This time out, McGee comes close to losing his status as a living legend when he agrees to track down the killers who brutally murdered an ailing millionaire. For starters, he renews an unfinished adventure with a famous - and oversexed - Hollywood actress, who leads him into a very nasty nest of murderers involving a motorcycle gang, pornographic movies, and mad balloonists. And McGee relearns the old lesson - that only when he comes close to the edge of death does he feel he completely alive.
©1981 John D. MacDonald (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^
I'm a huge fan of John D. MacDonald. I think he is funny and sharp. He has a certain pulp formula and sticks with it and usually the cake rises, browns, and turns out just fine. But this book was just kinda -- meh. Which is surprising because you would think a book with motorcycle gangs, pornography rings, and people falling out of hot air balloons would be kinda exciting. It just wasn't. It was like he read 'Around the Wold in 80 Days', watched a couple James Bond flicks, and followed that up with an Easy Rider marathon and felt he could combine the three things. He managed to combine these elements, but his novel just didn't have enough tickle and torque.
To me it felt like MacDonald wasn't sailing this novel. He had it tied down and was just letting nature take its course. There was no emotional texture and the narrative was just kinda straight. I knew where he was going and by the end I just didn't really care. AND, I did't even mention one of my MacDonald peeves. Sex. Hey, I think sex is nifty and neato and all the rest. Sure sure. But MacDonald writing about it is like talking dirty with an unmarried uncle. No thanks. I'll pass.
The wisdom is reaching far beyond what we see. Delight in the journey
I began reading MacDonald as a young man in the eighties. In those days the gender role and sexual attitudes expressed by the author weren't unusual. The majority of the authors I'd read possessed those same attitudes. Now those attitudes that just seemed quaint and outdated now read as judgmental, hypocritical and misogynistic when expressed by McGee. Indeed at times they're jarring now. Likewise the attitudes,slang, musical tastes and speech patterns are similarly outdated. As so often occurs in the McGee series there is someone identified as a close friend who suddenly appears for the first time. Finally the semi adulation accredited to Meyer by McGee's over the top quoting of him as the source of all wisdom grows tedious.
That being said; the author is an excellent writer of mystery fiction. the story flows and the transitions are seamless; there's plenty of action and unlike current mystery writers there is no catch phrase being repeated constantly like the hook in a song. The complexity of Travis McGee is presented by the author in long thoughtful unspoken monologues give us an inner view of a questioning mind. If I were a young reader; unfamiliar with the attitudes expressed by the author these works might be a complete miss. But just like a man in his fifties looks back at his twenties I can't quit McGee.
Travis McGee is the quintessential detective. Great mysteries, great characters and the always intriguing love interest. MacDonald at his best.
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