Annie is Max's mother. She was killed by his father when Max was four years old.
Max's father was convicted of murder after the incident and sentenced to life in prison. Max was taken in and raised by his maternal grandparents, who never talked about their daughter and Max's mother, Annie. Max learns from Gwen, who had been good friends with his mother, that after his mother had married his father, she didn't see much of her, because Max's father "made it...difficult for...(her) to have friends." Aside from that, on a conscious level at least, Max knows very little about his father, dubbed "Killer Kane," and his mother Annie, except for one dark secret which has haunted him since the day Annie died.
When Killer Kane is released on parole and kidnaps Max, he tells his son that he is a victim of society, and swears on a Bible that he never killed anyone. His actions belie his words, however, as he holds his son prisoner, and violently attacks a woman, Loretta, who tries to help Max escape. When Max sees his father with his hands around Loretta's throat, he tries to get Killer Kane to stop. The incident parallels one which is forever etched in his mind - the vision of his father with his hands around his mother Annie's neck, snuffing her life out before the terrified eyes of her four-year-old son.
Killer Kane does not believe that his son can remember what he saw on the day of Annie's death, but Max tells him,
"You were wearign your brown corduroy trousers...and the black T-shirt with no sleeves. I tried to stop you and I couldn't, and you carried me back into my room and put me to bed and told me I was just dreaming. You locked me in that room and I ran to the window and broke it with my hand and started yelling for someone to come and help Mommy."
Max's actions had led to the arrest of his father, and his ultimate conviction for the murder (Chapter 20).