Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pierce’s Picks: “A Death in Valencia”

A weekly alert for followers of crime, mystery, and thriller fiction.

A Death in Valencia, by Jason Webster (Minotaur):
This may be another terrible week for president-wannabe Mitt Romney, but it’s working out to be a pretty terrific week for crime-fiction readers, offering several new and interesting books. Notable among those is A Death in Valencia, the second Max Cámara adventure from California-born author Jason Webster (following 2001’s Or the Bull Kills You). In these pages we find Chief Inspector Cámara of the Policía Nacional at a rather low emotional ebb, but with his plate full of cases. A prominent paella chef, Pepe Roures, has been murdered, his body found washed up on eastern Spain’s Mediterranean coast. An imminent visit by the Pope has incited the inevitable denunciations of abortion clinics, and a vibrant fisherman’s quarter on the Valencia waterfront has been put at risk by local politicians. It all threatens to become too much for the flamenco-loving, brandy-tippling Cámara, until he spots connections between these various troubles. Through the form of a detective story, Webster introduces us to the wonders of Valencia, at the same time as he explores some of the larger social struggles facing modern Spain.

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Also new in bookstores: The Cocktail Waitress (Hard Case Crime), a never-before-published tale by James M. Cain that focuses on a captivating young mother caught in a dangerous relationship between two men; Outrage (Minotaur), by Arnaldur Indridason, which finds Icelandic sleuth Erlendur Sveinsson missing, and policewoman Elínborg left in charge of case involving a suspicious homicide victim and a long-gone girl; Gun Church (Tyrus), a non-series novel by Reed Farrel Coleman about a teacher who’s initiated into a handgun-worshipping cult; and Daughter of Fu-Manchu, the fourth of Titan Books’ recent reissues of Sax Rohmer’s classic Fu-Manchu thrillers.

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