After reading Suicide in Salobrena, I began to wonder how many people could a detective round up with motivations for my, or anyone's murder. We spend our days surrounded by people with their disappointments, jealousies, secrets, resentments, ambitions, etc which, thank goodness, generally do not result in murder, at least on the physical plane.
Suicide in Salobrena is a whodunit, with a why, and how that will keep the reader turning pages right up to the end. The murder of a famous writer looks like a suicide, especially since the victim died in a locked hotel room with a chair jammed up against the door. This detail adds fuel to Max Castillo's curiosity, so he takes on the case, despite being in Salobrena to attend a wedding.
As an aside, I enjoyed the setting. Salobrena is a village on the Costa Tropical in Granada, Spain. Cultural details added a nice touch for me and sparked memories of my vacation in Aiguablava. Spanish, and Italian political history shape and define several of the characters, adding flavor like in a good paella.
I found this third installation of the Max Castillo Mystery series to be a bit darker than the first. Max is an ex-priest who lost faith by reaching a scientific understanding of the human need for belief systems. This change has not left Max a happy fellow. He struggles with self-destructive addictions, namely gambling, alcohol, and weed. He is emotionally distant and unmotivated, reminding me of other flawed detectives in literature and film. Yet, Max has a self-depreciating sense of humor, jaded courage, and enough capacity for self-reflection to keep the character interesting. The reader hopes for Max's redemption, not in a religious sense, for his path is a valid one, but a redemption of his humanity where relationships, enjoyment and comfort can be found in life outside addictive crutches and general anesthesia. Without this complicated detective, the suicide in Salobrena would just be another small town murder.