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VINE VOICEon 8 November 2017
The opening title in the Travis McGee series combines fast-paced action with slower ruminations on the human condition. MacDonald introduces us to his series hero as a 'salvage' expert. McGee works when he needs cash, and the deal is that he'll get back something you've lost for 50% of the take. That doesn't quite work out in this first novel, but it sets the framework in which the series will work. Combining elements of crime fiction with all-together darker observations of what it is to be human and fallable, MacDonald's prose manages to be very sexist at times, and very revealing and quite disturbing at others. The power that men wield over woman is a central theme in The Deep Blue Goodbye, and it makes for uncomfortable reading at times. The finale is action-packed and violent, but that's not the most memorable element here. MacDonald clearly thought deeply about social issues of his time, and it is this deeper sense of concern with society and change in general that adds interest to the start of the Travis McGee series.

John D MacDonald enthusiast Lee Child provides the introduction to these versions of the books. It's a shame that it is the same introduction 21 times over the course of the series. For a broader review of MacDonald's work and the influence, Child's excellent Radio 4 programme '21 Shades of Noir' comes highly recommended. To set the scene and context for this influential 21-book series, it could hardly be bettered, and helped convince me it was high time I started reading them.
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on 6 June 2013
This is the first book in the series which introduces us to Travis McGee. I loved the books the first time I found them in the 1970s, and, as they have long been out of print in the UK, I was more than delighted to find them becoming available in Kindle. Other reviewers have said they're "dated". For me that would be something written in prose that appeared old fashioned, whereas these books while certainly of their time, in that they were written and set in the 60s, contain writing that still feels fresh today. The only thing that sets these apart from newly published works of fiction, is the lack of (often) endless expletives. This is, for me, an advantage, as it allows the author's exceptional command and clear love of the language to shine through. John D MacDonald had the ability to use words to paint pictures in ways only the best writer's can achieve, and I believe him to be seriously undervalued. This type of book is commonly referred to as pulp fiction, which hides the fact that the Travis McGee series is, almost without exception, a master class in writing that pulls you effortlessly and satisfactorily from the first page to the last.
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VINE VOICEon 8 June 2016
The first Travis McGee novel, a man who is described as a salvage expert; he will recover anything you've lost for a 50% cut. In between jobs he 'retires' to his boat in East Lauderdale, Florida where he practices his smooth talking and mixes with his eccentric friends. When a female friend contacts him about some missing treasure-cum-loot, Travis cosses swords with the highly unpleasant and ruthless Junior Allen.

Quite adult content, pacy and bold writing. Simply came across this as one of the Orion Crime Masterworks series with no previous knowledge of the author, yet ended up reading in one sitting. Has already tempted me to buy the next in the series. Please note that this author may be more popular with a male readership as women are portrayed as junior to Travis' Alpha Male.
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on 15 September 2013
Before you embark upon the looooong roller coaster ride with Travis McGee, be well advised. The man is unique, he is an extravaganza of emotions, reasons, ideals ( not ideas, ideals, go look it up if you are confused) and imagination. He is also highly addictive. If I could, I would go with him on each adventure.

Mr John D MadDonald, thank you. You were years before your time. With regret I have to say that Jack Reacher pales not quite into insignificance but certainly comes a fine second. I speak from the lofty heights of book 11 having missed out not one.

In order to truly appreciate the realms of this magnificent literature (( I was moved to tears in Book 11 by inner emotions hitherto unmoved by any book)) make sure you do not miss one. Start at the very beginning, here, sit back and enjoy. You will not be sorry.
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If you enjoy modern crime series (Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone books, for instance) and want to try something harder-edged, then the Travis McGee books are a great find.

Trav is an anti-hero born of the 1960s. He's rough around the edges, a womaniser like Fleming's Commander Bond, a man's man. He can be brutal and he can be appallingly chauvanist -- but he's also got a dependable moral code of his own and the guts to go through with every investigation.

This is the first book in the series so is a natural place to start (but they don't affect each other too much so it's ok if you want to begin somewhere else).

MacDonald's writing is at times bleak, others harsh, frequently contemplative. You get a pulp thriller, plenty of action, a dash of mystery and violence, combined with a pessimistic outlook on American society. There are times when MacDonald's gripes with modern life get on my nerves -- but they are more than balanced by his knife-sharp prose, engaging characters and skillful situations.

And unlike many modern novels, the Travis McGee series are all bite-size books. They're easy to read in a couple of days, not 500-page bloated behemoths. Quality -- and quantity, cos there's nearly two dozen different ones to read if you enjoy the first one.

Thoroughly recommended.
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on 4 May 2013
Having seen that Lee Child was doing an introduction I was drawn to have a look and decided I would try this one. What a good decision and i can see exactly why Lee Child recommends John Macdonalds books. What a great story and for me reading it was almost like reading about Reacher. I dont mean the violence of Reacher but the logic and way of thinking. A great read and for me a great new (to me) character and he can handle himself as well!
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on 31 October 2016
Popular author and well reviewed series of books, but I have to say I found this slow paced and rather pedestrian. The character of Travis is OK but he plods around with limited excitement and few unexpected events to surprise the reader of quicken the pace. He doesn't cut the mustard for me I'm sorry to say.
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on 10 September 2013
I can certainly see why this character inspired Lee Child to write Jack Reacher. The story is complex, the characters very real and the story enthralling. I couldn't put it down and cannot wait to read the rest of the series. In fact, once I've read those I look forward to reading the other books he has written - a total of 61 I believe - a real talent. If you enjoy Jack Reacher I assure you, you'll fall head of heels for Travis McGee.
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on 24 April 2014
... who reported back that it was "very intelligently written" and had left him wanting to read more of the series.

Having read up on John MacDonald, I was already aware that there's a couple of dozen of Travis McGee novels which means that I can now proceed with drip-feeding the rest of the books to him over the next few years.

Furthermore, on the strength of this I picked up a used copy of JDM's "The Last One Left" for myself which was certainly a gripping read.

Now also looking into Loren D. Estleman's Amos Walker books which may similarly appeal.
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on 25 November 2013
I saw Lee Child recommend this author on TV, and being a Jack Reacher fan, I thought I would give Macdonald a try. It was well worth the effort. The author has a sardonic view of the American way of life which enhances the story line and gives rise to some wry smiles (at least to this reader). The influence on Macdonald has had on Child is easy to see when one compares their respective heroes: both are loners, both are attractive to women, and both are physically fit. They differ in as much as McGee is a paladin(gun for hire) type of hero, whereas Reacher is more of a Rambo. The Deep Blue Good bye is a satisfying read and I gladly pass on Child's recommendation
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