California Thriller was the winner of the first Shamus Award for Best PI Paperback Novel. The book introduces P.I. Mike Haller in what would become an action-packed thriller trilogy. As the title suggests, the book is set in California or, more specifically, San Francisco.
Rather than exhibiting many of the hang-ups of a vast number of private detectives Haller bucks the trend by being in a stable relationship and has a sensible head on his shoulders. He solves his cases through dogged determination and thoughtful logical reasoning.
Title: California Thriller
Author: Max Byrd
Published Date: 1981
Series Details: 1st book in the Mike Haller series
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Publisher's Synopsis & Dustjacket
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 is in a race to save thousands of lives.
Reviews From Other Sites
When I read this book when it first came out, I recall not caring for it all that much, although I haven’t been able to locate the review I’m sure I wrote about it at the time. I thought the characters too similar to those of a certain Robert B. Parker. Haller has a good lady friend named Dinah Farrell, who is a well-established psychiatrist in town… - Read Full Review
The View From the Blue House
A Bostonian working in San Francisco, P.I. Mike Haller is ex-military and ex-newspaper reporter. He’s hired by the wife of a missing reporter to find her wayward husband whose last known location was the Central Valley near to Sacramento. Haller and his ex-cop colleague, Fred, gradually make headway uncovering the story the reporter was working on… - Read Full Review
At the time of writing there are 4 reviews posted to the GoodReads website for an average of 3.1/5 stars. You can read these reviews by visiting the GoodReads website.
"Mike is very much a Lew Archer clone...he gets beat up a lot, doesn't use his gun much, and has a soft spot a mile wide. Unlike Archer, though, Haller has an extensive background we find out a lot about in this first mystery. Originally from Boston, Haller has worked in the newspaper industry and is a war veteran, and made both friends and enemies in both professions..."
At the time of writing there are 3 reviews posted to the Amazon website for an average of 3.3/5 stars. You can read these reviews by visiting the Amazon website.
Other Shamus Best Paperback Original PI Novel nominees - 1982