Allen J. Hubin

MAX BYRD – Target of Opportunity. Bantam: hardcover, August 1988; reprint paperback, November 1991.

MAX BYRD Target of Opportunity

   The first by this author in hardcover after several paperback private eye tales, starts in Lake Tahoe. There San Francisco homicide inspector Gilman is vacationing with his best friend and brother-in-law, former Washington lawyer, Donald Kerwin.

   They stop for groceries at a 7-11 Store, where a ski-masked man shotguns Kerwin to death and leaves Gilman with an awful case of tinnitus. The Tahoe cops blow the investigation and the killer walks free.

    Kerwin’s widow comes unglued at the news, and follows the killer to his Boston home with her own form of bloody justice in mind. Gilman chases after her, desperately hoping to stop her. Kerwin’s shooting was apparently random, but the scot-free killer comes from a wealthy family, had no apparent reason to be robbing a convenience store, and has an estranged father on the Harvard faculty.

   What could all this possibly have to do with OSS activities in wartime France? It could easily be fatal to Gilman to find out. Fresh if perhaps fanciful plotting, capable storytelling. Interesting detail.

— From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 11, No. 2, Spring 1989.