Books in order of publication:

Author Max Byrd was born in the year 1942 in Atlanta, Georgia. He was educated at King’s College, Cambridge, England as well as Harvard.

Max is a contributing editor of The Wilson Quarterly and regularly writes for the New York Times Book Review.

He taught English at the University of California, Davis and Yale, however he left academia to become a full-time writer. While he was still teaching, he published quite a few scholarly articles and books on eighteenth century literature, that now rests within moldy obscurity in some stately libraries.

The research he did for “Fuse Time” led him to take a brief course in the California Highway Patrol Bomb Squad School, obviously a really different world than Harvard.

After he wrote a few crime novels, he found it really did not pay, so he turned to writing some historical fiction. Max writes about presidents such as Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and Ulysses S. Grant.

For “California Thriller”, he won a Shamus Award for Best Paperback original. “Target of Opportunity” was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection.

“California Thriller” is the first novel in the “Mike Haller” series, which was released in the year 1980. Mike is trying to find a newsman that suddenly disappeared in Sacramento Valley. A boozy and tearful wife has given him money to locate her husband, but there is somebody that is trying to dissuade him. And they are doing so with a .38 that has Haller’s name and address on it.

The book is packed with romance, crime stopping action, and suspenseful turns and twists, making this an exhilarating journey.

“Fly Away, Jill” is the second novel in the “Mike Haller” series, which was released in the year 1981. PI Mike Haller is now in the streets of London. As he lights a cigarette in a gray night, Mike is uneasy about the job that has brought him to London and away from his home in California. His instincts were warning him that he was in for some trouble. There was something about the old guy that hired him, and he was unable to explain the reason why he was suspicious.

The picture of the runaway bride touched his romantic heart. It is too bad that he forgot about the sickening surge of adrenaline that fear brings on. Because he would soon be finding a hard and lethal .38 jammed right into his ribs, requiring him to make up his mind that he has to never regret.

This is a suspenseful and fast paced read and has quite a few twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. The characters are flawed and the writing is easy.

“Finders Weepers” is the third novel in the “Mike Haller” series, which was released in the year 1984. Mike has been hired to find a hooker, named Muriel Contreras, who has inherited close to a million bucks. Just when he is about to find an answer as to where she is, he finds that he has been sabotaged, and his P.I. license has been suspended. Haller goes off on his own to figure out just who could be trying to stop him, but the chase soon turns lethal when his colleague, the one that assigned Haller the case, gets brutally killed.

“Target of Opportunity” is the first stand alone novel, which was released in the year 1988. The novel opens during World War II while San Francisco Police Inspector Gilman and Donald Kerwin (a former attorney in Washington and Gilman’s brother-in-law) stop in a 7-Eleven. They are met with a torrent of bullets.

A gunman standing at the register wounds Gilman and kills Kerwin, and there is an illegal police search that ensues. This leads to the charges against the suspect being dismissed. Nina, Gilman’s sister-in-law, is not just heavily distraught over the death of her husband but is violently outraged over the illegal search. She finds out that the killer is headed back to Boston, she follows him, with revenge on her mind. Gilman follows her in order to stop her.

“Fuse Time” is the second stand alone novel, which was released in the year 1991. Los Angeles is getting by a blast wave of terror. Six bombs have produced explosions unlike anything ever seen before; they are precise, unerringly deadly, and efficient. Only a single mind could have built them: Simon Caute. He is an explosives genius, Simon’s work, which is marked by a macabre wit, leaves a signature of corpses strewn all over the continent and smoking ruins.

Only one guy is able to match Caute for technical expertise and sheer cunning: David Renner. A guy that risks both his job and his life while he works against the clock to save a gorgeous British actress with a violent past, named Jillian Speirs.

This book is filled with some chilling dialogue and sly wit. Max delivers an action packed story of violence, explosions and sex to readers to enjoy. Some fans feel this is one of Byrd’s best books.

“Shooting the Sun” is the sixth stand alone novel, which was released in the year 2003. Charles Babbage was a genius of rather legendary eccentricity. He invented things like the “penny post”, the ophthalmoscope, and the cow catcher. Charles wrote a ballet, was an expert lock picker, and pursued a vendetta against London organ grinders that wound up making him the laughing stock of Europe. His whole life he desperately needed large sums of money to be able to build his fabled reasoning machine, also called the Difference Engine. It is the first digital computer in all of history.

Babbage, to publicize his Engine, sponsors a private astronomical expedition. It is a party of five, one remarkable woman and four men, that are going to set out from Washington City and go west by wagon train two thousand miles west. They are to go beyond the final known outposts of civilization. Their purpose is to observe the total eclipse of the sun that was predicted by Babbage’s computer, and take pictures with Louis Daguerre’s newly invented camera.

Nothing is what it seems, though, and the best computer is unable to predict the fickle passions of the human heart, greed, and treachery.

Mike Haller Books

Fly Away Jill(1981) 
California Thriller(1984) 
Finders Weepers(1984) 

Standalone Novels

Target of Opportunity(1988) 
Fuse Time(1991) 
Jefferson(1993) 
Jackson(1997) 
Grant(2000) 
Shooting the Sun(2003) 
The Paris Deadline(2012) 
The Sixth Conspirator(2019)