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Trick of the Light

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

Thus begins Trick of the Light, two people’s spiritual/philosophical quest played out against the backdrop of the hardboiled detective genre.

The woman in question is Valerie Tyrell and she wants San Francisco private eye, Nick Sands, to find somone. She wants him to help her find God. She explains: “Your ad in the phone book says you can find anybody. If God is everywhere, this ought to be a piece of cake.”

On the road to locating the ah…”missing person,” 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 belief about themselves, the nature of reality and the universe itself.

Trick of the Light is different from Stephen’s other novels. “I wrote it about an experience I had in the early 70s. I originally wrote a musical, ‘White Light Train,’ about the experience but it didn’t communicate well to a large audience.”

Cathedral of the Senses is the sequel to Trick of the Light and protagonist Detective Nick Sands returns.

By the time he wrote Trick of the Light in 1989 Stephen had already written many mysteries and psychological thrillers, and published Mystery Magazine. In Trick of the Light he blended what was then called “new age” with the “hardboiled mystery” genre. He addressed life’s great questions — Who are we? Where do we come from? Is there a God? — in a mystery genre format, and created a story in which the beautiful client wants the detective to help her find God.

The reviews (see below) were terrific and he optioned the work to Hemdale, a film company that produced two Academy Award Best Picture Winners (“Last Emperor of China,” and “The Last Platoon”). The film never got made, but the author suspects that it will some day.

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Reviews for Trick of the Light
An Instant Classic*
*One of the TOP TEN Most Inspirational Books of All time!

(*Only ten books were recommended under the “Creative Expression” category in John Clancy’s A New Age Guide for the Thoroughly Confused and the Absolutely Certain. Along with Trick of the Light in the top ten, were such classics as The Little Prince, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and Hermann Hesse’s Magister Ludi, The Glass Bead Game.)


ROBERT ANTON WILSON, author of The Illuminati Trilogy — I heartily recommend the works of Stephen Smoke. His novels have chilling undertones, comic cadences and cosmic discoveries wrapped in entertaining adventure yarns of the astounding sci-fi New Age that is dawning upon us.

RALPH BLUM, author of The Book of Runes — Somewhere between Mickey Spillane and Tielhard de Chardin, Trick of the Light provides a kind of nourishment best described as “private eye soul food.”

KEN CAREY, author of Return of the Bird Tribes — And yes, at the end of the search the place of beginning is found at last — and seen for the first time. Not since Colin Wilson’s The Mind Parasites have I so thoroughly enjoyed a metaphysical novel.

BODY, MIND AND SPIRIT MAGAZINE — It had to happen sometime and Stephen Smoke has done it. An interesting combination of Mickey Spillane delivery with a New Age plot.

OMEGA NEW AGE DIRECTORY — If you read this as if it were a regular detective story, you’ll find yourself automatically skipping over some of the very best “occult” teaching…good stuff the likes of which you’ll never find in a Dashiell Hammett thriller… All the elements necessary for spine-chilling adventure…sandwiched in between enlightening truisms. Listen to the music Stephen Smoke plays loud and clear. You’ll recognize the familiar tune, and maybe, notice the trick of the light.

ARIZONA NETWORKING NEWS — would you believe a post-yuppie spiritual adventure that blends a hard-boiled detective story with new Age Eastern metaphysics? That would be quite an assignment, right? Well, Stephen Smoke, who is the author of Voices in the Night and Deliver Us From Evil, manages to pull it off.

SMALL PRESS BOOK REVIEW — This novel is filled with liveliness and imagination. The cast of characters is indefatigably entertaining…highly amusing.

Click Here to Buy Softcover from Amazon 
Click Here to Buy Kindle Version from Amazon 
Click Here to Buy Softcover from Barnes and Noble 
Click Here to Buy Nook Version from Barnes and Noble 
Click Here to Buy the Multimedia iPad Version in the iBookstore