense of contemporary Spanish life. An enjoyable read!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. Twigger on July 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
I read a lot of detective fiction and loved Webster's first outing with Max Camara. What I relished was the feeling of 'being abroad with an insider' as I read the story. In this second in the series you get an even better insight into that most wonderful of spanish cities, Valencia. Webster takes Camara a step further as a character- which is always nice in a series. More please!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sid Nuncius TOP 100 REVIEWER on October 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I found this book surprisingly hard going for much of it's length. It is well written and has a good deal to say about modern Spain and the attitudes and rivalries which compete there, but as a story it took a very long time to get going and by page 100 I thought it was heading for 3 stars at best. In fact it picked up quite well and the second half of the book did draw me in and made it worth reading.

I think my problem with the book is that it is largely about Spanish politics: the struggle between the relatively new democracy there and those who want to return it to a deeply reactionary Franco-style state, the influence of the Church, corruption in the police and government and so on. It's well enough done, but doesn't leave a lot of room for plot and character (although I did find Camara himself to be rather well drawn.) Given what seemed like rather long periods away from the investigation of the crimes I also found that I had forgotten who various witnesses, suspects and so on were by the time they reappeared, which isn't something I usually have a hard time with.

Once things began to move and gel together a little I did enjoy the book (although I could have done without the cliché-ed Cornered Killer Climax) and have given it four stars for that reason and because I liked the writing which is unobtrusive, unpretentious and enjoyable. You need to be prepared for a long slog in the first half of the book, though, so I can only give this a qualified recommendation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brett H TOP 100 REVIEWER on September 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A Death in Valencia is a well written police procedural with a number of features which rank it well above the average offering in this genre. Max Camera is an interesting and complex character as the lead detective, and early in the book it is clear that the worrying cracks appearing on the walls in his apartment are mirroring similarly worrying cracks in his rather muddled personal and professional life. The Valencian setting for this story, which is extremely well described by the author, provides both a colourful and distinctive backdrop. The other element which permeates the whole of this tale is the degree of corruption and double dealing in the public life of Valencia and which seems to intrude on all aspects of the work of the police and the local government.

The book starts with the discovery of the floating corpse of a missing and renowned local paella chef, Pepe Roures. Paella is taken very seriously in Valencia so Pepe, who has been vigorously campaigning to save the ancient fishing quarter, El Cabanyal, from the developers is very well known locally. Whilst motives are at first not obvious to Camera, there is a further crime with the kidnapping of a pro abortion clinician shortly before the visit by the pope. Camera begins to see possible connections between these two crimes.

This is the second book featuring Max Camera, but this story can be read on a standalone basis without the reader feeling that they are missing essential background information. The plot is quite complex and interesting and towards the end the pace of the plot speeds up so that this ends up as something of a page turner.
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