Saturday, September 24, 2011

"Or the Bull Kills You"

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 titles. He lives near Valencia with his wife, the flamenco dancer, Salud, and their son.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Or the Bull Kills You, and reported the following:
There is both tension and surprise on this page: Chief Inspector Max Cámara of the Spanish National Police loses a suspect in the murder case that he’s working on, and discovers the identity of the man who attacked him in the street the night before.

A heavy pulse thudded in his stomach, as the bruise where the kick had landed seemed to come back to life, like a dog sensing the presence of its owner.

Spain’s top bullfighter, Jorge Blanco, has been found dead in the middle of Valencia city’s bullring, and Cámara, who hates bullfighting, is having to investigate. Since the killing, Blanco’s manager, Ruiz Pastor, has been a hard man to find, but Cámara has just seen him race past in a taxi and has unsuccessfully tried to catch up with him.

Now, as he appears under the old city gates to see the taxi disappear, he catches sight of a man in uniform on the other side of the road.

The pain was insistent: he’d seen that face before, and it spoke to him of violence.

The surprising thing is, however, that this man, his attacker, is also a policeman, a member of the local force run by the Town Hall (Cámara works for the national police force run from Madrid).

If that had been the one who attacked him - and part of him was already convinced, despite his attempts to reason otherwise - then there could be only one person responsible. The only question was, why?

Cámara heads back to the bar where he first saw Ruiz Pastor pass by in the taxi. The journalist he was having a drink with there - Alicia Beneyto, a women he’s attracted to, but whose views on bullfighting he disagrees with - has gone. He’d been wondering about asking her out for dinner.

Cámara makes his way home, kicking at newspapers lying in the street with headlines blazing about the Blanco murder case.

On balance I’d say p.69 is very representative of the rest of the book. There’s tension, surprise, the city of Valencia is very present, my main character Max Cámara is central to the action, and there’s a reference to Alicia, a character who plays a significant role in this book and subsequent ones in the series.
Learn more about the book and author at Jason Webster's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: Or the Bull Kills You.

--Marshal Zeringue