100 of 104 people found the following review helpful
Billy J. Hobbs
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Home is the `Busted Flush,' 52-foot barge-type houseboat, Slip F-18, Bahia Mar, Lauderdale."
Is there any address in American literature so readily identified? Probably not. It's the home of Travis McGee, "knight in tarnished armor," and central character of the over-20 volumed series by John D. MacDonald.
With quite a following of readers around the world (my first McGee was while vacationing in Torremolinas years ago and needing something to read while soaking up the Spanish sunshine and absorbing the sangria deliciosa!), MacDonald's hero, along with his sometimes bizarre assortment of friends, enemies, and hangers-on, goes from one adventure to another. Each of the McGee books contains a color in the title, easily recognizable. And it's not purple prose either! MacDonald, a best-selling novelist for years, has more than just a storyline to carry his books. Certainly, McGee is his principal concern. He's "retired" most of the time--he only goes back to work when he sees he's running out of money. He'd rather stay aboard his houseboat and entertain his friends that work. He claims he's taking his retirement one day at a time!
"The Deep Blue Good-by" is the first in this series, published in 1964. It is amazing, too, that in reading it here in the year 2000, the book still stands as relevant now as it was then. McGee, as usual, finds himself befriending and then helping out Cathy Kerr, who has come to him in desperation. Her misfortune has been to meet up with Junior Allen, "a smiling, freckle-face stranger" with depravity on his mind and a more odious person you don't want to meet. There is also something about missing inheritance. McGee is unable to resist and from the moment he accepts the challenge, the reader is glued to the pages.
MacDonald's style is terse (some would say Hemingwayesque--one of MacDonald's favorite writes, incidentally) and moves rapidly, a pace easy to keep up with but one that if you blink, you might miss something. But who wants to blink when MacDonald is on a McGee crusade! The author's knack for piercing characterization, his ability to capture the landscape and atmosphere of "Lauderdamndale," and his penchant for a good story make this first episode one not to be missed. True, the McGee books ordinarily don't have to be read in sequence, it's still a good idea. Over the course of the series, naturally, an affinity toward complete understanding of Travis, and his good friend Meyer, keeps readers truly involved.
"The Deep Blue Good-by" is a "hello" to a great series!