Penguin UK Editor, Bev Cousins is very entusiastic about Nick Stone's KING OF SWORDS. Here she explains why:
Every so often a book comes along that is really special, a book on which the word gets out and everyone wants to read the manuscript or the advance proofs. In some cases it's the next big blockbuster and in others it will be a book that quietly and surely stands out from the crowd. In this regular series we'll hear from editors, publicists and various people from different parts of the company about the books that they are working on at the moment that they feel passionately about.
Last year, there was one novel that I simply couldn't stop talking about - Nick Stone's debut thriller Mr Clarinet, which I'm pleased to say, went on to become a bestseller in paperback and won the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for best thriller of 2006.
I thought it would be hard for Nick to top that novel. But with his second, King of Swords, he's not only topped it, he's delivered a real tour de force. No hyperbole there - it is a masterpiece of crime fiction, rivalling some of the greats of the genre for my favourite thriller of all time.
King of Swords is a prequel to Mr Clarinet and describes the first terrifying encounter between Miami detective Max Mingus and his nemesis Solomon Boukman, a man few have seen but who all fear. Beginning with the discovery of a torn-up tarot card in a murder victim's stomach, the novel takes Max and his partner Joe into a nightmarish world of black magic, murder, police corruption and voodoo sacrifices.
What makes this novel so special? Firstly it is Nick's effortless prose which recreates scenes so vividly - and often viscerally - it's like a film running in your head. Secondly it is his rich, energetic and detailed evocation of violent and crime-ridden Miami in the early eighties. And finally it is in an electrifying cast of original, multi-dimensional characters, from the menacing forked tongued Solomon, to the sinister Eva Desamours, a six-stone fortune teller who could give Hannibal Lecter a run for his money.
To my mind, Nick Stone is the most exciting and talented thriller writer to emerge on the scene since Jeffery Deaver. Few writers can shock you to the core, tug at your heart strings and make you laugh out loud all on the same page - but that's Nick Stone's specialty!