Spain is corrupt and on the brink of collapse.The king is ill, banks are closing, hospitals are in chaos, homes are lost, demonstrators riot and rightwing thugs patrol the street. The tunnels beneath the streets are at once a refuge and a source of anger. And as the blood flows Cámara roars in on his motorbike...
Cámara is back in Valencia and in the old police headquarters the mood is tense as the chief hunts for cuts – who will go, Cámara or his friend Torres? The two men are flung into action investigating the suicide of an ex- bank clerk and the brutal murder of a young American woman. As the city erupts around them, their case takes them into the heart of the trouble.
Sent on leave after his last, brutal, case, Max Cámara returns to his home town in La Mancha, famous for producing the finest saffron in the world.
There, the past keeps pulling at him. The town is exhuming a mass grave from the Civil War, but why is his grandfather behaving so strangely? His old friend Yago is investigating a particularly nasty murder which sets off memories Max has been trying to bury for years. And then there are Yago’s whisperings about a saffron mafia...
Max finds himself plunged into the thick of a complex and intensely personal case that will put him in severe danger and have him questioning his past – and his future in the police.
A renowned paella chef has been found dead; the town hall are set on demolishing El Cabanyal, the colourful fisherman's quarter on Valencia's sea-front; an abortionist has been kidnapped and with the Pope due to visit the city, the police are summoned to offer protection from crowds of the faithful and the danger of anti-religionists alike.
When one of Cámara's long term adversaries is put in charge of the missing abortionist case, tensions are quickly running high, and with ominous cracks spreading across the walls of his flat, Cámara soon has nowhere to turn.
Either you kill the bull, or the bull kills you - traditional proverb.
Chief Inspector Max Cámara hates bullfighting but one hot afternoon in Valencia he has to replace his boss, judging a festival corrida that stars Spain's most famous young matador. That night, he is summoned back to the bullring where the young matador's dead body now lies, naked and mutilated.
As the city prepares for Fallas, the five day festival of fireworks and celebrations, and the politicians work feverishly towards an election, Cámara hunts down his prey through the city's streets and bars. But as he follows the trail of death, money, corruption and sex in search of the killer, he must also battle his own demons and desires...