Max Byrd was born in Atlanta, Georgia and now lives in northern California.
He was educated at Harvard and at King's College, Cambridge, England. He has taught English at Yale and the University of California, Davis, though he left academia some time ago to become a full-time writer. During his teaching years he published a number of scholarly books and articles about 18th-century literature, which now rest in moldy obscurity in a few stately libraries.
In 1980 he began to write detective novels. The first was called California Thriller (Bantam Books, 1981) and won the Shamus Award for best paperback original of the year. This was followed by Finders, Weepers and Fly Away, Jill, all featuring the same hardboiled private eye, Mike Haller. Later came Target of Opportunity, a Book-of-the-Month Club selection, and Fuse Time, the research for which led him to take a brief course in the California Highway Patrol Bomb Squad School (a somewhat different world from Harvard).
Finding that crime really did not pay, he turned to historical fiction.
Praise for The Paris Deadline
* Named one of 2012's Ten Best Crime Novels by Kirkus Reviews