Nick Sands
Created by Stephen Smoke

"She was the kind of woman who could knock a monk off a celibacy vow at twenty paces."

Subtitled "A Detective Story for the New Age," Trick of the Light introduced San Francisco private eye NICK SANDS who's hired by his client, Valerie, to find, uh, God.The woman in questions is Valerie Tyrell and she wants, Nick Sands, to find someone.

Her argument is that "Your ad in the phone book says you can find anybody. If God is everywhere, this ought to be a piece of cake."

Suffice it to say that it's not, and the book, according to its publisher, Beyond Words, soon becomes "two people's spiritual/philosophical question played out against the backdrop of the hardboiled detective genre... (as) Valerie and Nick encounter some of the most bizarre and thought-provoking characters this side of the looking glass. It is a journey that challenges their assumptions and beliefs about themselves, the nature of reality, and the universe itself."


Actually, the book was supposedly very well received within the New Age crowd, and a sequel, Cathedral of the Senses, followed in 2011.

In fact, Smoke's something of something of a renaissance man, with his fingers in a lot of pies. He's a musician and songwriter, author of over two dozen books (including two more traditional hard-boiled novels, featuring private eye Ace Carpenter) and filmmaker. He also founded the short-lived Mystery Magazine, and published one of the first online mystery magazines, Hamilton Caine's Mystery Digest, on CompuServe way back in 1984.


  • "Somewhere between Mickey Spillane and Tielhard de Chardin, Trick of the Light provides a kind of nourishment best described as 'private eye soul food.'"
    (Ralph Blum)



Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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    "...and I'll tell you right out that I'm a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk."