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The Anarchist Detective: (Max Cámara 3) Paperback – 5 Jun 2014

4.5 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (5 Jun. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099565978
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099565970
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 45.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 64,852 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Each Max Camara novel is a treat to savour" (Mark Billingham)

"A superbly balanced novel, it conveys a wonderful sense of Spain... [Webster] does for the country what Michael Dibdin did for Italy -- pure joy from first page to last" (Geoffrey Wansell Daily Mail)

"A gripping, intriguing thriller that beautifully evokes non-tourist Spain" (Sun)

"If you’re tiring of the frigid climate of Scandinavian crime fiction, a welcome antidote may be found in Jason Webster’s sultry (and elegantly written) Max Cámara series set in Spain. This third entry is the most accomplished yet" (Barry Forshaw Financial Times)

"Neatly and inexorably Webster links murder, present and past... Dialogue is stark" (Gwen Moffat Shots Mag)

Book Description

Detective Max Cámara faces a crime that reopens old wounds

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4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Max Cámara, the cynical, persistent, pragmatic, intelligent, likeable Spanish detective is back and better than ever. Valencia's most dogged detective is on leave, and in self-imposed exile in Madrid, to cook, read and have sex with the lovely Alicia. But is that enough for a man like Max?

Max is pulled back to his hometown of Albacete, a place he has sought to run from his entire life. The author expertly describes the mood of this provincial Spanish area; the stark landscape that surrounds the barely-enjoyable place is evident throughout. It's dirty, it's stuck in the past, it's a place where any man would want to leave his memories behind.

The character of Hilario, Max's grandfather, once again steals the show with this witty lines, stubborn attitudes and bold behaviour. Hilario is a link to the past that Max cannot escape, and as more details of the man's past, and the past of his relatives, come to life in Hilario's unremarkable apartment, the reader can learn more about Max than ever before. With the last two novels, Or the Bull Kills You, and A Death in Valencia, hints of Max's life have delighted and teased, but now so much of Max's troubled past bursts from the page, serving to illuminate the character and make him even more complex and yet more relatable.

Pressing issues in today's Spain dominate the storyline; when a young girl is murdered, Max finds himself on the trail of murderers and also corrupt leaders, their hands yellow with the stain of saffron smuggling. Max juggles this modern-day issue, along with ghosts of the past; the local cemetery is digging up Civil War and Franco victims, and the two events are more interlinked than Max could imagine.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"The Anarchist Detective" is British author Jason Webster's third book in his Max Camara police series. The first two novels - set in Valencia, Spain - were almost straight-up police procedurals. They were good reads; Webster caught the flavor and rhythms of the third largest city in Spain. But this novel, "The Anarchist Detective", rises to a higher level. Webster's writing is more assured and his plot and characters more interesting than his first two books.

"Anarchist" is set in the smaller city of Albacete, inland and southwest of Valencia. It is the birth place of Chief Superintendent Max Camara and he has returned to the city to help his ailing grandfather. He is on an extended leave from his position in Valencia and has been living with a new woman friend in Madrid while he decides on his future. While caring for his cantankerous old grandfather - who had been a Republican during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930's - he discovers some family secrets of that contentious and violent time. But the Civil War had not been the only difficult time for the Camara family. Young Max's sister had been raped and murdered and his parents died soon after, unable to cope with their daughter's death. Max was sent to live with his now aged and ailing grandfather. During his current stay in Albacete, while caring for his grandfather, another young girl is found raped and murdered and a bunch of bodies of people killed by the Franco government were found buried. One of those murdered was Max's great-grandfather. Oh, and there's also a saffron smuggling operation going on that Max is asked to informally look into.

If all of these plot points seem complicated, Jason Webster is able to weave them into an excellent story. His characters are all nuanced portrayals who catch the interest of the reader. Webster's first two books were solid 4 stars but with this one, he's moved up to 5 star.
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Format: Kindle Edition
There were some things about this third Max Camara novel that I found irritating. It seemed unlikely that a recent stroke victim with a speech problem could recount long passages of personal history and I felt the author could think of no other way of delivering the information even though I found it hard to believe. I also felt that there was some confusion between the saffron storyline, the civil war narrative, the murder of his sister and the current murder investigation. I think Webster, whose Duende is a wonderful book has some way to go as writer of fiction if as the cover of this book suggests , he is to be compared to Donna Leon. However, I've given the book 4 stars because Max Camara is a brilliant creation, a complex, intriguing man who, I feel , will continue to develop in interesting ways. So despite my criticism I am already looking forward to Camara's next outing and hope it won't be to long.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I know Valencia reasonably well and have enjoyed the Max Camara series. The books evoke their setting well and this one takes us into the themes of the saffron industry and continuing feuds and unanswered questions from the Spanish Civil War. There's a slight weak point involving Max and a former school chum and police colleague. But overall an informative, entertaining read and you really do root for Max.
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This is an intricate, brain-exercising story, expertly told. However, for me, parts of it didn't ring true. From the second chapter on, because I have known people who suffered from strokes and have seen what a devastating illness it can be, I found myself in conflict with one of the main character's (Max Camara's grandfather's) experiences throughout the book. Neither my husband nor I found Hilario entirely convincing, even as we enjoyed trying to decipher who the killer was, and what might have been his motives.
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