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King Of Swords (Max Mingus #2)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  479 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
Such was the acclaim that greeted Nick Stone's amazing debut novel, Mr Clarinet, that a curious syndrome soon developed: if you hadn't read the novel (and claimed to have any interest in the crime genre), you had to say (to all who would listen) 'I really must read Mr Clarinet -- I've heard so much about it!' (preferably said with a pronounced guilty note in the voice). Su ...more
Hardcover, 576 pages
Published August 2nd 2007 by Michael Joseph
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Feb 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of hard hitting cops and killers books
Shelves: mystery, read-in-2009
Nick Stone's latest is a big muddle of a book about Max Mingus and his partner Joe's investigation (off the official books) of a Haitan crime syndicate in Miami. Mingus is the heir apparent to Eldon, a dirty cop in bed with mobsters and a political hack called the Turd Fairy. Eldon runs an "elite" squad of officers called the MTF, which investigates important crimes but also does Eldon's bidding by manufacturing evidence. Max knows about the manufacturing but not Joe at first. The crim syndicate ...more
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Still going strong with this series, still as creepy and still a favorit.
Jul 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
KING OF SWORDS is the second book from Nick Stone - MR CLARINET debuted in 2006 creating a big stir - tense and scary, set in Haiti, immersed in that country's culture and in voodoo in particular, MR CLARINET was a notable debut.

KING OF SWORDS, whilst it is the second book, is actually a prequel to the events in MR CLARINET - set in 1980's Miami where the central character from both books, Max Mingus, is still in the police force. Miami is portrayed very much as a city clinging to the edge of ci
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second in Nick Stone's Max Mingus trilogy. However, it's actually a prequel to the first book. This takes place when Max is 31 years old and working with his partner and friend Joe in Miami's MTF (special task force). This is a dense, heavy read. It's much more complex than the first in the series, Mr. Clarinet . I don't know which I'd suggest reading first--you could read The King of Swords first, really, and then move to Mr. Clarinet, but you can read them in published order, to ...more
Apr 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Thriller fans and John Connolly fans.
Recommended to Michael by: Written up in "Deadly Pleasures"
Det. Max Mingus and his partner, Joe Liston are assigned to investigate the circumstances surrounding a body found in Miami's Primate Park.

They think it's a routine case until a partially digested tarot card is found in the man's stomach. The tarot card is The King of Swords.

It's after the Mariel Boatlifr in 1980 when Castro expelled 125,000 people from Cuba, many were the most vicious criminals. Miami is strife with drugs, murders and superstitions.

Solomon Boukman runs an organization sellin
King of Swords, Nick Stone’s follow up to his debut Mr. Clarinet knocks it out of the water and most of his competition also. He has crafted a grand epic of evil, racism, greed, drugs, power, tarot, and voodoo (or hoodoo). Set in a very dramatic period of Miami’s history where the cocaine cowboys had turned it into the murder capitol, the Mariel boatlift, race riots, Haitians fleeing Baby Doc’s fascist corruption(U.S. endorsed), and Reagan’s rise to power and his war on drugs and machinations so ...more
Paul Pessolano
Nick Stone brings back Detective Max Mingus. We were first introduced to Max in his first novel, "Mr. Clarinet". In "Mr. Clarinet", Max finds himself trying to solve a crime that takes him to the island of Haiti. One of the more interesting aspects of this book was the incorporation of the history and plight of the Haitian people.

In "The King of Swords", Max is again trying to solve a mystery but this time in the city of Miami. Stone again uses the Haitian people and their efforts to establish a
Robert Intriago
Mar 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime-noir
If you like crime noir, you'll love it. This is the prequel to the author's first book: " Mr. Clarinet." That book won several awards including the Macavity and Ian Fleming Dagger. The main character is a very good investigating cop, but corrupt. He is involved in framing suspects, bad individuals, in order to pat the stats of the group and please a corrupt political system. Along the way he has to deal with Haitians in Miami during the Liberty City Riots of the early 1980s and the Murielito boa ...more
Sep 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

I read this book on a whim, I hadn't heard much about the author but I had seen the previous book "Mr. Clarinet" on the shelves. So when I got to know that this was a prequel book set in 1980 in Miami, I picked it up and immersed myself in it.

First in Hardcover, it a nice big book & secondly it has a very meaty story. The main character Max Mingus is the protagonist of this tale, however we are given views from other characters such as his partner Joe Liston, the pimp and some other charac
Tim Niland
Mar 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-reads
This vast, multi-layered crime novel never wavered in intensity and insight over the course of 550+ pages, and is an early front runner in the Best Book of 2009 Sweepstakes. It's 1980 in Miami and cocaine is flooding the city from Haiti and Columbia. The police are trapped in political conflicts and fighting a losing battle against the escalating violence. Max and Joe are old-school cops, and when they are called to the scene of a brutal homicide, they blow the lid off a massive conspiracy of dr ...more
Alvin Horn
Apr 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The King of Swords,
is romantically Violent; not in the classical sense of romance, in so that violent crime is the main focus through out but the main characters have lives in need of love of something(s). Two good detectives go up against a crime lord of has voodoo backed killer. The story is based in 1981 in Miami just as the Haitian population was increasing.
The King of Swords, tales of two men with some evil within themselves mixed with their good and moral souls VS the bizarre and heinous
Fidelis Satriastanti
It was a heavy read. I am not sure that I like the ending. It's sort of an open one maybe the author is preparing for a third.
Anyways, the plot was simple but got too complex with long narratives. I have to force my eyes to scheme them over. Because, the killings were not for the faint of heart.
Nevertheless, I like this new 'adventure'! I got to check out about Haiti and its culture. It was a very different run.
Plus, I get to know up-close about autopsies......

Overall, I find this book very a
Oct 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Glenn by: Cam:
This is the second book by Nick Stones (the first being Mr. Clarinet), but takes place some 25 or so years earlier. It mostly tells the backstory of Max Mingus and Joe Liston, characters from Mr. Clarinet, and their early years in the Miami police force. It centers around their investigation into Solomon Boukman, who runs a drug and prostitution empire, and the investigation of all of his associates. It reads like it could be a non-fictional account of the Haitian drug cartel and kept me engaged ...more
Travis Kendall
Voodoo, cocaine, murder, and Miami crica 1981. A jaded and corrupt detective and his partner

investigate a series of murders involving voodoo rituals amid the cocaine wars in Miami in the early

1980's. Stone does a great job of bringing the intensity of Miami alive during the era. He also throws in

lots of pop culture references from the era. The novel is quite bloody and bleak. The plot is interesting but

often predictable. Still,a real page turner and quite a good mystery/action novel.
Sebastian Haberland
Nov 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wie schon Vodoo - der erste Roman von Nick Stone - ist auch "Der Totenmeister" sehr spannend; mir stellenweise aber etwas zu brutal.
Obwohl in Miami (und damit im "Sunshine State" Florida angesiedelt) ein recht düsteres Buch, in dem die Grenzen von Gut und Böse immer wieder verschwimmen.
Beim Lesen fängt man irgendwann unwillkürlich damit an anselbst an Tarot und Vodoo zu glauben.
Eine Geschichte, die mich nach etwa 200 Seiten gepackt und bis zum Schluss nicht mehr losgelassen hat.
Sep 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
I would give the first half of this book 3 stars and the second half 5 stars. The first half of the book dragged somewhat for me. The author seemed to wander around a lot without real focus. The second half however got back on track and was the exciting follow-up to Mr.Clarinet that I hoped for. Like Mr.Clarinet, King of Swords, gives a lot of insight into the world of voodoo, hoodoo, and zombies.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2009, fiction
Not bad- entertaining enough. It was weird to me that I read 2 books about voodoo and zombies within about 4 weeks of each other. This book is written by a Brit and set in 1981 Miami. I often found myself wondering if what he was writing was based in any sort of truth or if it was all a perception he has of that time period - but that's neither here nor there. It's an easy fun read and if you're looking for some mindless entertainment, then check it out.
Jul 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
A decent read but a mixed bag. I hadn't read the first in the series, Mr Clarinet. In fact, I didn't even know it was a series. Still, no history needed, as this seems to be a prequel. It's imaginative and gripping in parts. But it's also somewhat uneven and the flow is broken by chunks of exposition that don't really belong. Also, weirdly, partner Joe Liston is more interesting than protagonist cop Max Mingus.
Aug 30, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Max Mingus and his partner Joe are working a bizarre case of murders in Miami in which the victims turn up with pieces of "The King of Swords" tarot card within their stomachs. The case seems to keep leading back to a Haitian sorceress and her pimp son.
The book has sections on Miami's infiltration by Cuban and Haitian refugees and the impact of these immigrants on the culture of the city. It also has background info on the Tarot and on various Haitian religions.
Barbara Nutting
Feb 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The name Nick Stone sounds more like a PI than an author but he is good! This was Miami Vice meets Haitian Hoodoo! I don't usually like this type of theme but he writes so well it didn't matter!! Very gory - don't read it while you are eating!! I'm hooked on Max Mingus - can't wait to read more!
Warren Olson
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 07, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
There is enough evil in ordinary humans, no need for aliens or zombies or supernatural powers.
This is the book for you if your life is too simple, your dreams too peaceful, your neighbourhood too bland and uneventful. Stone awakes in you every bit of fear, anger and hatred you didn't know you had in you. Raw, scary violence.
Roll over Stephen King, here is the real stuff of nightmares.
Joe Stamber
Apr 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2000s
KoS is a crime/thriller about yet another cop who plays by his own rules, trying to get to the bottom of a murder that leads him to an odd collection of criminals, etc. It's a well written tale that keeps the reader's interest without setting off any fireworks.
Apr 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Just as good, if not better than his first book, "Mr. Clarinet".
I could not put this thriller down. Miami in the cocaine 80's, Voodoo,
Haitian (boat people) immigrants, and Max Mingus make for a potent story.
Mar 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Superb follow up to Mr.Clarinet is actually a prequel, chronicling Max Mingus' tenure as a Miami cop and his run in with arch-enemy, the shape-shifting,fork-tongued and drug-dealing boogeyman Solomon Boukman. Violent, exciting and compelling. Read it!
Mar 04, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Just couldn't get into this one. Starts out in 1980's era where Reagan was just elected and in of all places a monkey zoo in Miami. Too much info on the monkeys and not enough with the story. Had to give it up.
May 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Great first chapter
Apr 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
Great book but not as great as Mr. Clarinet. This takes place prior to Mr Clarient and that sometimes bothers me. I love the voodoo tie-ins.
May 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2008-reads
Feb 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Better than Stone's other book (The Verdict), but the ending is still pretty obvious, and the characters need better development to avoid being mere stereotypes.
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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)
  • Mr. Clarinet (Max Mingus, #1)
  • Voodoo Eyes (Max Mingus, #3)

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