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Trick of Light
By David Hunt

Putnam
$24.95 ($34.99 Canadian)

Reviewed by Therese Greenwood

Trick of Light is a well-crafted, cerebral book that calls into question not only what we see, but why we perceive it as we do. Can we trust what we see to be the absolute truth? A photograph, for example, seems immutable yet our interpretation of it shifts as we learn more of the context in which it was taken.

Indeed, our perception of the novel itself is subject to interpretation. On the surface Trick of Light sounds dead predictable and is peopled with stock characters. Color blind photojournalist Kay Farrow follows a murky trail of mayhem that seems black and white in its evil. Her dad is a retired cop, her partner a crackerjack investigative journalist. Kay's relationship with her boyfriend is intense but does not complicate her life.

The plot also begins as a cliche, with Kay's mentor-friend dying a mysterious death the cops are unwilling to probe in detail. The bad guys who may be responsible belong to an evil, rich empire and have the money to cover up their crimes.

It's the sensitivity of the writing that elevates Trick of Light to a compelling read. The heady prose is almost as dense and enveloping as the polluted San Francisco atmosphere the heroine moves through. It's not a quick read, but it's a worthwhile one.


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