Adrian Magson is the author of 20 crime and spy thrillers, including the Harry Tate series, the Lucas Rocco series and the Marc Portman series. His latest books are ‘The Locker’ (Midnight Ink - Feb 2016) the first in a new thriller series, and ‘Hard Cover’ (Severn House - March 2016), the third of his Marc Portman novels.
In this, the second Chief Inspector Max Cámara novel set in Valencia, Spain, Max is landed with the corpse of a local restaurateur floating off-shore. But he’s not just any chef, known for his excellent paellas; Pep Roures has been a thorn in the side of many people, mostly the local town council who wants to bulldoze the run-down but historic district of El Cabanyal, where his restaurant is based, and build a newer, more modern seafront. Did one of them finally kill him off?
In between treading the political minefield of this situation, and the inter-agency feuding of the Guardia Civil, the Policías Municipal and the Policías Nacionales, he is facing his part in the impending visit of the Pope for the World Families Conference, at which His Holiness is expected to denounce abortion and homosexuality. None of this will go down well with the pro-campaigners, and trouble is brewing.
Then the building housing Max’s home collapses, killing a young mother and her son, revealing that kick-backs and fraud involving members of the council and the builders has resulted in the sewers never being connected, causing the structure to rot from the base up.
Now homeless, and with a blanket of sweltering heat settling over the city, Max begins to unearth a history involving an abortion going back years, and the likelihood that it involves some very important people.
Jason Webster captures in a superbly economical but brilliantly descriptive way the sticky, cloying atmosphere of a city bubbling over; the naked ambition and ruthlessness among local politicians, the in-fighting and back-stabbing among the various levels of the police, and the historically based distrust of authority among local inhabitants, all in a city facing destruction in the name of progress.
Most of all, though, is the effective way he describes the minutiae of Max’s life, from his clothes, his habits, his friends and neighbours, his lifestyle and his dogged determination not to be ground down and join the general level of corruption endemic everywhere else.
I really enjoyed this book and MUST go back to ‘Or the Bull Kills You’ – his first one.