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Chattam, Maxim 1976–

Chattam, Maxim 1976–

(Maxime Drouot, Maxime Williams)

PERSONAL:

Born February 19, 1976, in Montigny lès Cormeilles, France. Education: Studied criminology in Paris, France.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Poissy, France. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Novelist, 2003—. Also worked as an actor, bookseller, night watchman, and clerk.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Prix du roman fantastique du festival de Gérardmer, and Prix du polar—Sang d'encre, both for L'Ame du mal.

WRITINGS:

(Under pseudonym Maxime Williams) Le 5éme règne, Editions Le Masque, 2003, published under name Maxime Chattam, Pocket (Paris, France), 2006.

L'Ame du mal, Pocket (Paris, France), 2004.

In tenebris, Editions Michel Lafon (Neuilly-sur-Seine, France), 2004.

Maléfice, Pocket (Paris, France), 2005.

Le sang du temps, Editions Michel Lafon (Neuilly-sur-Seine, France), 2005, translation by Susan Dyson published as The Cairo Diary, St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2007.

Les arcanes du chaos, Editions Albin Michel (Paris, France), 2006.

Prédateurs, Editions Albin Michel (Paris, France), 2007.

Also author of plays.

SIDELIGHTS:

French novelist Maxim Chattam, who also writes as Maxime Williams, is the author of several mystery-thriller novels. All of them have been published in French; his best seller Le sang du temps, originally published in Paris in 2005, was translated into English under the title The Cairo Diary and published in the United States in 2007. Chattam explained on his Web site that, in 1999, when he was working as a night watchman, he began developing an interest in police-style mysteries and thrillers. He developed the germ of a novel even though he had never, he said, sent even the smallest manuscript to a publisher (because he did not think they were good enough), and as a result he had never received a rejection letter—and did not even know what one looked like.

Chattam's novels often mix elements of fantasy with police procedure and violent death. In order to create a good police thriller, Chattam recognized that he would have to become better acquainted with the latest in police technology, especially as it was applied to finding and stopping serial killers. He went to Paris to study criminology, criminal psychology, police procedures, and scientific methods, and legal medicine.

He assisted at autopsies, consulted with experts, and, over a period of eight months, completed the research that led to L'Ame du mal, which was awarded the Prix du roman fantastique du festival de Gérardmer. The novel tells the story of Sean, a bandleader in the New England town of Edgecombe, who struggles to solve the murder-by-strangulation of teenager Tommy Harper. He also has to deal with the appearance of a mysterious book, which may be linked to the murder. Chattam continues the story begun in L'Ame du mal in two sequels, In tenebris, and Maléfice.

The Cairo Diary tells the story of a modern French civil servant named Marion who is taken under protective custody by the police to the monastery of Mont-Saint-Michel. There she begins cataloguing books and, in the process, uncovers the secret diary of a British investigator in colonial Cairo in 1928. That investigator, Jeremy Matheson, is tracking down a serial killer who has butchered several local children and hidden their mutilated remains in the ancient tombs outside the city. ‘As Marion's interest in the diary increases,’ explained Robin Thomas in New Mystery Reader, ‘the events of the past intersect with the present.’ ‘Haunting, ambiguous and atmospheric,’ concluded Richmond Times-Dispatch reviewer Jay Strafford, The Cairo Diary is ‘… a wonderful example of an author with a rich imagination and a deft hand in rendering it into words."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Publishers Weekly, April 30, 2007, review of The Cairo Diary, p. 142.

Richmond Times-Dispatch, September 2, 2007, ‘Fiction: True or False? Maybe Neither."

ONLINE

Euro Crime,http://eurocrime.blogspot.com/ (September 29, 2007), review of The Cairo Diary.

Maxime Chattam Web site,http://www.maximechattam.com/ (September 29, 2007), author bio.

New Mystery Reader,http://www.newmysteryreader.com/ (September 27, 2007), Robin Thomas, review of The Cairo Diary.

Verlagsgruppe Random House,http://www.randomhouse.de/ (September 29, 2007), author biography.

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