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Mr. Clarinet (Max Mingus #1)

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,095 Ratings  ·  131 Reviews
Max Mingus wanted to turn down the case—fifteen million bucks on the table or not. The boy was dead, Max was sure of it. Three years had passed since Haitian billionaire Allain Carver’s five-year-old son was abducted. Why bother now? The huge bounty and the resources of the most powerful white family in Haiti hadn’t turned up a lead.

Sure, Max had been the best detective in
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published June 26th 2007 by Harper (first published January 1st 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,222)
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Jan 31, 2013 Stevedutch rated it it was ok
Author: Think I’ll write a crime novel for my debut!
Agent: Okay but whatever you do try to be original! But don’t ignore the tried and tested formula – make sure you stick with it.
Author: Oh don’t worry; originality was at the forefront of my mind. In fact I’ve already done quite a bit of research.
Agent: Okay – I’m listening.
Author: Well, for a start the ‘hero’ has to be tough, you know, a bit like Burke’s Robicheaux and Connelly’s Bosch.
Agent: Like it! And his wife must have died horribly like
Nov 08, 2013 Anna rated it really liked it
Mr. Clarinet is a first rate thriller. The protagonist, Max Mingus is out of prison having spent several years there for shooting four young men who had viciously murdered a young girl. An ex-cop turned private investigator, Max exits prison at a low point in his life. Shortly before his release his loving wife is killed in a car crash. They'd planned to tour the world. Because of his reputation for solving cases, no sooner is he released when he is approached by Allain Carver, a very wealthy ma ...more
Luther Obrock
So this book is a thriller, and it indeed thrills, so hence the two stars. Its writing is mediocre at best, but hey, it does the job, and the forward motion is never stalled by a well-turned phrase, so I suppose it keeps the interest level up.

My one and only problem with this book is that the author is utterly tone-deaf to American language, idiom, history, and politics. This in itself would not be a problem, but when the main character is supposed to be American... well, it turns out to be jarr
I’ve read quite a few assured debuts recently but this one blows most out the water. Using the detective/hard boiled tale to plumb into the troubling history and worried psyche of a nation is trick other writers use, but to do it with confidence as debut is rare. Nick Stone’s Haiti (set post-Aristide, Clinton era invasion, pre-earthquake) is as haunting and troubling as the last significant outsider portrait of Haitian Hell (the Mr. Stone’s outsider status can be argued) Graham Greene’s The Come ...more
Jan 05, 2009 William rated it really liked it
A whodunit set in Haiti, written by a former resident of the island. His descriptions of the poverty and deprivation, heat and dust are strong and jarring. He takes a few of the philosophical asides common to the "private dick" genre, a la Travis McGee or more recently, Carl Hiaasen. The digs at America's policies with the country, mostly Carter and Clinton, are deft and have an insider's ring of truth to them, though I did not sense any partisan edge to them.

The story hinges on the search for a
Mar 06, 2012 Karen rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
In Nick Stone's debut book, MR CLARINET, ex-cop, ex-PI, most recently convicted of manslaughter, Max Mingus is contacted whilst still in jail by the desperate father of a child kidnapped in Haiti. Despite offering millions of dollars as a reward, Allain Carver, part of the powerful and rich elite of Haitian society, has to pester Mingus in jail and after release, to take up the search for his son. Mingus has a reputation of getting to the bottom of kidnappings and disappearing children, and of t ...more
Timothy Dalton
Jan 10, 2011 Timothy Dalton rated it it was ok
This novel started out good, but as ex-private detective/ex-con/ex-cop Max Mingus begins to unravel the mystery of the missing child Charlie Carver he takes his years and years of training and with complete disregard to protocol throws all of that experience to the wind. He continues to make wrong turn after wrong turn. The way the story evolves reminds me of someone who is driving to their destination and then there GPS breaks, and even though one of the other passengers in the car knows the wa ...more
Jul 22, 2012 Jenn rated it it was amazing
I have never read anything about Haiti before unless you count some of the news stories from the horrendous natural disaster a few years back. So I wasn't really sure how much I would understand of how they lived. But this was the perfect story for me. It was a thriller (my fav) wrapped up with plenty of mystery (my next fav) and let me learn about some of the history and culture in Haiti. It's definitely portrayed as another world. Lawlessness, corruption, voodooism and all sorts of culture dif ...more
Andi Rahmat
Nov 20, 2015 Andi Rahmat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After read this book, i felt like the story. Mack Mingus must solved case about the loss of a child named Charlie. The case took him to Haiti. A family secret get prepared to analysed. I didn't expect if i will read about the family secret who hidden by member families. Plus the story also tell about mystic versus reality, Mack Mingus must confused to believe about what in front of his eye. In another, i like the place setting is Haiti because i felt like in Haiti. I think the story finished wit ...more
Mahareni Sukadi
Dari flashback-flashback Max Mingus tentang Solomon Boukman, juga tentang Sandra, kirain ini buku ke-3 dari serinya, ternyata malah buku ke-1. Kayaknya emank lebih nyambung kalo buku ini diberi judul Mr. Clarinet, daripada dialihkan menjadi Voodoo.

Keren banget buku ini, seruuuuuu. Sebelumnya gak gitu peduli sama negara Haiti. Tapi melalui buku ini, jadi ngeh sama sejarah politik Haiti, apalagi Nick Stone menyisipkan unsur sejarah itu dengan sangat mulus, gak bikin boring.

Sampe penasaran dengan p
Nov 27, 2015 Peter rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Skräp. Bitvis spännande men fortfarande skräp
Feb 03, 2014 Evelyn rated it it was ok
MR CLARINET , I give you two stars.

This book had a lot of potential, but sadly it did not live up to my expectations at all. The story took way to long to begin and due to this unfortunate fact I gave up on it on Page 186.

I don't know if my utter dislike of this book stems from my love of Karin slaughter and her fast paced crime novels , or from the fact that it felt more like a lesson in poverty and Haiti's politics than a search for a lost boy and the hunt for a voodoo priest/ Mr Clarinet.

Lily Malone
Dec 22, 2014 Lily Malone rated it really liked it
3.5 stars but it could have been more.
I feel like this book promised and promised and promised the entire way through, but in the end didn't quite deliver.
I enjoyed it. I finished it. It certainly made me keep turning the pages, and I found the first 2/3rds of the book the strongest. In the end, I felt the resolution was too easy. I was looking for more twists and turns, more double-crossing and certainly some kind of fight-for-your-life shoot-out for Max. The whole book made me believe somethin
Jul 31, 2011 Patrizia rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed that book a lot, real thrilling and it shows as well this voodoo culture of haiti..
Barbara Nutting
Feb 24, 2016 Barbara Nutting rated it it was amazing
Another terrific book - I just wish I had read them in order!! It took me awhile to read because I stopped to Google a million things he mentioned!! The shacks in Cite Soleil looked just like he portrayed them, only worse! His descriptions, though gory at times, are so real. You can smell the smells and really feel the poverty that dominates Haiti. I was there in the 70's and it WAS a "shit-hole"!! Along with a great plot I learned a lot of history still taking place there. This was truly a five ...more
Dani Noviandi
Oct 03, 2013 Dani Noviandi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Max Mingus, seorang detektif, juga seorang mantan narapidana gara-gara kasus penembakan terhadap tiga orang anak yang mencoba memperkosa seorang gadis kecil. Ia mendapati kehidupannya setelah keluar penjara sangat berubah drastis, apalagi setelah kematian istrinya Sandra, ketika ia di dalam penjara. Satu hal utama, ia kekurangan uang untuk membiayai hidupnya. Di saat itulah, ada penawaran menarik dari keluarga Carver di Haiti guna mencari anak mereka yang hilang, Charlie Carver. Memang, saat itu ...more
Sep 01, 2012 Sebastian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Max Mingus war mal Polizist und erfolgreicher Privatdetektiv in Miami, bis ein Fall sein Leben komplett änderte. Die Entführung eines kleinen Mädchens nahm ihn derart mit, dass er ihre noch nicht einmal erwachsenen Kidnapper bei ihrer Ergreifung voller Wut und Hass eiskalt hinrichtete – was ihm sieben Jahre Gefängnis wegen Totschlags einbrachte. Während all dieser harten Zeit war es allein seine Ehefrau Sandra, die ihn vor der völligen Selbstaufgabe bewahrt. Wenige Wochen vor seiner Entlassung s ...more
Elizabeth A.
May 01, 2010 Elizabeth A. rated it really liked it
Stone’s debut thriller Mr. Clarinet introduces Max Mingus, an ex-police officer/P.I. recently released from prison after serving 7 years for manslaughter. Unable to return to work as a P.I. in Miami, Max is persuaded to take a missing persons case in Haiti involving the disappearance of the son of one of the country’s wealthiest families. The child, rumored by locals to have been taken by a bogeyman known as Mr. Clarinet, has been missing for 3 years and the trail long since gone cold, but the f ...more
Sep 13, 2012 Peter rated it really liked it
Just who REALLY paid the piper?

Reading an author's debut book sometimes feels like a double edged sword, yes should the they be successful and go on to write a whole series about a particular character then you are starting at the very beginning, on the ground floor so to speak (unless the second offering, as in this case, is a prequal) but then the writing style may not be fully honed as yet and later books are above basement level. On the whole I feel that this a fairly accomplished first nove
Jan 04, 2013 Nicole rated it really liked it
Mr. Clarinet, interestingly, is the first of the Max Mingus trilogy but not the first chronologically. While I haven't read the second yet (The King of Swords ), it appears that book goes back in time and serves as a prequel. And, from what I understand, the last in the series. Voodoo Eyes, goes forward in time to when Max is 60, still on the tail of the elusive Solomon Boukman, the ever-present bad guy in the previous novels. Despite the interesting broken chronology of the narrative, it makes ...more
A Girl Has No Name
Mr Clarinet was my first book by Nick Stone and I definitively enjoyed it a lot. The character of Max is great and the fact that the book is playing mainly in Haiti makes the plot very exciting. I learned a lot about the country and voodoo religion. I also liked that no character was neither entirely good nor bad, but were all having a bit of both aspects. The plot itself was great, fast paced and not predictable. I would love to meet Max again in one of his other books. 4 stars for Mr Clarinet.
Becca Lynne
Aug 19, 2012 Becca Lynne rated it really liked it
I picked this up from the library on a whim and read it all in just about one sitting. Stayed up way too late. It was worth it. It's not an easy book to read. There's a general malaise about the conditions some of the character have towards their situations. There's also no shortage of carnage and abuse. For those of you with Triggers, I suggest staying away. For those of you without, it's not a literary masterpiece but it is very entertaining. My hope is that he gets back to this style whenever ...more
Donna Lewis
Feb 25, 2016 Donna Lewis rated it liked it
I am torn with this book. Four stars or three stars? I read it because I enjoyed The Verdict by Mr. stone. And, although I finally got into this book, I almost gave up at the half way point because I didn't think I could stand any more voodoo or the horrible living conditions of so many Haitians. The book did (finally) pick up, and the author does pull it all together. Stone really is a great storyteller. Hmmm, maybe I will try another...
Dena Starostovic
Dec 21, 2015 Dena Starostovic rated it it was amazing
I have the entire trilogy - although wasn't something I was looking for and to find VOODOO eyes outside of Spanish writing, was a lucky break. I loved the entire series. I have donated many of my hardcover books now to libraries and charities - but because of the hard work to find and keep all three - I have this entire trilogy as a favorite still on my shelf. Excellent story telling.
Becky Motew
May 01, 2016 Becky Motew rated it liked it
3.5 stars

Wow, don't want to go to Haiti any time soon. The setting is well portrayed and I like to learn something, so there's that.

Nothing like his second book The Verdict, which I liked very much.

Too many suspects if you ask me and too many entwining plots.It is a decent yarn but all the suspects are portrayed until there are too many.

Also, I don’t like gruesome.
Rose Clifford
Nov 12, 2014 Rose Clifford rated it it was amazing
I had to google where Haiti (Hay' tea) was, and then spent alot of time feeling bad about its political situation and its people. The writing is exceptional with its raw, gritty and absolutely scary details, need I say the voodoo bits in the story. Good pace, tight story line. I'm going to look for his other book 'King of Swords' you have a new fan Mr.Stone.
Jan 06, 2016 Dokusha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Der Titel in Verbindung mit dem Klappentext erweckte in mir den Eindruck, dies wäre ein Horrorthriller mit Voodoozauber und dergleichen.
Ich wurde angenehm überrascht, es ist ein "normaler" Thriller. Ein abgehalfterter Privatdetektiv und ehemaliger Polizist soll eine Kindesentführung in Haiti aufklären. Vor Ort angekommen, taucht er in eine völlig fremde Welt ein, sowohl gesellschaftlich als auch kulturell. Im Laufe seiner Ermittlungen stellt er fest, daß nichts so ist, wie es scheint...
Der Roman
Mickey Hoffman
Dec 27, 2015 Mickey Hoffman rated it liked it
Interesting protagonist, not the usual private eye with an addition, thank god. The plot kept me going, but I have to say I didn't like the setting, which is the nation of Haiti in 1996. There's a lot of information about the country and the culture, more than I really care about. Just not my area of interest.
Aug 20, 2009 Matt rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this whodunit thriller involving an ex-cop who is also an ex-PI who is also an ex-con named Max Mingus. It is set in Haiti and Miami. Max's job is to find a kid named Charlie Carver who had been kidnapped several years before. It is fast paced and entertaining. The writing left a bit to be desired, I though. The main thing that bugged me about the writing was that it was supposed to be about an American protagonist. However, he does things like ride lifts, plays defence, go to t ...more
Sep 24, 2009 S.D. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Max Mingus is a former cop just released from prison for killing three child murderers. Upon release he tries to pick up the pieces of his life which are hard since his wife died while he was in prison. There are two things that tempt him to take the case of a missing child. One is the fifteen million dollars he'll be paid. Two, and more important, is because the case involves a child. The case takes him to Haiti and the rich family in a country of poverty, corruption, greed, voodoo and black ma ...more
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Nick Stone was born in Cambridge in 1966, the son of a Scottish father and a Haitian mother. His first novel, Mr Clarinet, won the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel and the Macavity Award for Best First Novel, and was nominated for The Barry Award for Best British Novel.

More about Nick Stone...

Other Books in the Series

Max Mingus (3 books)
  • King Of Swords (Max Mingus, #2)
  • Voodoo Eyes (Max Mingus, #3)

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“Max walked back to Beeson, sidestepping a slalom path of dog turds leading into the kitchen. He’d narrowly missed standing in a tepee of turds that looked too deliberately arranged to be natural.” 2 likes
“Gustav Carver is Tonton Clarinette.” 1 likes
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