Or The Bull Kills You


Or The Bull Kills You

‘Either you kill the bull, or the bull kills you.’

Chief Inspector Max Cámara thinks in proverbs – ones his Anarchist grandfather repeats all the time – but he hates one thing above all… bullfighting.

So when he’s roped into investigating the murder of Spain’s most celebrated matador, found dead in the middle of Valencia bullring, he has to deal with violent shadows from his own past, as well confronting the suspiciousness of the bullfighting community and the stonewalling of local politicians in full electoral campaign. To top it all, Fallas, the loudest fiesta in the country, has just got underway.

Meanwhile his girlfriend is having problems getting pregnant, and she’s blaming it on him.

For Cámara, it seems his problems have only just begun…

‘Webster…makes his scenes easy to visualize, uses believable dialog, and plays out the investigation in an assured manner. The author’s marvelously structured mystery not only reveals the complex politics behind bullfighting but also introduces us to colorful, tragic, and empathetic characters. The city of Valencia is a character as well, so strong is the sense of place…With its rapid pace and wonderfully flawed detective, this vibrant novel has tremendous appeal.’

Library Journal (starred review)

‘[A] remarkable first novel, a baffling mystery…Webster makes the bullfighting integral to the plot rather than a mere backdrop, effortlessly conveying the role of the sport in Spanish society. The well-rounded lead–cynical, willing to bend the rules, emotionally wounded–should be more than capable of sustaining a long series.’

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

‘An excellent first novel …. The author’s voice is fresh and authoritative, and both the setting (Valencia at the height of the bullfighting season) and the underlying subject (the rights and wrongs of bullfighting) are fascinating…. Highly recommended’

Literary Review

‘Webster has completely nailed Chief Inspector Max Camara, while vividly bringing to life Valencia’

Daily Mirror

‘The writing is superb… Webster’s prose is something to get your teeth into, with more muscle than the bulls of which he writes’

It’s a Crime

‘Cámara’s approach to policing is pleasantly quixotic, involving as little time on the job as possible, but the shambolic cop with virility issues is absorbing company and Webster captures the manic atmosphere of the fiesta’


‘More than a thrilling story of violence and detection; it takes the reader deep into the core of the Spanish culture… With well-portrayed characters – who could forget Carmen? – and a gripping plot led by a charismatic Cámara, Or The Bull Kills You is an excellent fanfare for what I hope will be a long series to come’

Shots Magazine

‘The antidote to all those dour Nordic thrillers has arrived in the shape of Jason Webster’s Chief Inspector Max Camara…. With local colour and a protagonist who is not afraid of life’s sensual pleasures, Webster’s creation, in the first of a planned series of books, has hit the ground running’

Glasgow Herald

‘A good descriptive writer who in Cámara has introduced an excellent addition to the detective genre, a hot blooded rival to the chilly Scandinavian heroes’


‘Webster has penned a great book’

The Bookseller

Background image "Orange Mood" by Pensiero on Flickr ¦ Radfoot