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.
Nothing that John D. MacDonald wrote is better loved and more enduring than the 21 books in his series about Travis McGee, the Florida-based “salvage consultant” who recovers property for a fee so he can take his retirement “a piece at a time”. Narrator Robert Petkoff, hand-chosen to narrate with the approval of MacDonald’s estate, brings McGee’s world of the Busted Flush (his houseboat, which he won in a poker game) and “Miss Agnes” (his custom Rolls-Royce pickup truck) to vivid life.
©1964 John D. MacDonald Publishing, Inc. Renewal © 1992 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)
I bought this book because of the comments from truly outstanding crime, mystery, thriller writers including Stephen King, Mary Higgins Clark, Sue Grafton, and many others,and I can see why these successful writers admire the character details McDonald uses in the book. His fascination and brilliant presentation of tiny specifics of dress, mannerisms, dialogue and silences speak volumes about the characters and unspoken moments that bring emotion to a character. I also watched the videos from Lee Child and Carl Hiaasen. All this led me to believe it was a crime thriller at its heart, which was, in hindsight, an erroneous conclusion. The authors praise, now in re-reading it, is for character development. Audible even said in its intro "...And forget about the genre of mystery..." and quotes praises for being a novelist.
Since I have no history of the McGee character, no emotional connection with earlier publications and editions, as most of the readers who posted here apparently have, I came to it expecting a thrilling read. What I took away was a story which was about ninety percent relationship between Travis and two broken women whom he nursed or attempted to nurse back to health. The last bit of the book became a mystery, action, thriller but I had early on predicted the outcome of the two central characters and, even though the action ending was exceptionally well written, it came too late in the game for me.
Since I am reading the book today, not years ago when it was written, I winced at the weak and apparently helpless women portrayed at every turn of events, all dependent on Travis to rescue and help them. Perhaps for fans who read the book when it was released it calls up memories of characters prevalent in those days, but it simply felt very old fashioned and overly heroic for me, to the extent that I grew anxious and irritated and began wondering why I was listening to it. The extremely whiny voice given to the main female lead enhanced my discomfort. That being said, I have enjoyed many books with strong male lead characters, it's the consistent and overtly weak and helplessness of the females that just doesn't click (with me). Reminds me of the earlier days of cinema when love stories were about the strong man tricking or exploiting the sexy woman to be his.
I work in film and am well aware of successful directors who have been inspired and influenced by earlier filmmakers ( ex. Max Ophuls who Stanley Kubrick said inspired his vision of filmmaking, Alfred Hitchcock who deeply admired Henri-Georges Clouzot) and can appreciate how mystery writers can admire character techniques McDonald employs in his work. But for this reader, the character technique in this book doesn't fulfill my needs for a strong and engaging crime or mystery story.
EASY , FUN READ
TRAVIS IS A REAL STAR!
OUTSTANDING VOICE INTERPRETATION AND INFLECTION AT A GREAT PACE
NOT EXTREME, JUST ENTERTAINING
Different....very different but also the same. It catches Macdonald at his best
This is my third visit with Travis McGee; first as an adolesent; again at 40 and now 20 years later. I did not realize what I had forgotten. With the first chapter it all came back though. The complex Travis an alter ego for the author.
There is a reason why John D. Macdonald seems to make the top 5 list of many good writers. Many characters are developed to be believable but a very small group seem really to live. Sherlock Holmes is one that comes to mind, Travis McGee is another. The details in his stories rest with his character. Travis reminds me a bit of the cowboys that live at the end of the wild west. They knew their
Tell us about yourself!
american detective novel
the writing was so descriptive
the lead - travis
the way back for mrs. atkinson
only thing didn't like was the narrator's women's voices - his men was right on though
Old Broad with Keyboard
I read the whole series - hell, I owed the whole series back in time. I loved McGee's lust for lost causes even back then when I was a teen. Hearing the first book in the old series with the perfect narrator was so much fun that I worked till 4:28AM to hear the ending. Good thing I was doing data entry in my home office.
McGee has always been my favorite. I always thought he was MacDonald's alter ego. Knuckley, tanned, confident, old enough but still young enough to rescue the girl. Worldly wise but still grounded in common sense & fairness.
Robert Petkoff makes the book come to life.
Yup. It was. And I did.
I liked this murder mystery. The author, John MacDonald, did a great job of characterization in letting me get to know the main character, Travis McGee. I liked how he lives on a houseboat in Florida - great setting. Even though Travis is willing to help others who cannot help themselves, he is still a James Bond type of character who will intimidate and torture if need be. This helped to keep my interest throughout the plot and made it a great mystery. It is hard to believe that this modern day suspense was written 47 years ago!
A very entertaining book and I already plan on getting the second book in the series, "Nightmare in Pink."
Excellent narration by Robert Petkoff.
It has been more than 25 years since I listened to the original Travis McGee recordings with Darren McGavin narrating. First, I had forgotten how much I really enjoyed them. I also didn't think that anyone but McGavin could do them justice, but Robert Petkoff was superb. And I also learned why I like Lee Child's Jack Reacher series so much. He and Travis McGee have a great deal in common. Even though the Deep Blue Good-Bye was written in 1965 - before cell phones and technology - it is a wonderfully suspenseful read. Travis a salvage specialist and beachbum, living in the Florida Keys. He only works when he runs out of money. He is a brute and a romantic. He has soft spot for the underdog and an absolute sense of right and wrong. He is wonderful. A truly good author and book will last forever. Travis McGee lives on.
In order to enjoy this book you need to understand the date it was written. All the big sexual revolution started that decade, the attitude and behaves of man and women must be understood based on the time of the history and not the way we expect or assume modern man and woman behaves.
This is my first encounter with John McDonald and Travis McGee. Although I am not young but my native language is Spanish and I have not seen any translation of this author’s novels. I really enjoyed the psychological aspects. I'm sure the reaction of a woman who has been abused in these times is not very different from that described in the novel.
I am looking forward to listen and read (thanks to Whispersync) the rest of the series as i as sure that both McDonald and McGee will change as time pass by, 20 years is a lot of time and lots of changes.
The narration was very good and perfect for a person like me that speaks English as a second language. I liked the pace, the intonation and the cadence of the narrator’s voice.
Electrical Engineer, 51 years old father of 3.
Travis McGee is a character I want to learn more about. The books have been around for a long time yet the story holds up well.
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