Monday, June 18, 2007

Mr. Clarinet (Max Mingus) by Nick Stone

In this impressive debut by Nick Stone we meet Max Mingus, ex-con, ex-cop and ex-PI.
After leaving prison where he ended up after slaying a few rapists he returns to a world where he has to cope with the death of his wife. To flee his demons he agrees to search for a missing kid in Haiti. What he encounters there are voodoo-rituals, drug runners and pedophiles.
The story is bleak and offers a shocking view of child abuse, almost like Andrew Vachss offer us so often. In fact, the tough, Mike Hammer-like Mingus could be Vachss’ Burke’s lost brother. Mingus is so hardboiled he doesn’t always come off as very likable.
There isn’t too much violence in the book but when the violence shows up it’s pretty damn brutal.
The novel could have done with roughly 50 pages or so less but mainly it’s very enjoyable. At times it reads a bit too much like the Rough Guide to Haiti, detracting from the crime story but overall it’s one hell of a read. Especially recommended for fans of Andrew Vachss, James Lee Burke and Lee Child.

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