I love John D. Macdonald. No, I mean it. I really really love his work. Throughout his life, he created an enormous amount of work. Novels, short stories, and more. He was the guy who wrote Cape Fear – back then known as “The Executioners”. As well as writing a number of standalone novels he also created one of the most enduring characters, Travis McGee, a self-proclaimed “Salvage Consultant”. Such a role finds him helping people reclaim something taken from them, where his fee in succeeding is 50% of whatever he finds. In this way he can afford to work when he wants to, spending his “retirement” as he goes.
He’s got a pretty nice life, taking it easy on a boat in Florida where he lives and enjoys spending time with the ladies.
The first book in the 21 book series, “The Deep Blue Goodbye” was my first JDM book and it was a terrific read. The story centres on a woman who contacts Travis in the hope that he can track down the man who stole buried treasure from her father. What that treasure is she doesn’t know, but she enlists Travis to do some digging (figuratively) and see what he can find out. He learns about the man who stole the “treasure”, Junior Allen, a grinning, smiling, psycho who gets off preying on young weak-willed women, using them, and abusing them – both physically and emotionally.
The story takes us on a journey where we see Junior Allen evolve from thief to serial rapist to murderer. We see the path of destruction he leaves behind in his wake. This guy, though seen only from the perspective of Trav (all the McGee novels are written in First Person POV) is very well executed and quite scary.
I highly recommend everyone read this book; it’s old – written in the early 60′s – but feels timeless.
So, please do yourself a favour and grab a copy.