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The King of Swords Paperback – December 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (December 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060897325
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060897321
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,682,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. 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. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Miami Task Force (MTF) detective Max Mingus and his partner, Joe Liston, are summoned to Primate Park because a corpse has been found there. But the arrival of forensic specialists, ambulances, and uniformed cops allows 200 monkeys to get loose in metropolitan Miami. It’s just another day in a city already reeling from the cocaine epidemic, the violence of the cocaine cowboys, the Mariel boatlift, and the worst urban rioting since Watts. It’s 1981, morning in Ronald Reagan’s America. But the Primate Park corpse leads Max and Joe to the slaughtered family of the corpse and ultimately to a preternaturally cunning and brutal Haitian drug lord who has connections within the MTF, the Haitian government, and possibly even the CIA, and who terrifies even the Colombian drug cartels. At some 570 pages, The King of Swords is a big crime novel, and it is also a bit messy, but British author Stone has a grand story to tell, and he does it with panache. It’s the story of a city and an era (the Reagan reference isn’t gratuitous), at once hilarious and tragic. It’s a story filled with characters that range from honorable to morally ambiguous to frighteningly evil. It’s filled with voodoo rituals, crooked cops, street life, and wrenching descriptions of how bullet-riddled corpses decompose in tropical heat. Big and messy, yes, but also brilliant. --Thomas Gaughan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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I got a real kick out of both books,King of swords is much heavier very dark and scarier.
P. Andersen
Mingus is an intriguing character who is a dedicated tough cop with a few vices; Liston brings out the best and worst in him.
Harriet Klausner
While the tale told in each of these books is complete in and of itself, there is so much more yet to be written.
Bookreporter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on December 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In 1980 Primate Park security guard Larry Gibson notices a dead ape at 5:21 AM just when his shift is to end; he calls graveyard vet Dr. Jenny Gold who comes to take a look only to scream as the corpse is human.

Miami Task Force homicide detectives Max Mingus and Joe Liston take the case since they were driving past Primate Park. To the cynical cops the case is the usual finding a murdered corpse being the norm in town although a tarot card in the mouth of the victim is odd. However, the inquiry takes an eerie spin into Haitian voodoo as practiced by crime lord Solomon Boukman, abusive pimp Carmine Desamours and his mother Eva, more than just a tarot card reader, as she is a firm believer in using paranormal dark entities and deadly drugs to obtain what she wants.

The key to this excellent Miami police procedural is the refreshing Haitian voodoo that flows throughout the investigation. Mingus is an intriguing character who is a dedicated tough cop with a few vices; Liston brings out the best and worst in him. As good as he and Joe are, the imaginative story line belongs to the voodoo spin.

Harriet Klausner
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. Andersen on October 12, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Absoulutely Brilliant!!!.I've read Mr.Clarinet,the debut novel and was immediately mesmerized.I like the charecters he creates, the settings and the fast pace;reading any thing by this author is sorta like a roller coaster ride or a first date with a guy you know you'll have fun with, you just hope you don't get in a little TOO over your head.I have to say that with The King of Swords you're in over your head!! He takes no prisoners in this one,it's gritty, sexy,dangerous and all the other cool stuff you expect out of a crime suspense thriller.He'll have you "hooked on haitian" in no time!!.Please read Mr.Clarinet first,it helps if you know about Max Mingus and his partner Joe Liston first.I got a real kick out of both books,King of swords is much heavier very dark and scarier.You'll love both,ENJOY!!.
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Format: Hardcover
THE KING OF SWORDS, Nick Stone's sophomore effort following the critically acclaimed MR. CLARINET, prompts the question "What the heck is Stone doing?" and deservedly so. It also contains its own answer: "Who knows, but I can't wait to find out!"

MR. CLARINET was set in Haiti in the mid-1990s and concerned an ex-cop turned private investigator named Max Mingus, who had done hard time for murder. A prequel to this debut, THE KING OF SWORDS takes place in tumultuous 1981 Miami. Max Mingus is a cop assigned to the Miami police task force, set up to deal with the criminal aftermath of the Muriel boat lift. He and his partner, Joe Liston, are a salt-and-pepper team and best friends, despite being opposites. Liston is fairly straight arrow, while Mingus is not above administering the justice that is occasionally denied by the legal system.

They are tasked with a project aimed at the heart of the burgeoning cocaine trade occuring in Miami, even as a series of mass murders begin, seemingly tied to voodoo and the sudden influx of Haitian immigrants in the wake of the Cuban exodus. Their murder investigation leads them slowly but inexorably into the world of a mysterious and crazed fortune teller, and then to her consort, the enigmatic and deadly Solomon Boukman, the most feared criminal in Miami. Physically deformed --- some say deliberately so --- and with the apparent power to alter his appearance at will, Boukman will change Mingus's life in ways he does not foresee. At the heart of it all is a rare tarot deck, one that foretells victory or disaster with but the turn of a single card, the King of Swords. When this card foreshadows disaster for Boukman, it leads to a cataclysmic climax, one with dire consequences for both Boukman and Mingus, as well as for the city of Miami.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Frank J. Derfler on January 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Length: 2:46 Mins
King of Swords is "gritty". Would you like it? Would it make a good gift? In this video book review I give you the information you need to decide if you would like this book, but I don't give away the story! Frank Derfler author of "A Glint in Time"
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By Warren Olson on February 5, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The follow up to Mr Clarinet ; this is actually a prequel that introduces Max Mingus ; a slightly bent Miami based cop with a badly bent Superior / mentor. Sadistic voodoo driven Haitian's are the real bad guys however, in the usual fast paced Stone fare that makes for great reading. Hopefully 'Max' gets to feature in some similar well crafted tales before too long.
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By fan of gore on August 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very well thought out plit bearing in mind its set before mr.Clarinet. good charachters and well paced. I think it would benefit with a bit more graphic voilence for example check out Lee Weeks The Trophy Taker.
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