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William Bayer

SWITCH is the first novel in WILLIAM BAYER’s Janek Series. A New York Times best-seller, it was adapted into the four-hour mini-series “Doubletake” starring Richard Crenna and Beverly D’Angelo, broadcast on CBS.

“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.

NYPD 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 Wallace that leads him at last to a blinding vision of the purpose behind the grisly double homicide.

And then, too late, he realizes that the case of “Switched Heads” may only be the bait….





SWITCH won the prestigious French literary award, Prix Mystère de la Critique.

“A hugely entertaining police procedural from the Edgar-winning author.” — New York Times

SWITCH puts its author in the rarefied company of those page-turner authors like Elmore Leonard, Jack Higgins and Frederick Forsyth. Writers, that is, who not only endanger the fingernails but give you enough food for thought to feed a small army.” — Philadelphia Inquirer

SWITCH satisfied all of my requirements for a psychological thriller.” — Washington Post

“William Bayer’s psychological thriller is a humdinger of a story, an amalgam of skillful plotting, penetrating characterization and genuine suspense. That’s a parlay that’s hard to beat, folks!” — San Diego Union

“A totally absorbing psychological thriller. SWITCH is a remarkable story of crime and superb detective work written with unusual skill and thoughtful characterization. It is superior in every respect.” – Best Sellers

“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

“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