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.
The Paris Deadlineby Max Byrd
Paris, 1926. Newspaper reporter Toby Keats, a veteran of the Great War and the only American in Paris who doesn’t know Hemingway, has lived a quiet
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From bestselling historical novelist Max Byrd comes a new novel set against the dramatic backdrop of Paris in the Jazz Age—a fascinating suspense tale interwoven with rich historical detail.
Paris, 1926. Newspaper reporter Toby Keats, a veteran of the Great War and the only American in Paris who doesn’t know Hemingway, has lived a quiet life—until one day he comes into possession of a rare eighteenth-century automate, a very strange and somewhat scandalous mechanical duck. Highly sought after by an enigmatic American banker, European criminals, and the charming young American Elsie Short, the duck is rumored to hold the key to opening a new frontier in weapons technology for the German
army, now beginning to threaten Europe once more. Haunted with his nightmarish past in the War, Toby pursues the truth behind the duck.
From the boites of the Left Bank to the dark prehistoric caverns of southern France, The Paris Deadline is a story of love, suspense, and mystery in a world stumbling toward catastrophe.
“Max Byrd is an expert at mingling real historical figures with his invented characters.”
—The New York Times
“Wow! This is storytelling at its very best. Max Byrd uses the whole deck of cards—character, place, history, humor, and intrigue—to weave his magical story. You want a good ride? The Paris Deadline is your ticket!”
—Michael Connelly, New York Times bestselling author of The Brass Verdict and The Scarecrow
“The Paris Deadline is the best ‘code and cipher’ novel I’ve ever read, a wonderful historical thriller, combining terrific characters with wit, erudition, more cool facts than your average encyclopedia, and a blistering narrative drive that makes the pages fly. Do not deny yourself the pleasure of reading this book!”
—John Lescroart, author of The Thirteenth Juror and Betrayal
“Some of the things I love most about the book—the wit and erudition, the scholarship, the interesting things about the underground war and automates—are not the things other people will like. They’ll be caught up in the mystery of the duck and the love story between the appealing Toby and Elsie, and the fact that it’s set in Paris. Of course, I love that too!”
—Diane Johnson, author of Le Divorce and The Shadow Knows
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- Turner Publishing Company KY
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If you’re a glutton for detail, this novel probably will fulfill your every desire. Possibly every street and alley in Paris seems to be named, and the author has so deeply researched the background that the facts will overwhelm you. Not that this is a bad thing, it’s just, sometimes, too much to absorb. Yet is an absorbing mystery in which Toby Keats (no relation to the poet), a rewrite man on the Paris Herald owned by Col. McCormick encounters a bit of history in the mid-1920s. It begins when Toby and his co-worker, Waverly Root, are summoned to the Hotel Ritz suite of the colonel’s mother. She shows them a mechanical duck, an automate, which moves its wings, ingests and defecates, delivered to her in error instead of two porcelain parrots. She tells them to return it to a Left Bank shop and retrieve what she bought. The shop is closed and this sets the stage for a long and complicated plot in which others attempt to obtain possession of the duck. The novel is sprinkled with some real persons, such as William Shirer at the start of his career. And, of course, there are endless details about Jacques de Vaucanson, creator of the duck, as well as the Bleeding Man and the Writing Boy, as well as the silk loom, automates and tunneling under battlefields during World War I. The reading, as a result, is slow and, at times, tedious. Nevertheless, it is a well-told tale and, perhaps, worth the effort to plow through to the end.
Well written giving a taste of Paris in between World Wars. Just the right touch of historical people and fictional. One complaint Mr. Byrd has Charlie Chaplin divorcing Oona Chaplin in 1927. It was Lita Grey wife from '24 to '27. Oona was his last wife. Still a very good read.