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The Deep Blue Good-By Unbound – Jan 1964

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Unbound, Jan 1964
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 293 reviews
100 of 104 people found the following review helpful
McGee makes colorful debut! 5 May 2000
By Billy J. Hobbs - Published on
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!
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
An Appetite Whetter 12 July 2002
By Untouchable - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the first of the Travis McGee books and quickly establishes why they have been so popular for so long. From the opening page the atmosphere is totally relaxed as we are welcomed aboard Travis' houseboat, The Busted Flush. Travis works only when he has to, which means, just before he runs out of money. The rest of the time he spends lazing around the Florida waters, living the good life.
He is coaxed into action by the bad-luck story of a friend of a friend and quickly and professionally gets to work coming to her rescue. On the way, he acts as a knight in shining armour to a second woman who desperately needs help, going above and beyond the call of duty, firmly entrenching him as a helluva nice guy.
This book was written almost 30 years ago, yet it is fresh enough to make one believe that it is set in today's world. It's an excellent introduction to the world of Travis McGee and has certainly whetted my appetite for more. Travis McGee is the ultimate laid back hero who carries his flaws as humbly as his talents.
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Meet Travis McGee- the true definition of hard-boiled. 14 July 1999
By Jonathan Lile ( - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After reading all of John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee books, I would say that The Deep Blue Good-By is the best way to meet the greatest character of the detective-story genre. Imagine the best qualities of Hammett's Continental Detective Agency Operative and Sam Spade, Chandler's Philip Marlowe, and Cussler's Dirk Pitt combined with a unique personality that is impossible not to love. MacDonald's characterization is unmatched in almost all authors I have read, and his story-telling skills are amazing. But most impressive are his social commentaries voiced by McGee in interior monologue; nearly all the nigh-cynical observations voiced by Mcgee were true in MacDonald's time as well as ours. If you love a good story, regardless of whether or not you like mysteries, you will love this book. One word of caution, though-- once you read this, you will be hopelessly addicted to the world of Travis Mcgee.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
If you are just starting this series, I'm jealous 17 Feb. 2007
By Stephen McLin - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I read the entire series as they came out starting 40 years ago, and am now listening to the unabridged audiobooks with delectible slowness.

If you are lucky enough to be reading reviews to contemplate starting this series, you have a wonderful journey ahead of you. I think Travis McGee, along with Nero Wolfe, are the two best (albiet very different) characters ever in the mystery/crime genre.

Since it is now 43 years since this book was published, you will be astounded at the amazing contemporary nature of the books.

This is one of the more complicated plots with as many characters as any story in the series, perhaps as befits the first one written. It is a great story, but as MacDonald hits his stride around the third or fouth book in the series, the plots simplify, the number of characters goes down, and the depth of each charcter intensifies.

You can read other stuff about the plot, characters, et. al. The purpose of this review is to tell you that when you finally get to the 21st book in the series, The Lonely Silver Rain, you'll be writing a review like this and be looking forward to your second visit to The Deep Blue Good-by as you start the adventure all over again.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
The 1st in the Travis McGee Series 5 Jun. 2002
By Mitchell Scott - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was the first in the beloved Travis McGee series. Buy Deep Blue Goodbye. Then buy Nightmare in Pink. Now you are on your way to reading one of the best book series ever written. John D. Macdonald is my favorite fiction author for many reasons: his social commentary, characters, storylines, ...
Deep Blue Goodbye gives much, and leaves you wanting more. Thank goodness there are so many good works by this author.
But don't take my word for it. Read the entire T. McGee series!
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