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on Nov. 14, 2012 :
A defrocked priest becomes a PI…a corpse is buried in a sand bunker for a golfer to find…What better start?
On the insistence of the bishop in Alicante, Max Castillo investigates the murder of Anthony Ortega, a real estate businessman of dubious repute. A young woman, Caridad, and a young man, Aurelio, whom Max helped when he was at the service of the church, are useful connections in providing him with information and protection against dangerous criminals who don’t want Max to dig into Ortega’s past.
Old and new crimes, and carefully guarded secrets are revealed as the story proceeds. There are speculative transactions--the buying and selling of parcels of land along the Costa Blanca--in which the Alicante diocese is involved; the old relationship of a retired priest with two altar boys; the infidelity of beautiful Esperanza, Ortega’s wife; the murder of Hilario Miguel, Ortega’s business partner on the verge of bankruptcy; competitions and gambling at the La Blanca golf course; the attempt of a French criminal ring to extort money from a local gangster…
Aboard his boat, anchored in the Benidorm harbor, Max spends time meditating on the need for religious believes, and on the reasons he abandoned the priesthood. His frequent meditations are accompanied by equally frequent intakes of beer.
Consulting the land registry of Gandia and vicinity (where most of Ortega’s properties are located) allows Max to pinpoint the culprits.
In a meeting reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s climatic finales, Max convenes all the people even marginally involved in the two murders and, with the help of inspector Nicky Garcia, offers proof of the murderers’ culpability.
My take on the book. Set in Spain, “Buried in Benidorm” is a refreshing mystery where violence is present (as required by the genre) but not glorified. The suspense is built step by step, scene by scene; several personas populate the story and almost each of them is a candidate for murder.
Written by Rene Natan, www.vermeil.biz
First place, 2012 Five Star Dragonfly Award for the Blackpox Threat
Finalist in the 2011 National Indie Excellence Award for the Blackpox Threat
Honorary Mention, 2012 San Francisco Book Competition for the Bricklayer
(review of free book)
on May 22, 2012 :
Maximiliano “Max” Castillo is a former priest now working as a Private Investigator probing crimes in a Spain coastal beach resort. Its touristy spirit is tangible as are the other sights and sounds of this European region. The murder of renowned local philanthropist, Anthony Ortega, also known bully and wife beater, reunites Max with the very diocese he was called to. Before Max interviews a single person, another local mobster begins threatening his life. Apparently, they don’t want him investigating Anthony’s murder. But why?
Still, the diocese wants Max to pursue this murder investigation with vigor. After all he still owes them a debt; his seminary tuition. Bishop Anderson Mendoza hopes the outcome proves Anthony’s wife the murderer, thus the church inheriting the mobster’s millions. HA! Even the church can be a greedy bitch. Who knew?
Tons of suspects fuel the twists and turns of this thrilling, captivating mystery with descriptive monologue and dialog that is well written and stout. It’s a stereotypical victimology, a much hated person who deserves to die, while suspicion floats from one suspect to another. And each possesses very good reason to off the s.o.b. Heck! After reaching the middle of the story, even I want to off the guy! This story kept me engrossed until the last page.
The vast cast of characters gives life to the coastal resort far across “the pond”. The main character, Max is not all that complex; a controlled alcoholic with a gambling problem who has lost his faith. A terrible way to be for any devoted Catholic (no sarcasms intended), more so for any loyal Spaniard. However what is most unnatural, he’s not a womanizer, as most Spaniards are branded. Interesting. But then I guess he’s too caught up in that next beer or the next horse race to pay attention to the opposite sex? The array of secondary characters was intriguing and endearing too.
Minimal typos or other editing blunders throughout the story; only a forgotten “a” or an extra “the”. These little nuisances never deter from the read. The story moved smoothly, and clearly. It was a delightful read and one I will enjoy opening again.
(review of free book)