David Hunt's first thriller about Kay Farrow, a San Francisco photographer with a severe form of color-blindness--The Magician's Tale--was so good that it would have seemed unrealistic to expect him to equal it. But Trick of Light comes close enough to earn high praise and a gasp of admiration. There are more luminous views of San Francisco seen in Kay's own heightened black and white, this time largely waterfront shots of illegal Chinese immigrants scrambling ashore or huddling in shabby apartments. There's the same aura of erotic fascination, in this case with the engravings on rare guns. And there's the instantly engaging character of Kay herself, who never exhibits self-pity for the affliction that keeps her indoors by day.|
It's Sasha, Kay's Indian doctor-lover, who tells her about physicist David Bohm and his theory of implicate order, "a hidden order enfolded in the visible surface that we know." Kay uses the theory to investigate the murder of her beloved mentor, photographer Maddy Yamada, who left behind a series of obscure pictures totally unlike her trademark journalism. Sasha also tells Kay about synesthesia (the crossover of senses, which allows her to hear music as color): it becomes another valuable clue to Maddy's secret past.
All of this helps make up for a few less-than-fatal faults: too much reliance on Kay's ex-cop father and his handy connections to people with all sorts of dangerous talents, too many moments of leering sexual depravation, a predictable sameness among the bad guys in both books. In the end, Kay and her creator, Hunt, leave us with a strong story and a series of powerful black-and-white images deeply imprinted on our memory.
Source: Dick Adler, Amazon.com.