Peregrine by William Bayer. Congdon & Lattes, 1981.
1982 Edgar Award Winner for Best Novel
Peregrine is the first in William Bayer’s Janek series and my fifth read for the Edgar Awards Reading Challenge. A killer peregrine falcon is loose in New York City. A TV station races to maintain their scoop while the police race to figure out how to stop it. Is it acting alone? Has someone trained it to kill? All involved soon come to the conclusion that there is a falconer behind the falcon. As the reader, you know from the beginning what the truth is and just have to wait, biting your nails, hoping they figure it out in time.
The falconer becomes obsessed with newscaster Pamela Barrett and is determined to make her his own human falcon. As the killings continue, the TV station and the police's differing priorities clash and Pamela draws closer to true danger. The only hope is that police detective Frank Janek will discover the truth despite a lack of cooperation from Pamela and her TV colleagues.
Though Janek investigates the peregrine case, he felt almost incidental next to Pamela Barrett and the falconer. I found this interesting since he is the feature character of the series. Perhaps Bayer didn’t originally intend it as a series or maybe this is just his style. Regardless, Janek did peak my interest as a character without being front and center.
Peregrine really kept me on edge. In the end, though, I was a little weirded out by it. It was kind of like watching a super creepy episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. I like SVU, but there were some images in Peregrine that I wish weren’t in my head. If you’re sensitive to that sort of material, I wouldn’t recommend Peregrine despite it being a good mystery.
Reading challenge : Edgar Awards
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