The Magician’s Tale




The Magician’s Tale

By William Bayer

This book was previously published under the pseudonym David Hunt

A woman who sees what others cannot see seeks the murderer of a young street hustler, a man she had befriended in photographing San Francisco’s dark, sexually charged netherworld.

The colors of Kay Farrow’s landscape are black, white, and shades of gray. An achromat suffering from total color blindness, Kay possesses a vision that informs her world and sharpens her skills as a talented photographer. When Tim Lovsey, a handsome prostitute, is brutally slain, he becomes much more than Kay’s subject. She makes it her mission to find his killer, even though the police would prefer to quietly let the case drop.

Kay’s search for answers takes her back in time to an unsolved serial murder case with disturbing parallels to Tim’s killing- a case whose botched investigation led to her father’s ouster from the police force. Searching for the truth, she moves from the back alleys, exotic clubs, and dim corners of San Francisco’s underground, where-for the right price-any sexual fantasy can be realized, to the elite enclaves of the city’s most privileged class. Kay knows Tim’s murderer resides somewhere within these disparate worlds, at an intersection as gray and murky as the shadows that define her world.

Putting her life and all she holds dear at risk, Kay must sort through the riddles of the past before she can discover the shocking truth of Tim’s death. Along the way, she finds the chiaroscuro of culpability pointed in shades of lust, jealousy, greed, and desire.

The Magicians Tale was a National Bestseller and selected by The New York Times as a “Notable Book.” It won the Lambda Award for Best Mystery.


“A strange seductive story as eerie as a midnight walk in the fog. It is Kay’s extraordinary vision that arrests us; with the starkness of a reverse negative, it shows us light and dark, truth and deception, reality and illusion, even good and evil in ways we never imagined.”

“Brilliantly conceived and colorfully told.”

“…mesmerizes, but the book’s lingering spell lies in the way its heroine’s perspective enables us to see, as if the first time, her beloved San Francisco in all its chiaroscuro splendor.”

A vibrant, melancholy narrative voice and street-true characters. The story line traces a sophisticated puzzle with memorably jagged figures.”

“By warned that once you start, you won’t want to put down The Magicians Tale, a most compelling read.”

“If you like your thrillers atmospheric, kinky and brooding, then The Magician’s Tale is right up your alley. The writing is spare, savvy and San Francisco street-smart. This is one of those books that suck you in, page by page, until you’re firmly in the world created by the author. A very intense read.”

“Seductively written…compellingly suspenseful.”

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