Wednesday, 13 February 2013

JOHN D. MACDONALD - THE DEEP BLUE GOODBYE


 
TRAVIS McGEE
He's a self-described beach bum who won his houseboat in a card game. He's also a knight errant who's wary of credit cards, retirement benefits, political parties, mortgages, and television. He only works when his cash runs out and his rule is simple: he'll help you find whatever was taken from you, as long as he can keep half....

I owned this book years ago, when I first got into crime fiction in the early 90’s. I discarded it, un-read a couple of years later on the basis that it looked old, it was old - therefore it must be rubbish.  Fast forward 20 years and my outlook has somewhat changed.  I’m old myself now; 50 this year and still older than the book, which by definition cannot now be dismissed automatically as rubbish on grounds of age alone. I was encouraged to give it a chance to by a friend I’ve made on the Goodreads site - Cathy from Florida.

So a big hat tip to Cathy then, as the book was extremely enjoyable. McDonald’s creation, Travis McGee is the star of the show in this his first outing. Travis is a “salvage” expert. He specialises in recovering people’s property for a 50/50 split of the spoils, but only when he needs the money. The rest of the time he enjoys a life of leisure on his boat in sunny Florida.

McGee agrees to help Cathy recover her mystery inheritance that’s been swindled from her by Junior Allen, a smooth talking, rapist ex-con. McGee’s investigation sees him delving into Cathy’s father’s past and his wartime exploits as well as more recent events with Junior’s involvement with another local lady. Fast forward a bit.......... McGee eventually catches up with Allen and attempts to reclaim Cathy’s gem stones as well as making Allen pay for his exploits.  

MacDonald portrays McGee as a part-time sage-cum-philosopher as well as a man of action when the need arises. He’s a loner with a heart, albeit a chauvinistic one, and whilst that may be irritating and a turn off for some readers, I actually liked him and want to read more about him.

The Deep Blue Goodbye was MacDonald’s first Travis book in a series that ran for 20 years and a further 20 books. I won’t bite off more than I can chew, but I’ve already line up the second in the series for reading next month sometime – Nightmare In Pink.

4 from 5

I managed to obtain a second-hand copy of this by agreeing to swap another of my books on the useful ReadItSwapIt website.

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