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Switch by William Bayer
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Switch (1984)

by William Bayer

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One of the really nifty things about the e-book revolution is that authors are bringing out some of their earlier works at very reduced prices making them irresistible. That’s how I discovered William Bayer. This is the first I have read, but intend to read all of them. They are excellent.

A killer is out there who has switched the heads on his victims who appear at first glance to have nothing in common; no link between them. Lt. Frank Janek and his partner are assigned the case. The killer is one of the creepiest I’ve read about in a long time.

There’s a parallel investigation that Frank runs on the side involving his old mentor who had committed suicide. That investigation soon also involves a switch.

For those who might wonder, the title of one of Bayer’s talks was, “Why are my killers always from Cleveland?” Bayer was born there and said in the same piece that he considered Cleveland his Heart of Darkness, although its not so apparent in this book.

Not so much a “who done it?” as why it was done. The characters are real, the investigation hard, the love story realistic if a bit coincidental. The results for the reader are excellent.

Re Janek: “He had been conscious for some time that all his relationships were tainted by his work. The searching look he applied to people, his constant quest for motives, strengths and weaknesses, figuring how to play someone, seize psychological advantage, manipulate, interrogate, break a person down—all of that, which was the essence of being a good detective, seemed to work against any possibility of intimacy. “ ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
One of the really nifty things about the e-book revolution is that authors are bringing out some of their earlier works at very reduced prices making them irresistible. That’s how I discovered William Bayer. This is the first I have read, but intend to read all of them. They are excellent.

A killer is out there who has switched the heads on his victims. The women appear at first glance to have nothing in common; no link between them. Lt. Frank Janek and his partner are assigned the case. The killer is one of the creepiest I’ve read about in a long time.

There’s a parallel investigation that Frank runs on the side involving the suicide of his old friend and mentor. That investigation soon also involves a switch.

For those who might wonder, the title of one of Bayer’s talks was, “Why are my killers always from Cleveland?” Bayer was born there and said in the same piece that he considered Cleveland his Heart of Darkness, although its not so apparent in this book. Judging from synopses of his other books photography and art play a role in most of his works.

Switch is not so much a “who done it?” as "why it was done". The characters are real, the investigation difficult, the love story realistic if a bit coincidental. The results for the reader are solid enjoyment.

Re Janek: “He had been conscious for some time that all his relationships were tainted by his work. The searching look he applied to people, his constant quest for motives, strengths and weaknesses, figuring how to play someone, seize psychological advantage, manipulate, interrogate, break a person down—all of that, which was the essence of being a good detective, seemed to work against any possibility of intimacy. “ ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
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I had handled cases which opened up gradually like fissures in the firm ground of the present, cleaving far down through the strata of the past.
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Passion and rage explode in a bizarre double murder. Two homicides a night were not unusual for New York City, but these weren't ordinary killings. Someone had decapitated the victims and switched their heads. Detective Frank Janek's job is to get inside the mind of the lethal genius who committed the heinous act.
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