When McGee picks up the phone and hears a voice from the past, he can't help it. He has to meddle. Especially when he has the chance to reunite Sam Taggart, a reckless, restless man like himself, with the woman who's still waiting for him. But what begins as a simple matchmaking scheme soon becomes a bloody chase that takes McGee to Mexico, a beautiful country - and one from which he hopes to return alive.
©1965 John D. MacDonald Publishing, Inc. Renewal © 1993 Maynard MacDonald (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
"[T]he great entertainer of our age, and a mesmerizing storyteller." (Stephen King)
"[M]y favorite novelist of all time." (Dean Koontz)
"[W]hat a joy that these timeless and treasured novels are available again." (Ed McBain)
But I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - J.D. Salinger ^(;,;)^
John D MacDonald presents a combination of James Dickey's prose with Ian Fleming's narrative flourish. With John D. MacDonald, however, you are also likely to find weird paragraphs sprinkled into the novel that deal with economics, politics, love, lust, the John Birch Society, and the ethics of hunting. Reading MacDonald is like having a surprisingly lucid conversation with a drunk economics professor who you recently discovered just killed a man with his golf club. You can't pull away from the conversation and aren't quite sure if the story is going to continue, or if he is going to explore a tangent more appropriate for an economics class or his therapist. HIs brain is amazing and his stories definitely titillate on several levels at once.
Special thanks to Sasha, Stacy and Stef for sharing the Audible experience with me and being the best of company during my recovery.
As always MacDonald tells a good story. On the other hand of all the books in the Travis McGee series McGee is at his most anti social and misogynistic in this one. The story is the typical buddy gets killed; I have to avenge him; staple of adventure novels. The police officer who understands the way to investigate crimes is an interesting aside.
The professor in the Florida college who advises him on the gold statue is a nice touch. As is the story on the creation of a totally new way of life along the Mexican gulf coast. His opinion of the real estate in the greater LA area is amusing.
But now for the attitudes. For starters McGee is awfully condescending towards a good percentage of the people, cities, buildings, and systems on planet Earth. His overblown sense of rightness is especially apparent in his attitude towards women. He is highly judgmental about the sex lives of every woman who crosses his path. Yet in this book alone he manages to get himself into bed with five different women that he has no intention of pursuing a relationship with. Three of those women he assaults prior to falling into bed with them; evidently being slapped around really turned women on back in 1965. He also has no qualms about sleeping with women he thinks little of as human beings since he dissects them ruthlessly both before and after bedding them.
His torture of Alma Hitchens he is able to rationalize with no problem. After all the whole situation was her fault; poor Sam having no chance of retaining his moral center after having been seduced and tumbled by a beautiful third grade actress. Pity us poor men who can't be expected to resist doing anything we're asked to by a hot woman once we've had sex with her.
Also as in many of his pre-1970's works he is all atwitter concerning communist plots and conspiracies. Though his willingness to touch on the 1956 Hungarian revolution will provide an important reference to those unfamiliar will it.
Given all the negatives if you're able to skim over the 19th century attitudes towards women and sex MacDonald is a great writer. His mystery fiction works contain excellent information he's researched on tangential subjects to his books. This one got a four star rating from me despite those abhorrent attitudes and actions portrayed in this work; if not for them it would have earned five.
John D. MacDonald's writing is the ultimate in the craft. He's been my own (writer's) hero since I began reading his work decades ago. Yet now, I can be intimately engaged in his world through the brilliant interpretation of Robert Petkoff. Unbelievable talent - this man has more "accents" than most actors in Hollywood. I'm hooked for good and have bought and listened to many of the books and intend to buy them all, even though I read the print books years ago over and over again.
My favorite aspect of this particular title was the love Travis cultivated for Nora, and the scene painting he accomplished in Mexico.
All of the Travis McGee series are comparable, but there was something even a bit more compelling in this title than the rest. Just so intriguing. So sad in parts. So .... John D. MacDonald! (the master...)
I love his interpretations of female voices. It's truly amazing how he moves from one voice to the other (Trav's is very deep) and seems to flawlessly accomplish this transition. I especially loved his Mexican and Jewish Bronx accents!
Absolutely. I want to listen to all the Travis McGee books.
Thank you, Mr. Petkoff, for bringing us a consistent list of all the books with the SAME narrator's voice. It is soothing and comforting to know ahead of time that you will portray our hero, Travis McGee!
Mr. Petkoff has to be the best narrator in the business. He does full justice to MacDonald's rich characterizations in a lively, if somewhat bloody, adventure.
Poor Travis sure has a hard time keeping his friends alive. But this is another great story. Glad I came across these books!
I'm a mom. I have drama in my life. I don't want books with the F-bomb, nor graphic violence. I read for fun and to bring my family together. I read for reducing stress levels. We have never had a television in our home and our children are now mid twenties to 19. We listen together and look for belly-wrenching laughter. So what is it like to live without a TV? Awesomely educational and inspirational. Each new book is a marvel.
The story falls into fiction and the theft of goods isn't plausible. Trav isn't the chivalrous male he claims to be. This series isn't about the mystery, this series is about the sex.
The book is written in the 1960s and is reflective of the issues at the time - Cuba, sexual revolution, dissatisfaction with government. For a period piece it works, for being a better person because I've read it - nah.
I suppose it is only fair: some books are chick lit, and some appeal equally to all. This one, however, was overloaded with testosterone. Yet, I did become involved in the story.
Travis McGee is clearly the right agent for the right job...and the right job had nothing to do with money. For him it has more to do with loyalty and doing what is right. But sometimes what is right may not look that way to others.
Robert Petkoff did a good job on the narration
This is a very silly and improbable thriller that makes itself absurd by repeatedly going off on pseudo philosophical tangents. Travis McGee is a large, sentimental, narcissistic, violent, sociopath who makes one poor decision after another but still manages to spin things in his mind so he feels like he's "helped" someone. If he would just LISTEN to people in the first place instead of trying to manipulate them to do what HE thinks they should do, he might be of some benefit instead of getting them all killed.His attitude about women is hilarious. Of course every woman who meets him aggressively wants to take him to bed at least to hear him tell it. He on the other hand is very judgmental. Oh he takes advantage of casual encounters one after the other, but he's bound to make some eviscerating comment about her low self esteem or her intelligence after he's thoroughly used her for everything she's got. There is one term that sums this guy up and it is a crude allusion to a bodily orifice.
If the story was better plotted and the characters less stereotypical it would be a better book.
That said I disliked McGee from the beginning. His friend Sam Taggart calls to say he's in trouble and needs help. McGee changes the subject and gets him talking about a love affair Taggart skipped out on three years before. Clearly McGee himself had designs on Taggart's ex and lays this absurd guilt trip which Taggart falls right into. McGee goes to the woman in the case, takes her to dinner and gets her all worked up about seeing her old beau again. They go over to the motel Taggart is staying in only to find him knifed to death. At that point both McGee and the woman, a boutique owner, swear to avenge their fallen lover and comrade. Irresponsibly McGee takes this woman to Mexico on a search for Aztec gold which apparently got Taggart killed, and McGee gets her killed too!
Over the course of this story McGee beats and tortures three women (all of whom want to sleep with him afterwards), kills a dog, and an elderly (albeit scummy) TV producer. McGee's behavior is the cause of at least ten violent deaths in this book alone. In the long run however McGee determines his friend Taggart thoroughly deserved to be knifed and the people who actually did it are allowed to walk away.
The main thing I think John D. MacDonald could do to improve his work is to see a psychiatrist.
Petkoff was the reason I kept listening to this book. His voices are terrific. I particularly liked the Boston art expert who appeared twice while McGee negotiated his blood money.
I would probably watch it on Netfix. I would not pay to see this story dramatized in a theater. It is quite funny in the fact that it takes itself so seriously.
I doubt I will read anymore of this series. These books came highly recommended by people whose intelligence I previously took as a given. I am reassessing this point. I am a long-time lover of Ian Fleming's novels and have also read all of Micky Spillane's work. At one point in this book McGee has the temerity to comment "It's easy for Mike Hammer." Well, Travis, in every Spillane book Mike Hammer is beaten to a bloody pulp. In your story you sprained your wrist. I'd say it was easy for you.
Robert Petkoff a good narrator generally, but he has too soft an edge to his voice and his reading to pull off Travis McGee. McGee is a man's man, and the audiobook publisher should find a reader that sounds like a tough guy. (And McGee, as the first person narrator, can quote women without doing a female voice.)
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