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William Bayer

With THE DREAM OF THE BROKEN HORSES, New York Times bestselling author WILLIAM BAYER (described by Robert B. Parker as “a first-rate master of heart-pounding suspense”) returns with this breathtaking, multilayered tale of a twenty-five year old society murder and the many long shadows it still casts. This riveting, sharp-edged psychological thriller may be Bayer’s finest, most compelling work to date.

A man and a woman are making love….

One hot summer afternoon a quarter century ago, a wealthy socialite and her young lover, a private school teacher, were gunned down in a cheap hotel room on the outskirts of the Midwestern city of Calista. Now, forensic sketch artist David Weiss has returned to his hometown to cover a routine celebrity murder trial for ABC. For someone who has earned a reputation for cracking high-profile cases with his portraits of suspects based on eyewitness accounts, churning out courtroom sketches is pedestrian work. But Calista holds other attractions for David. First, there are the welcome attentions of CNN reporter Pam Wells. Then there’s the notoriously unsolved double murder at the Flamingo Court motel that has haunted him since boyhood.

Like his psychoanalyst father before him, David becomes obsessed with one of the Flamingo victims, the beautiful and tragic Barbara Fulraine, as fascinating as she was enigmatic, and with the bizarre circle of friends, gangsters, columnists, and lovers who surrounded her. David’s father believed that if he could unlock Barbara’s troubling, recurring nightmare — which she called “the dream of the broken horses” — his solution would mark a watershed in his career. Now David, armed with old news clippings and transcripts of police interviews, as well as an extraordinary psychological case study of Mrs. Fulraine recently discovered among his deceased father’s effects, seeks to use his highly honed professional skills to reassemble the face of her killer. But with each eyewitness interview and each fresh stroke of his pencil, David finds himself being hurled along a path of ever-darkening mystery, obsession and dread.

The French edition of THE DREAM OF THE BROKEN HORSES  was awarded the Prix Mystère de la Critique for best foreign crime novel.



San Francisco Chronicle:  “A smart and stylish whodunit that allows readers to take an unusually hands-on approach to solving the crime at hand. . . .What’s different in this novel is that Bayer includes plenty of source material – police reports, medical records, diary entries – creating a ‘Rashomon’-like atmosphere in which the narrative keeps shifting underfoot. . . . You don’t want to miss anything. . . . The stress level increase as the clues at last fall into place. The climax echoes with a satisfying ring of truth.”

Publisher’s Weekly :  “The investigation into a 25-year-old double murder of a wealthy socialite and her young lover is renewed with vigor in this sharp and sexy thriller from Edgar-winning author William Bayer. A classy and compelling psycho-erotic tale….”

Boston Globe:  “This is a fine book, complex, disturbing…the plotting is meticulous, the writing clear, the characters fascinating.”

New York Times:  “Bayer’s psychological thriller takes a young forensic artist back into his Midwestern hometown to investigate an unsolved double-homicide that has haunted him since boyhood. His eerie sketches of the imagined murder scene suggest the otherworld beauty Bayer is after.”

Booklist (starred, boxed review):  “Edgar winner Bayer writes a psycho-erotic thriller, that, in a detective’s yearning for a glamorous beauty murdered when he was only a boy, conjures up the classic film Laura. Richly atmospheric….”

T. Jefferson Parker:  “THE DREAM OF THE BROKEN HORSES is a hypnotic blend of suspense, mystery and revelation. Erotically charged and poetically rendered, it worked its way straight into my own dreams. It’s great to read a smart, sexy thriller and this is one I recommend.”

Femina (France):  “One of the best mysteries of the year.”

Le Temps (Switzerland):  “A fascinating thriller, erotic and psychoanalytic. Bayer’s masterpiece.”

Elle (France): “A formidable novel with multiple facets that explores the human condition. In certain respects the heroine of THE DREAM OF THE BROKEN HORSES will remind us of Rebecca.“

France Soir : “The suspense builds to a crescendo. Fascinating!”

Le Dauphine Libre (France):  “A significant work of art.”

Lire (France):  “Dense, fast moving. Bayer is direct, laconic, brutal, and his writing is superb.”