Or the Bull Kills You (Summary) ✓ Jason Webster

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Either you kill the bull or the bull kills you' traditional proverbChief Inspector Max Cámara hates bullfighting but one hot afternoon in Valencia he has to judge a festival corrida starring Spain's most famous young matador That night he is back in the ring and what he finds on the bloods I discovered this book by accident while looking to complete a challenge What a serendipitous find This is the first book featuring Chief Inspector Max Camara who has been asked at the last minute to preside over a bullfight as president of the ring He s less than delighted because he disapproves of bullfighting He becomes mesmerized by the display put on by famous bullfighter Jorge Blanco and accepts an invitation to meet him at a local bar along with many of his friends to celebrate his success When he fails to arrive a search party is sent out and his brutalized body is soon discovered Nobody on the police force wants to investigate this high profile case especially during a volatile election campaign It s assigned to Camara despite his pleas and when a second victim is discovered killed in a similar manner there s even pressure to find the killer There are several possible suspects including Blanco s female fiancee and male boyfriend Camara teams up with Alicia Beneyto a local newspaper correspondent who specializes in bullfighting so he can better understand the whole culture of bullfighting The book s title comes from a Spanish proverb Either you kill the bull or the bull kills you The setting of this book is Valencia Spain during Fallas the five day festival of fireworks bonfires and bullfights The author fairly presents both sides of the bullfighting culture including the history and pageantry of both man and bull I really liked Max Camara and have already picked up the second book in the series A Death in Barcelona

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Or the Bull Kills You

Tained sand shocks the city of Valencia to its coreAs Cámara hunts his prey through the streets and bars firecrackers echo for the festival of Fallas and the town hall election The anti bullfighting campaigners and the breeders of prize beasts fight to the death The bullring is a test of v I ve never been to Valencia After reading Jason Webster s Or the Bull Kills You I could have added that city to places I ve visited I had a great ten day vacation to Madrid a number of years ago The culture the food the music were all captivating Valencia in the words of the writer offers those joys plus many Max C mara is not without his flaws and demons but he is an excellent detective He takes his share of lumps but just jumps back into the assigned investigations The author has given the reader several scenarios to keep in mind for future novels in this series

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Irility but should it be a site of national pride or shame'Or the Bull Kills You' has a brilliantly authentic setting and a great detective with a love of flamenco and brandy This is the first of a series of books starring the uirky and forceful Cámara a man clearly destined to make his ma When you go to a bullfight she explained you re allowing yourself a moment s communion with the Heroic Age the world of Hercules Theseus and the rest So a bull represents where we come from a world we left behind many many centuries ago But it also represents something deeply Spanish And perhaps that is why Spain alone has retained this connection with its ancient bull rituals Think about it the stubbornness of the bull its unwillingness to give in even as pain and suffering is laid upon it And yet still it keeps running keeps charging at the matador Any other animal would crawl away and hide in a corner somewhere That s why the spectacle is uniue You couldn t do this with any other beast Not even an ordinary bull It has to be a toro de lidia a direct descendant of the ancient aurochs But this is why I think we Spanish feel a connection with bulls because we see ourselves in them in their behavior The stubbornness the pride the unwillingness to give in even if we re driving ourselves to our own deaths A bullfighter in the ring This image closely captures my mental pictures of Jorge Blanco the young heroic bullfighter in Webster s offeringMeet Chief Inspector Max C mara of the Valencia police force Cuerpa Nacional de Polic a Municipal Put simply in Spain this force deals with major crimes in cities while local forces solve petty crime and manage traffic duties At any rate C mara is in his mid 40 s and spinning his wheels He s passingly competent if not excellent at his job He likes his girlfriend but has shied away from serious commitment He has committed to freuent consumption of alcohol and marijuana He s content but not exactly happy He s shaken from his complacency when the city commissioner Pardo rushes to his door Pardo s frantic with fear that his three year old daughter may have meningitis On the way to the hospital he stops just long enough to ask C mara to take over his officiating responsibilities at that afternoon s bullfight Despite hating bullfighting almost to the point of being an anti taurino C mara feels that he has no choice but to agree Jorgo Blanco is without a doubt the star bullfighter of the afternoon The adoration of the fans is palpable Despite his ignorance of the nuances of bullfighting C mara recognizes Blanco s skill and awards him several trophy ears Later that evening C mara finds himself at a bar celebrating with aficionados of the sport They are eagerly awaiting Blanco s appearance and are in the beginning stages of inebriation when a rowdy band of protesters leave the organized demonstrators in the streets to enter the bar C mara finds himself in the role of mediator and has just calmed the opposing sides when a local policeman comes running into the bar short of breath with urgent news Blanco has been found dead ritualistically posed and mutilated in the middle of the bullring As the nearest officer to the scene Chief Inspector Max C mara has just earned himself the lead investigator role in perhaps the most sensational murder to hit Valencia If that wasn t enough it s election year and the incumbent town major is strongly anti bullfighting She s eager to sweep this mystery under the rug before Blanco s new martyrdom status raises the flagging bullfighting scene to new heights Can C mara muster the grit and the skill needed to piece the strands of this mystery together Will he take the easy road and agree to make C mara s male lover the scapegoat Or will he dig deeper into Blanco s connection with prize bull breeder Ramirez Read this interesting story to find out My two cents Webster clearly knows his setting and subject matter I felt instantly transported to Valencia and deftly inserted into their culture The sprinkling of Spanish words and phrases add atmosphere while not being heavy handed enough to bog down the story line for us English speakers There s also a glossary with translations included in the back I enjoyed the character development of Max However I do agree with other reviewers that he meets many of the classic mystery protagonist tropes despite his exotic setting The mystery itself moves at a good pace and the dialogue is decent The ending did feel a bit contrived Overall I give it 35 stars or a rating of Very Good This is an excellent mystery to pick up from the library or a book sale especially for those who like to read books which take place in foreign settings Favorite uotes Far from being concerned that the crime of the year had taken place under his nose on his watch the bullring guard had been interested in complaining about the inconvenience this had caused him C mara had encountered this kind of thing before one minute competing with the dead man for victim hood the next he d be down the bar milking it with his mates about having been there the night Blanco was butcheredPerhaps it was the shock he thought It could come in waves like this a delayed reaction as the various layers of him registered the violence of what his eyes had seen He never hardened against this not really He d always thought that a day would come when the sight of murder would cease to drain him so would leave him unaffected like a surgeon happily chopping away at his patients then going back to his family undisturbed by the blood and broken bodies that had filled his day But the moment had never come Perhaps it never would The wounds from the past refused to heal over ready to open up and bleed afresh whenever he witnessed the violence and horror that men could inflict on each otherAll this was as dead skin lingering after the life of their relationship had slithered away in front of him Further reading The history and culture of Valencia as told by Wikipedia write up of Las Fallas or the festival of noise and fire during which Or the Bull Kills You is set finally an incredibly in depth article detailing the history performers rules and cultural significance of bullfighting by Encyclopedia Britannica


10 thoughts on “Or the Bull Kills You

  1. says:

    I discovered this book by accident while looking to complete a challenge What a serendipitous find This is the first book featuring Chief Inspector Max Camara who has been asked at the last minute to preside over a bullfight as president of the ring He's less than delighted because he disapproves of bullfighting He becomes mesmerized by the display put on by famous bullfighter Jorge Blanco and accepts an invita

  2. says:

    The premise behind the book was appealing to me and it made for a interesting than usual narrative than this kind of book usually lends itself too There's also a fluid writing style to help it be a good page turnerHowever the strange fertilization of bullfighting around the book was weird as well as the main char

  3. says:

    Chief Inspector Max Camara is in the area of the Valencia Bullring when his called to a case of a murdered and mutilated body of a famous matador Jorge Blanco had almost singlehandedly revitalised the Bull Fighting scene with his financial approach to ensuring the sport was really a sport and not a money making racket Where there

  4. says:

    good reading

  5. says:

    I've never been to Valencia After reading Jason Webster's Or the Bull Kills You I could have added that city to places I've visited I had a great ten day vacation to Madrid a number of years ago The culture the food the music were all captivating Valencia in the words of the writer offers those joys plus many Max Cámara is not with

  6. says:

    This is a really great series of crime novels featuring Inspector Max Camara Set in the Spanish city of Valencia Jason Webster manages to bring to life the city and it's people In the first Max finds himself investigating the murder of bullfig

  7. says:

    When you go to a bullfight she explained you're allowing yourself a moment's communion with the Heroic Age the world of Hercules Theseus and the rest So a bull represents where we come from a world we left behind many many centuries ago But it also represents something deeply Spanish And perhaps that is why Spain alone has retained this connection with its ancient bull rituals Think about it the stubbornness of the bull its unwillingness

  8. says:

    Having just spent a wonderful week in Seville with my daughter and having toured its majestic plaza de toros I fell into this book with abandon I am not a huge mystery fan I tend toward thrillers and historical fiction I decided to give this a try due to its locale On that front I was not disappointed I learned so much about bullfighting its history the rationale behind it the reasons why the Spaniards refuse t

  9. says:

    A bull fighter is found dead and then crimes follow Max Camara Chief Inspector comes into play to solve this mystery while Jason Webster takes the reader through a journey of spanish traditions and bull fights My impression was that Webster tries desperately to give this feeling of degradation that exists in all sucessful neo noir novels Howe

  10. says:

    PROTAGONIST Chief Inspector Max CamaraSETTING Valencia SpainSERIES #1 of 5RATING 325WHY In the city of Valencia Spain there are strong forces both for and against bull fighting an event which has always dominated the scene When possibly the best bull fighter of all time Jorge Blanco is murdered the sentiment sways back to the pro forces Chief Inspector Max Camara on the anti side is assigned to head the inves

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