California Thriller

California Thriller

by Max Byrd


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Re-released for the first time in years, the hit action-packed thriller features the unforgettable, original P.I. Mike Haller.

P.I. Mike Haller is on the case to find a newsman who suddenly went missing in Sacramento Valley. A tearful, boozy wife has paid him to find her husband, but someone else is attempting to dissuade him—using a .38 with Haller’s name and address on it. Packed with crime-stopping action, romance, and suspenseful twists and turns, California Thriller is an exhilarating journey full of snowballing leads and Mike Haller in a race to save thousands of lives.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781618580269
Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
Publication date: 10/16/2012
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Max Byrd is the award-winning author of fourteen books, including four bestselling historical novels and California Thriller, for which he received the Shamus Award. He was educated at Harvard and King’s College Cambridge, England, and has taught at Yale, Stanford, and the University of California. Byrd is a Contributing Editor of The Wilson Quarterly and writes regularly for the New York Times Book Review. He lives in California.

Read an Excerpt

California Thriller

By Max Byrd


Copyright © 2012 Max Byrd
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781618580269

A loud bump jolted me awake, and my head floated off. 

Heat. Unending heat. Heat that pressed down like a weight from every direction, a tight, thick coffin of heat.

Against their will my eyes unstuck themselves. Heat and darkness.

The floor bumped again and swayed. I moved my head tenderly. Somebody groaned, probably me.

I blinked a few times and propped myself on my elbows, banging the back of my head painfully on a wall. I was inside a small service van apparently, the kind that delivers diapers and pizzas and cadavers. There were no windows along the sides, only occasional cracks of light from tiny rips in the metal, much longer cracks along the outline of the back door. I sat all the way up, clenching my teeth to keep my stomach in, and extended my hands to both sides of the van. There was a smell of gasoline, stale straw, something else that was likely roasting flesh. I bent forward and patted both hands in little circles, like a blind man, stopping suddenly when I touched short, moist hair. Fred made a low noise and shook his head.

We were still in our San Francisco clothes, I realized, and the temperature inside the bouncing van must have been far over a hundred. I pulled off his coat and loosened his collar, then did the same for myself. It helped not at all.

Fred coughed and rolled over onto his stomach. Greasy with sweat, I rocked forward on my knees, bracing my hands against the hot metal of the right side of the van. Through the largest tear, a clean rupture about two inches wide, one inch long, I could see the brilliant glow of sunshine and the unmistakable wide, brown horizon of the Central Valley.

We hit a bump, Fed rolled like a loose bottle, and I pawed the hot metal with slippery fingers. Then the van resumed its steady speed, running along a paved road in a straight line, through rows of green plants, tomatoes or rice. In the distance, along the jolting horizon, giant smoky fingers probed the sky. Crop fires again, huge mounds of burning straw. The van couldn’t have got much hotter if we had driven through them.

I slumped back against the front panel. My left arm twinged insistently, so I ran my fingers over a swollen area on the triceps, a little spot the size of a quarter, just where doctors are trained to place a needle. The hot air hunkered down on me like an incubus, my eyes clamped shut, my mouth slacked open. I could pass out again, or I could hum the fire scene from Gotterdamerung. Fred didn’t stir. With my eyes closed, I watched a long black wave of nothing roll toward me and break.


Excerpted from California Thriller by Max Byrd Copyright © 2012 by Max Byrd. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Sharp writing . . . exciting . . . fulfills the promise of its title.” —Publishers Weekly

“Max Byrd is an expert at mingling real historical figures with his invented characters.” —The New York Times

“Lock Byrd’s cage and throw away the key—until he slips out a few more thrillers.” —The Philadelphia Enquirer

“Max Byrd is a fine and forceful writer.” —Lawrence Block, bestselling author of Eight Million Ways to Die

“Max Byrd is in the first division of American crime writing.” —The New York Times

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