Blogs at Amazon

« Romantic Suspense: "She Can Tell" | Main | The Rho Agenda Series, Reviewed by »

Gangster's Paradise

In the new Kindle Serial Matador, a man wakes up screaming with a bullet in his head, buried in a shallow grave. A single ticket to a bullfight is his only clue to his troubled past. When the ticket leads him to British drug runners who want him dead they are going to have to fight hard to take out the Matador for good. Find out why Matador is set in Spain’s Costa del Sol with this guest post by author Ray Banks.

MatadorMy readers are demanding: "Enough of your grim northern cities, Ray. We want some glamour! How about you set your next book somewhere exotic, eh?"

I aim to please. That's why I set Matador on Spain's Costa del Sol.

Hey, back when I was a bairn, the Costa del Sol was glamorous as hell. In the 70s, package holidays had helped turn a fishing village like Fuengirola into a bustling, stucco playground for the hedonist on a budget.

By the 80s, some of those tourists had upped sticks and moved to Spain, building their own white-walled ghettos and turning into intransigent John Bulls, shopping for home brand goods in British-ruled Gibraltar, drinking their days away in the Red Lion, watching Sky telly while picking at their flaking, sunburnt skin.

By the early 90s, the expats even had their own soap opera named after the legendary city of gold. Unfortunately, both soap opera and its golden promise of an idyllic Iberian lifestyle were untenable fantasies. Thanks to the collapse of the extradition treaty between Britain and Spain in 1978, those who had fled the U.K. because of rising crime soon found themselves rubbing shoulders with the likes of former Krays associate Ronnie Knight and Great Train Robber Charlie Wilson while Clifford Saxe and Howard Marks ran drugs from Morocco over the Gibraltar Strait.

The Costa del Sol had become the Costa del Crime.

This peccant paradise fed into the iconography of movies like Stephen Frears' existential The Hit, Jonathan Glazer's neo-noir classic Sexy Beast, as well as the cinematic slurry that is Nick Love's The Business. There were barely literate, self-aggrandising memoirs from former hard men and wannabe Godfathers. The British tabloids - suckers for any story as long as it's coarse – lapped it up. But like everything else, it didn't last.

Today's Costa del Sol soap opera goes under a different title: The Young and the Vicious. Those old-school robbers and drug runners are about as dangerous as a T-Rex on Meteor Day, struggling with cirrhosis and new arrest warrants for ancient crimes (the extradition treaty was renewed in 1984). That's if they make it to old age. Charlie Wilson was shot dead in 1990, and now even the young Irish drug lords find themselves at the mercy of military-trained Russian gangsters.

This is the Costa del Sol of Matador. I hope it's sexy enough for you.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Interesting, but according to the link, this isn't "currently available."

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.