This novel won the Mystery Writers of American Edgar Award for Best Novel.
Circling high over Rockefeller Center is a peregrine falcon, the most awesome of the flying predators. She awaits a signal from her falconer. It is given: The bird attacks, plummeting from the sky at nearly 200 miles an hour, striking a young woman and killing her instantly.
By chance, newscaster Pamela Barrett witnesses the slaying. Her impassioned account of it on television that evening thrills the falconer - a brilliant madman who identifies with his deadly bird and, through her, seeks catharsis. He becomes fascinated with Pam and enmeshes her in a bizarre and deadly scheme, even as she finds herself drawn to him by an erotic need she does not understand.
As killing follows killing, the terrified city becomes the backdrop of an extraordinary drama. Police and the media engage in cutthroat competition to find the murderer. Two predator birds are pitted in a fight to the death above Central Park. Call girls, rich eccentrics, striving careerists, dealers in the black market for rare birds - all play their roles in this study of secret passion, desire, fulfillment, and ecstasy. The ancient sport of falconry, in which birds are trained to hunt and kill on command, is the key to the spectacular operatic finale.
For all its excitement and intricate detail, Peregrine is more than a thriller: It is a study of secret passion - desire, fulfillment, ecstasy. In the falconer, in Pam his prey, and in the burnt-out detective who finds in this case a means to his salvation, author William Bayer has created vibrant characters each of whom is both hunter and hunted, each of whom fulfills the others in extraordinary ways.