Saturday, April 28, 2007

Stone Plays His Cards Right

Most of you know how much I loved British writer Nick Stone’s debut novel, Mr. Clarinet, and how much I’ve been looking forward to his follow-up story, a prequel of sorts called King of Swords (due out under Penguin UK’s Michael Joseph imprint in August). Like the previous book, Swords will feature Miami ex-cop-turned-private investigator Max Mingus. Penguin recently sent me this teaser about the forthcoming work:
Miami, 1981. When Detective Max Mingus and his partner Joe are called to the scene of a death at Miami’s Primate Park, it looks like another routine--if slightly bizarre--investigation. Until two things turn up: the victim’s family, slaughtered; and a partly digested tarot card in the dead man’s stomach. “The King of Swords”--an increasingly bloody trail leads Max and Joe first to a sinister fortune-teller and her scheming pimp son, then to the infamous Solomon Boukman. Few have ever met the most feared criminal in Miami, but rumours abound of a forked tongue, voodoo ceremonies and friends in very high places. Against a backdrop of black magic and police corruption, Max and Joe must distinguish the good guys from the bad--and track down some answers. What is the significance of the “King of Swords”? What makes those who have swallowed the card go on a killing spree just before they die? And can Max find out the truth about Solomon Boukman, before death’s shadow reaches his own front door ...
Meanwhile, I understand that the new Webzine, UK-based Pulp Pusher, is planning a rather special exclusive in its next issue, due out this summer: a short story by Nick Stone. As PP’s enigmatic editor informs me,
Everyone knows Nick Stone is a massive talent, but let me tell you his latest offering is going to deliver the kind of punch the author was known for in his boxing days. The writing is as tasty as a bare-knuckle fighter with money on himself! Lean, mean prose that goes the distance.

When we got Nick’s submission--a short story based on the characters from his new book,
King of Swords--we wanted to put it up there and then ... but, hold the phones, we’ve got to be sensible. It’s up in Issue Two which is due in early July.

Pulp Pusher’s readers are in for one hell of treat. Nick Stone might just have, single-handedly, cleared most of my debt to The Pusher!
(To learn more about Stone’s boxing days, click here.)

So the next few months will be quite a busy time for Mr. Stone. In addition to welcoming the Pulp Pusher piece and King of Swords into print, Mr. Clarinet is finally due out in the States (from William Morrow) in late June. Furthermore, Mr. Clarinet is in the running for a Best First (Thriller) Novel award from the International Thriller Writers organization. The winner will be announced, along with victors in other categories, during ThrillerFest, to be held in New York City in mid-July.

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