Synopses & Reviews
Miami, 1981. Cocaine Central.
Murder Capital, USA.
A man about to face evil.
A city about to catch fire.
When Detective Max Mingus and his partner, Joe Liston, are called to the scene of a death at Miami's Primate Park, it looks like another routine—if slightly bizarre—investigation. That is, until two things turn up: the victim's family, slaughtered, and a partly digested tarot card in the dead man's stomach—the King of Swords.
An increasingly bloody trail leads Max and Joe first to a sinister fortune-teller and her scheming pimp son, then to the infamous Solomon Boukman. Few have ever met the most feared criminal in Miami, but rumors abound of a forked tongue, voodooesque ceremonies, and friends in very high places.
Against a backdrop of black magic and police corruption, Max and Joe must distinguish the good guys from the bad—and track down some answers.
What is the significance of the King of Swords? What makes those who have swallowed the card go on a killing spree just before they die? And can Max find out the truth about Solomon Boukman before death's shadow reaches his own front door?
The King of Swords is a feat of black magic, combining a thrilling plot, unforgettable characters, and the uniquely menacing atmosphere that made Nick Stone's Mr. Clarinet the most celebrated crime debut of 2006.
"At the start of Stone's chilling second thriller, set in the early 1980s and the prequel to Mr. Clarinet (2007), Det. Sgt. Max Mingus and his black partner, Det. Joe Liston, think a decomposed body discovered in a primate park in Miami, Fla., is just one of the city's more bizarre murders. But when a tarot card the ominous King of Swords is found in the victim's stomach and his entire family killed, it's clear something darker is at work. The detectives are soon hot on the trail of a young Haitian pimp and his fortune-teller mother, who are thought to be linked to voodoo gang leader Solomon Boukman. Rumors abound about Boukman's human sacrifices and allegiance to the voodoo god of death, Baron Samedi, but few have actually seen his face. With police corruption rampant, Mingus and Liston realize that in order to take down Boukman, they'll have to hunt him alone. The violence is every bit as gruesome as in Clarinet, but Stone expertly harnesses it to propel his multilayered saga of good, evil and everything in between." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
“One of the brightest new stars in the thriller genre.”
Nick Stones first novel, Mr. Clarinet, took the crime fiction world by storm—winning enthusiastic raves (“Exquisite” —South Florida Sun-Sentinel; “A spellbinding thriller of the highest order” —Chicago Tribune) as well as a Macavity and a CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award. In The King of Swords, Stone brings back Detective Max Mingus in a chilling and mesmerizing “prequel” that combines murder, police corruption, and voodoo black magic. The King of Swords blazes with Miami heat—and it earns Nick Stone a permanent spot in the winners circle alongside the masters James Ellroy, Dennis Lehane, James Lee Burke, Walter Mosley…and Stephen King.
About the Author
Nick Stone is the author of Mr. Clarinet, winner of the Crime Writers' Association Ian Fleming Steel Dagger in 2006 and both the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel and the Macavity Award in 2007. He lives in London and Miami with his family.