"I wanted to be nineteen again and be the grandson of Philip Marlowe."
San Francisco gumshoe MIKE HALLER appeared in three very fine paperback originals in the early eighties that -- despite some particularly horrid covers -- managed to nab a Shamus and garner a nomination for another, and then...
Too bad. The three books make an impressive triology, very much in the classic Chandler/Macdonld vein (and very much acknowledged as such), but infused with their own sly wit and a more contemporary edge. And Mike even had a girlfriend, the smart and lovely Dinah Farrell, who worked as a staff psychiatrist at Washington General hospital, training medical students and seeing patients.
In addition to the P.I. books he wrote in the 80's--California Thriller (1981) the first, was the one that won a Shamus for Best Paperback PI Novel in 1982, and Finders Weepers was nominated two years later -- Byrd wrote a couple of well-received thrillers, Target of Opportunity and Fuse Time, but discovered that "crime really did not pay" and turned to writing historical fiction. He's also claimed that he doesn't depend on his writing for his livliehood and so generally writes what and when he wants. Unfortunately, it looks like he doesn't want to write anymore Mike Haller books, which is indeed a loss.
RIYL: John Marshall Tanner, Ross MacDonald, Harry Stoner, early Spenser.
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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