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 taking those searches very much to heart. Carver has been trying, with various other PI's for 3 years, to find his missing infant son. Charlie Carver is not the only child to go missing in Haiti, and a lot of previous investigators have died or been left scarred trying to work their way through a violent and dysfunctional society.
Stone's Haiti is a country very much on the edge, with occupation forces patrolling streets and gangs controlling others, society conventions are disrupted, there is economic meltdown and increasing slum living conditions, confrontational voodoo practices and rituals are being openly used and discussed, and drug lords enforce their brand of tribal law.
This is a big, elaborate thriller of a book, with action, violence and ritual liberally interspersed throughout. A little judicious editing would have been of some benefit as some of the middle sections of the book drag slightly, and some of the voodoo rituals, whilst perhaps thought to add some colour, came across as pointlessly gratuitous.
All round, a good thriller which, despite showing some weaknesses, indicates promise for a second book.