I was very happy when I saw that Audible released a number of John McDonald's Travis McGee books. I remember devouring the paperbacks after I switched my genre reading from sf&f and I wanted to see if I still enjoyed them. Bottom line: yes, I did, a lot.
I'm not going to recap the plot here, but want to focus on some other elements. First, the narrator, Robert Petkoff, is superb, with an extremely expressive voice that captures the Travis spirit. He's not bad on the female voices, but really shines with McGee.
Second, I still love the character. Travis McGee, the serious, rough, tough, scrupulous romantic, has a lot to say about himself, the people he encounters, the world as he sees it. He is not afraid to wax poetic about an attractive female, or rant and rave about the world going to hell in a hand basket, or to kick himself in the butt when he has underestimated the opposition. I wish more series detectives had his abilities in this area, and less of their typical po-mo snark.
Third, although written in the early 60's I think this has held up quite well as a novel. Although rooted in its time and place, it does not read as a period piece, and unlike some series authors who set book after book in some amorphous eternal present, times change over the series which was written from the early 60's to the early 80's. Actions have real consequences, which is something that is missing from a lot of the most popular current series, and moral choices are made.
The McGee books are a much grittier version of the great romantic trope of the knight in shining armor and the damsel in distress. While there are some pure bimbos in the books, they are set decoration; most of the female characters do have hearts, brains and souls, and sometimes even imperfect bodies.
I really want to gobble up the rest of the series, but am resisting the temptation so that I have some summer listening to look forward to.
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