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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 10 March 1999
I only listen to tape books once, except those by MacDonald. Like a good woman, you never tire of them.
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VINE VOICEon 5 July 2012
"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 theover-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 writers, 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 "hello" to a great series!
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on 4 August 2008
I picked up this book because of a recommendation and it is one of the finest crime thrillers I've ever read. Right up there with Raymond Chandler and Dashiel Hammett. Words fail me when I try to describe how good the writing is or how believable the characters are or how the author makes you care about them. But the best thing about this book is that it is the 1st in a series of about 21 books that maintain the quality and all feature Travis McGee; the hero if this book. If you have not read any of these books I envy you but don't waste time....get started NOW!
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on 24 July 2009
John D. MacDonald's protagonist Travis McGee describes himself as a "salvage Consultant". He recovers misappropriated or stolen items from various miscreants. He lives a quite casual lifestyle on board his house boat, the Busted Flush, docked in Ft. Lauderdale. Like Nero Wolfe, he works only when his bank account runs down. Unlike Wolfe, McGee is active, and in good physical condition. He views himself as a romantic who is happy to jump in and help a pretty lady recover what was inappropriately taken from her, and help her through her problems. He doesn't hesitate to cook and clean for a lady if she needs the help.

In spite of his strong desire to right wrongs and his frequent philosophical observations, many readers will not look upon Travis as a deserving hero. He charges his, generally attractive, female clients fifty percent of what he recovers, i.e., considerably more than would a malpractice or wrongful death attorney. He has no hesitation in using intimidation, or even torture, to get the information he wants, or planning for the death of his opponents. He is relatively promiscuous, generally not hesitating to engage in one night stands, or have sex with a variety of women in the course of a few days. These encounters are often portrayed as almost medicinal for his bedmates. For those who admire a hard-boiled detective, with questionable morals, who doesn't hesitate to do whatever is needed to set thing right and get the truly evil villain, Travis McGee is the perfect hero. For others he is clearly an antihero. The story is, as much if not more, about McGee's character, than the unfolding of the plot. McGee's approach to problems reveals an unflinching man of action rather than a strategist, whose lack of detailed planning often gets him into trouble.

Although this book was written in 1964, about forty-five years before this review, the moral questions of if and when torture and intimidation might be acceptable are debated in earnest. However, for Travis McGee there is no debate, if it helps him get the 'bad guy' its okay.

MacDonald usually writes in short direct sentences with the occasional multiline one. His characters tend more to caricature than fully dimensioned individuals. His plot here is more action than detection, and its precedes in a straight forward manner with the occasional philosophical, social, or sexual aside.

The author has a marvelous way with a phrase. His writing is often pithy, humorous, insightful, and always well-constructed. He doesn't `numb down' his vocabulary as many popular writers do, and even successfully educated college graduates will occasionally turn to their dictionaries.

MacDonald has a strong fan base, and its clear that if hard-boiled characters are your interest McGee is one of the best. I usually lean more to clever detection than antiheros, so I was surprised to find this book keep my interest throughout. This is a quick, easy, and well-written novel that draws you in from its first sentence, "It was to have been a quiet evening at home."
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on 7 April 2013
For the story - 4 or 5 stars.

For the price and making it come up with Lee Child as author 1 star. Lee Child wrote 3 pages to introduce the author and get his name linked to the book so that contemporary readers will be drawn to an "old author". I was not fooled and I don't think many will be - it did draw me in as I had run out of Reacher novels to read.

I am not disappointed by the book - it is an easy read and easy to see where Lee Child got his influences from - Travis McGee is not Jack Reacher, but if you like Reacher books, this will be familiar in style and content.

I can take the flagrant use of Lee Child to draw us to this latest re-print - I had never heard of John Macdonald, despite him being the author of Cape Fear and 60 other books, less famous and well known I assume in the 60's-80's.

What is unreasonable is paying nearly £10 for a book about half the length of a Reacher novel that can be had for 2/3 the price. So about 3x the price per page.

Kindle users of course will rejoice - finally a book that is way cheaper in kindle than in print. But as a "old fashioned reader" who likes to be able to leave his book in the sun, sit on it by mistake, drop it, read it with sunglasses in bright light, on the beach, by the pool and not worry it will stolen while I swim, or run flat at an annoying moment etc etc, the quad price over Kindle is way too much. So while Kindle prices should be less (for patently obvious reasons), I think the pendulum has gone too far the other way.

Price this re-printed series at £4.50 a pop and I'd rate this one 4-5 stars.

(Let's not turn this into a Kindle thread - they have their place and in the end its a personal choice - there is no right or wrong, really !!!!)
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on 26 October 1997
Excellent story, neatly crafted characters. Classic details .....This was the first of the series that I read, now I am hooked....The ramblings of McGee about life, love and society are priceless. His sexual escapedes are so subtle,that you have to read back 2 pages to see if he got lucky or not...most times he did ...that was 1964....can you imagine what Trav would be involved in now! Great reads, we miss JDM, Travis will be continued soon, maybe not in name but in spirit and style and values ....welcome back TM
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on 16 December 2013
Very good... I always changed what I planned to do and ended up reading further in this book. It's very engaging.

I ordered the next one in the series already
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on 4 September 2014
my father enjoyed this author, thank you
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