Maxim, John R. 1937-
MAXIM, John R. 1937-
PERSONAL: Born February 18, 1937, in New York, NY; son of Hiram Julian (an investigator) and Mary A. (a business manager; maiden name, Mitchell) Maxim; married first wife, August 1, 1964 (divorced, 1978); married Christine Giles Sterling (a nurse), August 16, 1980; children: Jeffrey, Christopher, Vickie Lewis. Education: Fordham University, B.A., 1958. Politics: Republican. Religion: Roman Catholic.
CAREER: Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati, OH, product manager, 1962-66; McCann Erickson, New York, NY, vice president, 1966-70; Marschalk Co., New York, NY, senior vice president, 1970-77; Davidoff Advertising Agency, Fairfield, CT, senior vice president in charge of marketing, 1978-85; Maxim Associates (consulting firm), Westport, CT, president, 1985—. Marketing specialist for luxury travel. Director of United Appeal and Boy Scouts of America.
MEMBER: Authors Guild.
AWARDS, HONORS: Numerous awards for advertising excellence.
novels, except as noted
Platforms, Putnam (New York, NY), 1980.
Abel/Baker/Charlie, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1983.
(With Leatrice Gilbert Fountain) Dark Star (biography), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1985.
Time out of Mind, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1986.
The Bannerman Solution, Bantam (New York, NY), 1989.
The Bannerman Effect, Bantam (New York, NY), 1990.
Bannerman's Law, Bantam (New York, NY), 1991.
A Matter of Honor, Bantam (New York, NY), 1993.
The Shadow Box, Avon (New York, NY), 1996.
Haven, Avon (New York, NY), 1997.
Mosaic: A Novel of Suspense, Avon (New York, NY), 1999.
Whistler's Angel, Morrow (New York, NY), 2001.
Bannerman's Ghosts, William Morris (New York, NY), 2003.
ADAPTATIONS: Author's works have been adapted for audiocassette.
WORK IN PROGRESS: The Bannerman Prophecy, a novel.
SIDELIGHTS: John R. Maxim has written a number of mysteries and thrillers, including novels featuring Paul Bannerman, an espionage investigator whose cases take him throughout the world. Maxim's other fast-paced espionage adventures concern Israeli agents, drug smugglers, former KGB officials and Arab terrorists. A Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote that Maxim's strengths as a storyteller include "farce, blisteringly paced action and memorably peculiar characters." The critic added that Maxim "continues to be one of the form's best-kept secrets."
In The Shadow Box, Wall Street investment banker Michael Fallon finds himself entangled with a ring of prescription drug counterfeiters who, to protect their trade, begin killing those who may know too much about their operation. People writer J. D. Reed noted the story "gives readers a hard look at a little-known but lucrative area of international crime." Calling the novel a "crackerjack thriller," a contributor to Publishers Weekly noted: "It's a complicated storyline that Maxim plays out with skill, boosting the narration with fluid writing and well-drawn characters." Booklist contributor George Needham described The Shadow Box as "a thoroughly entertaining novel, an effective thriller yet reminiscent in its breeziness of the best of Donald Westlake."
Haven tells of a plot by Arab terrorists to steal American nuclear weapons. Former Israeli agent Elizabeth Stride and East German terrorist Martin Kessler, working to rekindle their love affair from years before, must also work together to thwart the scheme. "Maxim has created vivid characters who have a witty take on their mythic reputations," wrote a Publishers Weekly reviewer. Roland C. Person in Library Journal felt Maxim "constructs a complex plot, juggles numerous characters, and pulls it all off with a cinematic, breathless pace."
The plot in Mosaic: A Novel of Suspense revolves around the experimental manipulation of people with Multiple Personality Disorder in an effort to turn them into assassins who can commit crimes and walk away guilt-free. Major Roger Grayson, authorized to investigate the experiments, discovers horrific abuses of mental patients, as well as a beautiful operative named Susannah Card who can change her personality at will. In England's Birmingham Post, Christine Barker observed that readers of Mosaic "are in seriously scary territory. . . . If you enjoy Hannibal Lector-type suspense, you will get on well with Maxim." Booklist reviewer David Pitt noted: "This intelligent thriller may be the veteran Maxim's best novel." And a Publishers Weekly contributor described the book as a "top-notch thriller with a clever premise and equally proficient meditations on identity and character."
Maxim often builds his stories around places he has visited or lived. Whistler's Angel reaches its dramatic climax on the island of Hilton Head, where Maxim has lived, and Bannerman's Ghosts is set in tiny Westport, Connecticut, where he lived for many years. In the case of Whistler's Angel, a former contract killer named Adam Whistler finds his plans for early retirement thwarted by his ultrasecret employers, who feel he knows too much. Bannerman's Ghosts features the lethal spy Paul Bannerman, now toiling anonymously as the owner of a travel agency. Both books are built on the premise that a certain elite corps of spy/assassins can never quite escape their past exploits and may have to kill or flee again at any time. A Publishers Weekly critic concluded that Bannerman's Ghosts has an "entertaining" plot with "a good deal of hokum, blarney and old-fashioned excitement."
Some time ago Maxim told CA: "I'm your basic type who always dreamed of being a writer but never believed hard enough and got derailed by the need to make a living the corporate way. I had a midlife fishor-cut-bait crisis, took a year off, wrote my first novel, and went back to work when it didn't make me rich. I have now written four books—three novels and a biography of John Gilbert—in six years by starting at four a.m. then going to the office at nine. Otherwise, I have traveled very broadly as a consultant to two cruise companies and the Orient Express, have started my own consulting firm, continue to ski in Switzerland every January, and sail and play tennis as much as possible."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Birmingham Post (Birmingham, England), July 31, 1999, Christine Barker, "The Many Chilling Faces of Suspense," p. 60.
Booklist, July, 1996, p. 1808; March 1, 1999, David Pitt, review of Mosaic, p. 1158.
Library Journal, August, 1997, Roland C. Person, review of Haven, p. 133.
New York Times Book Review, February 9, 1986, p. 11.
People, October 28, 1996, p. 40.
Publishers Weekly, July 12, 1993, p. 74; July 22, 1996, p. 227; August 4, 1997, review of Haven, p. 63; February 22, 1999, review of Whistler's Angel, p. 69; February 10, 2003, review of Bannerman's Ghosts, p. 162.
Rocky Mountain News, April 1, 2001, Peter Mergendahl, "Whistler's Angel Intrigues with Characters, Intense Story," p. 4E.
Amazon,http://www.amazon.com/ (March, 2003), interview with John R. Maxim.
John R. Maxim Home Page,http://www.geocities.com/john_r_maxim/ (March 31, 2003), biography, extended bibliography, and interview with the author.
Readers Read Web site,http://www.readersread.com/ (March 31, 2003), interview with John Maxim.*