Monday, April 6, 2009
"The King of Swords" Commands this book to be read.
"The King of Swords" by Nick Stone creates a place at the forefront of thrillers.
When Det. Max Mingus and his partner, Joe Liston investigate the death of a man whose body is found in Miami's Primate Park, it seems like a routine homicide.
The first indication of something unusual is when the deceased's autopsy is performed a partly digested tarot card is found in the man's stomach - the tarot card - The King of Swords.
The setting is in 1980, after the Mariel Boatlift when Castro emptied Cuba's prisons and expelled 125,000 people from Cuba into the United States. Many of these people were the most viscous criminals in that country. Now Miami is strife with drugs, murders, and superstitions.
Solomon Boukman runs an organization selling drugs, prostitution, extortion and anything else that will make money, illegally. He uses Haitian black magic and fear to control the members of his organization.
One of Solomon's employees is a pimp and petty criminal named Carmen. His mother is a fortune teller of great insight - Eva Desamours.
Max sees Carmen attempting to lure an innocent girl into believing he is a photographer and make her a prostitute. He roughs Carmen up and warns him to stay away from the girl.
There is a court scene where something unexpected happens, (without revealing a plot line). Max and Joe are assigned to the case.
It seems as a normal investigation until a family is found butchered. Solomon asks Eva to read his f0rtune as she as done before. This time, when Solomon cuts the cards, Eva sees something is planning against Solomon. The King of Swords comes up and represents "...a man of great power and influence, an aggressive man. It can mean a valuable ally or a fearsome enemy, depending on when it comes up in the reading."
With the emphasis on voodoo, the way Boukman is supposedly able to change his looks, his followers who have a religious or tribal connections and the way magic potions can almost make their victims into zombies, there is a major influence on John Connolly. It is almost as if Connolly's Traveling Man, or Caleb Kyle have returned to wreck mayhem once again.
This is a wonderfully entertaining book. A prequel to Stone's award winning "Mr. Clarinet." Highly recommended.