Pattern Crimes




Pattern Crimes

By William Bayer

It begins when the strangely marked body of a young prostitute is found just outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. A similarly disfigured corpse of an American nun turns up. Then an Arab boy. As the list of victims grows, their only apparent connection is the bizarre markings on their bodies, it appears that Israel is facing its first serial murder case.

David Bar-Lev, chief of the Pattern Crimes Unit of the Jerusalem police, is not so sure. A tough yet sensitive investigator with a powerful intelligence and a querying mind, he begins searching for a pattern that will explain the apparently random killings.

At first the disorder is overwhelming, the case unfathomable. But then, as David probes deeper into this particular pattern crime, he is not so sure he wants to understand it. Pieces emerge that suggest that this time the key may lie within his own life. During the course of his investigation he must uncover and confront many painful secrets:

• The mysterious behavior of his father, Avraham, a retired psychoanalyst;
• The tragic suicide of his brother, Gideon, a talented fighter pilot;
• The hidden past of his beautiful Russian lover, the cellist Anna;
• The possibility of corruption within the Jerusalem police and the ultra-secret General Security Services(Shin Bet).

But despite the pain of these and other revelations, David probes on until he finally glimpses his astonishing solution—for, as one cop says of David Bar-Lev, “It is not enough for him to investigate. David has to understand.”

The Jerusalem of Pattern Crimes is not the idealized Holy City of the guidebooks. Depicted as the capital of an angry, anguished, torn-up nation, a city of prostitutes, narcotics dealers, lusting journalists, ruthless politicians and zealots of every stripe, it becomes here an arena for a remarkable story of crime and punishment.

This is a book about patterns – in love, in relationships, in politics, in art, in death. And always at the center is David Bar-Lev, one of the most memorable characters in recent crime fiction, relentlessly searching for the pattern that will unlock his case – the pattern he must uncover in order to clarify his vision … of himself, his family, and the country that he loves.

With Pattern Crimes William Bayer raises the detective novel to a new level of excellence. In the best-selling tradition of his previous novel, Switch, he has created a powerful story of psychological suspense and one of the strongest, most intriguing novels of recent years.


New York Times: “William Bayer has the reader panting to keep up with the pace he sets in ‘Pattern Crimes.’ The novel’s virtues: its intriguing intellectual hero, the multi-layered humanity he encounters in his investigations, and his fascinating observations on a Jerusalem no casual tourist gets to see.”

San Francisco Examiner: “Bayer has got the real stuff: a pounding narrative line; real people you can identify with; dialogue that snaps with authority even as it advances the exposition; a riveting sense of locale. Bayer is the new king of the crime fiction heap. At a minimum he has written one unputdownable book.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review): “A richly dramatic and thoughtful police procedural, a sort of ‘Gorky Park’ set in Jerusalem. Provocative and intelligent entertainment.”

Newsday: “’Pattern Crimes’ is a surprise from beginning to end¼. Bayer takes us on a psychological roller-coaster of a trip that is harrowing yet always controlled.”

Washington Post: “There is an electricity to Bayer’s writing – rich design, crackling fabric – that sets it apart from the usual competent thriller. Bayer is a bona fide novelist, you first think to yourself, but it is really the combination of the two, formula writer and writer-writer (not unlike Dashiell Hammett) that puts Mr. Bayer in a special niche.”

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