Saturday, October 4, 2008

The King of Swords-Nick Stone

The King of Swords
Nick Stone
Harper, Dec 2008, $24.95
ISBN: 9780060897314

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