When Travis McGee's friend Meyer lent his boat to his niece Norma and her new husband Evan, the boat exploded out in the waters of the Florida Keys. Travis McGee thinks it's no accident, and clues lead him to ponder possibilities of drugs and also to wonder where Evan was when his wife was killed.
©1982 John D. MacDonald Publishing, Inc. (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
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"The best of McGee"
This is; in my opinion; the best of the McGee series. The relationship between Travis and Anne is well crafted. The recovery of Meyer from the events from "Free Fall in Crimson is both plaintive and redemptive." The road trip that McGee and Meyer take to Texas is especially well done. The ultimate climatic scene is more understated than the usual McGee finale. A great read all the way through.
"This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang..."
I think this is my sixth MacDonald (and fifth Travis McGee) novel. There is something trashy but smooth about all of MacDonald's work. They are probably mid-tier pulp from a plot sandpoint, but woven through out each is a bunch of philosophy and poltiics that braids the novels with a form of libertarian conservatism that is kinda attractive. This isn't Ayn Rand trash. This is John D. MacDonald. So the politics/economics/philosophy is soft, the writing is good, and the covers are all soft-core.
The math with John D., however, is interesting. His plots can vascillate (meh to great), his political philosophy can also move and vary (meh to great), as does his writing about women and sex (ugh to blah). Generally, I prefer his books when the politics is dialed up, the sex is dialed down, and the plot is hard and fast. Cinnamon Skin came through. It wasn't brilliant, but it made my flight from Phoenix to Dallas easy.
"Petkoff is Brilliant"
Complex but always fascinating story.
I'm a MacDonald/McGee fan.
I used to think Darren McGavin ( a fine actor) was unbeatable as McGee in those abridged versions, but Bob Petkoff IS Travis McGee. He has wonderful distinct voices for all the characters. He's a major talent and in three decades of audio books I've never heard a better reader.
I just hope they don't replace Petkoff they way they screwed up the Spenser novels by using alternate talent to Joe Mantenga like Michael Pritchard. Just doesn't work. What are they thinking?
"This was the place MacDonald should have stopped"
Having read this book when it came out--and audiobooks were in their primitive infancy (remember all those cassettes in large boxes that came through the mail?), it really is difficult to compare the printed and audio versions of this series. I actually can remember when the earliest Travis McGee titles were paperback originals back in the late 1960s.
This is a book where Meyer has a star turn, but the first victim (in the story line) and the villain are three-dimensional, well realized characters.
He has been remarkable consistent throughout this entire series--it must be approaching 175 hours of reading. It always is difficult taking on a well-known character, but for the most part his "voices" have been well thought out and logical. I would be happy to listen to him again.
I was pleased that this series recovered nicely after it flagged a bit as the number of titles approached twenty.
In the future (now) sociologists and environmental historians will have a field day reading through these volumes for the commentary on the decay of the American dream--and the destruction of Florida through over development--from the 1960s through the 1980s. These must be some of the earliest soundings of environmental alarms to appear in mainstream literature.Listen to these now.
Rumor has it that one of them will become a major motion picture soon and I would be surprised if they can do it without "damaging" the original material. Just compare MacDonald's "The Executioners" with either of the movie versions of it (both titled, "Cape Fear").
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