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THE MAGICIANíS TALE
By David Hunt

Berkley Fiction, 1998, $7.50 paperback, 401 pages.

Reviewed by Rick McMahan

One of the most vibrant new voices in the mystery field is David Hunt. For those of you who have not read his writing, stop reading this and go buy his first book The Magicianís Tale.

The story is set against the backdrop of the San Franciscoís redlight district, the Tenderloin. The heroine is Kay Farrow, a color blind art photographer whoís latest project is documenting and capturing the hustlers and denizens of the Tenderloin district.

A friend of Kayís, a male-hustler, wants to meet Kay to discuss something important. As any seasoned mystery reader would expect, the friend fails to make the meet. And the next day part of his body is discovered in a dumpster, butchered and mutliliated in a way similar to a serial killing from years past. The earlier serial killings is the reason her father was forced from SFPD and a cloud hangs over his reputation as a former cop. From there the story is a search into her familyís past as well as to identify her friendís murderer.

The story is filled with a West Coast flavor of not only the physical portion of the city, but also the uniqueness of San Francisco, including the alternative and gay lifestyles. However the most unique detail of this story is Kay Farrow herself. An only child, and a person afflicted with color-blindness which allows her to see in shades of black and white, which is very similar to her personality. With black and white clarity, Kayís able to determine things of right and wrong like truth, but she sees the social grays that tinge society and are harder to differentiate from. The Magicianís Tale is a very worthwhile book, and David Hunt has a voice that sucks the reader right into Kayís mind, as well as the plot of the story.

I liked The Magicianís Tale so much that I bought the second book, Trick of Light, in hardback and I am anxiously looking forward to reading it.


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