James Hayman

James Hayman

A Short Bio of James Hayman. Like one of the heroes of my thrillers, Detective Sergeant Mike McCabe, I’m a native New Yorker. McCabe was born in the Bronx. I was born in Brooklyn. And we both grew up and spent much of our working lives in the New York City before eventually moving to Portland, Maine. However that’s where the similarities end. McCabe, after spending a couple of years at NYU Film School, dropped out and decided to join the family business and become a cop first for the NYPD and then for the Portland PD. For my part, I graduated from Brown University without having any idea whatsoever of what I wanted to do. All I knew was that the one salable skill I thought I possessed was the ability of dreaming things up and writing them down. After looking around I realized the only companies I could think of that would pay me to do both were on Madison Avenue. I joined a major New York advertising agency as a cub copywriter. Over the next few years I drifted to a couple of other agencies and finally settled in as a senior creative director at the agency I considered the best of the lot. I thoroughly enjoyed the ad business and was good at it. I was well paid and spent my days dreaming up sometimes weird, sometimes funny, sometimes dopey ideas for mostly TV ad campaigns. But before I knew it, more than 30 years had passed, my hair had turned from dark brown to silvery gray and I began to realize that Madison Avenue, like the Texas/Mexico border in Cormac McCarthy’s great thriller, was No Country for Old Men. My wife and I decided to pull up stakes and move full-time to a house we’d built right on the ocean on an island a mile and a half from the city of Portland. Up in Maine I spent a couple of years writing freelance marketing pieces. But in 2005 I decided that if I didn’t start writing the suspense thriller I’d been itching to write for years, I probably never would. My first effort which I called The Cutting told the tale of an villainous surgeon who killed people to steal their hearts for use in illegal transplants. It took me nearly two years to write. But I stuck with it and when I’d finally finished with writing, polishing, editing and reediting I started looking for an agent. Wanting to shoot for the stars, I sent the manuscript and a cover letter to one of the top agents in the business, Meg Ruley of the Jane Rotrosen Agency in New York. Meg represented such top best selling thriller writers as Tess Gerritsen, Lisa Gardner and Michael Palmer among others. Sending the book to Meg first was kind of a Hail Mary play on my part. Hail Mary’s rarely work so a little more than a week later I was stunned when Meg called me in the UK where my wife and I were vacationing and after telling me she how much she liked the book, she asked “Have you sent this to any other agents?” “Nope. None,” I replied. “You were the first.” “Well don’t send it anyone else,” she said. “I’d like to represent you. That is if you’re interested.” I’m not sure how I kept my cool but after no more than a few stutters and stammers, I did manage to let her know that yes, indeed, I was very interested in having her represent me. Meg quickly sold The Cutting to major publishers in the both the US and seven other countries and I was off and running. Over the next seven years, I followed up on the success of that first book by writing five more McCabe/Savage thrillers: The Chill of Night, Darkness First, The Girl in the Glass, and The Girl on the Bridge, which collectively sold over half a million copies and made a bunch of best seller lists including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and my home town paper, the Portland Press Herald. My latest McCabe/Savage thriller, A Fatal Obsession, is the first of the series set outside of Maine, partly in New York City, partly in rural Connecticut. My publisher, Harper Collins, is bringing out A Fatal Obsession on August 21st both in paperback and e-book form. Meanwhile, I’ve started a new novel with a new hero. He’s New York City private investigator named Charlie Spiller who specializes in investigating financial crimes like money laundering and tax evasion but who, in this book, ends up trying to solve the ugly murder of his newest client, a beautiful woman who is thrown to her death from the terrace of her twelfth floor penthouse. I’m not exactly sure what happens next but I am pretty sure that Charlie will solve the crime.
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