“He wakes up screaming, a bullet in his head and his body buried in a shallow grave. He has no memory of life before this moment, just a single clue to the past: a ticket to a bullfight crumpled in his pocket with a phone number on the back.”
The Ray Banks books that I’ve read in the past have been set mostly in the North West of England – a lot of them featured Cal Innes and I’m a big fan of his. Matador is different though, it was originally released as a series of Kindle chapters before being compiled into a single novel which is how I read it and I devoured it in quick time.
Banks doesn’t make it easy for the reader, things aren’t as straight forward as you might like and the reasons behind the situation the Matador of the title finds himself in doesn’t become clear until right until the end of the book but this is never a frustration. Rather it acts as a spur to read on and to find out what the hell is going on.
Banks writes about the ex-pat community in Spain and let’s be honest it’s a particularly unsavoury section of that community and how they cope when things go wrong and when they come under attack. There is corruption, a lot of violence, a lot of violence. Is there any redemption for the characters? Possibly not.
Banks doesn’t resort to the stereotypes of fat British people living abroad in the sun drinking and eating a full English – I mean don’t get me wrong there are characters like that in the book but are they really stereotypes? I liked the view of the foreigners in Spain from the viewpoint of the Spanish characters and the combination of these viewpoints makes for an interesting look at how the two communities interact.
I’d put off reading Matador as I wasn’t sure about it but I needn’t have worried – Banks hasn’t written a bad book yet and I’m glad I took the plunge and finally read it and if you haven’t read the Cal Innes books yet then do.