"He spent hours drawing sketches of how she might be killed. And the more work he put into them the more exciting the idea became. And then he started following her and then he was caught up. And the more caught up he was the more definitely she was doomed, for once an idea took hold in him he felt compelled to carry it out. It was the Switch that made his crime a work of art... "
At first the two killings seem unrelated. The lonely call girl murdered on New York City's West Side had never met the prim schoolteacher slain across town in the far safer preserve of the city's Upper East Side. But someone has decapitated them both and switched their heads: a deed that is apparently its own motive, a crime as pointless as it was perfectly executed.
Detective Frank Janek immediately knows that he has entered the realm of a lethal madness. Middle-aged, divorced, a man centered solely on his work, Janek is practiced in piercing the minds of the criminals he pursues. In the absence of clues from the killer, he has only the awful symmetry of the crime to work with, only his own finely honed intuition. "This was a crime conceived in the shadows," he thinks, "There was precision in it, and passion. Concentrated rage and a love of order. A need to beautify. Even some strange, unfathomable, as yet uncatalogued species of love."
The challenge—to become as precise, as creative, as cold as his prey-begins to take its toll. The tenuous psychological thread leads Janek back into the unsettled past—not only the killer's but his own. His own passion and rage and unresolved love. The love he bore for the man who trained him-a retired cop whose apparent suicide he has shied from investigating too closely, the passion for justice that has made him a marked man within the police fraternity. The rage he feels at ancient crimes that have finally burst into full and terrifying flower. And most of all, the new love he feels for the mysterious woman in whom all these strands of the past seem to converge. It is Janek's love for Caroline that leads him at last to a blinding vision of the purpose behind the grisly double homicide.
Too late, he realizes that the case of "Switched Heads" may only be the bait....
Praise for Switch:
I am very impressed. Switch is superior in characterization, movement, tension, the quality of the writing and the a mind of the writer. William Bayer goes right on my "look for list" —John D. MacDonald
"The crime is dazzling, the action fast paced, and there are good insights into police techniques and the police mind." —Robert Daley
"Switch is a novel in which the grit and madness of New York are palpable. As well as engrossing the reader utterly, it does high honor to the grand tradition of the American psychological thriller, and despite the riveting nature of its central act of horror, it also traces an exhilarating love affair between two bloodied but triumphantly humane survivors of the city's attrition." —Thomas Keneally
"Switch has the stunning intensity of The First Deadly Sin, and I can't think of a higher compliment." —Mary Higgins Clark