Books by David Hunt

TRICK OF LIGHT by David Hunt
Released: Oct. 5, 1998

Achromatic photographer Kay Farrow is pulled into a second case of murder when her old teacher is killed by a hit-and-run motorcyclist. Even though the San Francisco cops don't think Maddy Yamada's death looks like homicide, everything about it smells suspicious to Kay. What was a retired, respected photojournalist like Maddy doing on the streets of the seedy Mission District past midnight anyway? Why had she been renting a room on Capp Street and using it only at night? What's her obviously grief-stricken stepson David holding out about her private life? Taking over Maddy's nocturnal lease—it's a natural for her, since her color-blind, painfully sensitive eyes are much sharper at night—Kay soon realizes that there are good reasons she's getting phone threats and hearing the roar of a motorcycle as she walks through the neighborhood. But when she survives a showdown that leaves the cyclist dying in a hospital bed, her work is only beginning, since the mystery of Maddy's death isn't nearly as obscure as the mystery of her life. As she follows Maddy's annotation "THE GUN/FIND THE GUN/WHERE'S THE GUN," Kay's probing will bring her up against the Goddess Gun Club, a sinister group of well-heeled men interested in antique and erotic weaponry—and also, if the wilder rumors are to be credited, in reviving the customs of dueling each other and hunting down human prey they've captured or bought. None of this is believable for a minute, but Hunt keeps the juices flowing by exploring every facet of Kay's complicated relationship with her old mentor, lingering over her training in aikido and defensive shooting, and providing a covey of truly hissable villains. In fact, all this deluxe melodrama would read just like a mystery if only there were more surprises, and if everything didn't take twice as long as you expected. More conventional and less perversely stylish than Kay's striking debut (The Magician's Tale, 1997), but better focused and constructed. Take your pick. Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 1997

A color-blind photographer searches the dark side of San Francisco for the killer of the street Adonis whose sordid life she'd been documenting. Fifteen years ago, Kay Farrow's father and a quartet of other cops put an end to the city's ``T case''—five young hustlers murdered and beheaded—by recusing the sixth victim before he could be killed too. But the victim ended up dying anyway; all the physical evidence mysteriously vanished from the scene; and four of the five cops ended up, like the unknown killer, getting eased into retirement. Now that Tim Lovsey, the beautiful prostitute Kay had been photographing for months, has been killed and dismembered, Kay can't help wondering what her father will have to say about the case, and how it's connected to his own well-publicized failure. Kay, whose photophobia (she sees only shades of gray, and is blinded by bright light) has made her a creature of the night as well, sets out to take another look at Tim's dark world through wraparound shades and a Contex viewfinder—at least until a bunch of tough guys beat her and steal the camera. She learns that although Tim was repeatedly sought out by opera stars and society types, his first loyalty was to his twin sister Ariane—a twin whose life was bound uncannily to his by David deGeoffroy, the ``uncle'' who trained them both to his vocation in magic, worked with them for years, and then watched them vanish with half his savings. It's an extravagantly promising setup, but the unraveling is a letdown: Kay's three problems (connecting Tim's murder to the T case, fingering the killer, tracking down Ariane) turn out to have all too little to do with each other, and to hold all too few surprises in store. As an exercise in atmosphere, though, Hunt's first novel is as glamorously seedy as a pristine print of a vintage film noir. (First printing of 100,000; $125,000 ad/promo) Read full book review >