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 went into this book as a fan of Lee Child and Stephen King, two authors that were influenced by John D. MacDonald. After reading the first book in the Travis McGee series, I can understand what attracted these two modern-day masters of mystery to MacDonald in the first place.
This book is filled with memorable characters, engaging dialogue and captivating action. It also has a good deal of vulgar language, which I'm perfectly fine with; it just surprised me considering when this book was originally published.
Like many great authors, MacDonald takes this story to another level by weaving in thought-provoking analysis and commentary. This introspective awareness helps flesh out who the main characters are, where they've been and where they're going, both in the book and beyond the pages.
Entering this book without any preconceptions, I feel the narrator did a fine job with all of the characters' voices.
I'm looking forward to listening to the rest of the books in this series, and I recommend you give "The Deep Blue Good-By" a shot; it's enjoyable from start to finish.
I don't usually rush out for all the "best sellers", but give each intriguing book/author a look. I have found many diamonds in the rough.
Travis Magee is a rough, retired, military man with a big heart who lives on "The Busted Flush", a houseboat he aquired in a poker game. When he runs short on funds he takes on the occational investigative, recovery job for the fee of half of whatever he recovers. In this first addition Travis try's to help a young girl find her sadistic ex-boyfriend who stole a fortune that had been buried on the families property for years.
I enjoy this series because it returns us to the simpler days before the complications of modern technology. A fast action mystery series with grit, well developed characters and captivating stories. John MacDonald's writing has been touted and emulated by some of the best writers of our day and when coupled with Robert Petkoff's articulate narration produces an impressive combination.
First book in the long-running Travis McGee series. In this one, a woman’s dead father had hidden something valuable on their property and she was swindled out of it by his old Army buddy, an abusive rapist. Well-written and fun. You can see the influence on Michael Connelly, Stephen King (style not substance) and others.
This was my introduction to the work of John D. MacDonald, and I can't believe I've been unaware of this man's work all these years. I liked this first novel enough that, long before I'd finished it, I'd ordered the six other McGee books released to date.
I think Robert Petkoff is a perfect narrator for this book. I particularly like his range of voices for female characters. He avoids the common pitfall of many male readers of resorting to high-pitched squeaky voices for the women.
Other reviewers, some very familiar with the Travis McGee series, have mentioned being disappointed in Petkoff's reading. Perhaps because I'm new to MacDonald and McGee, I've no preconceived idea of what McGee should sound like, and Petkoff's treatment is now the perfect voice for McGee in my head.
There are 14 more Travis McGee books, and I hope Audible is recording them with Robert Petkoff as the narrator and an imminent release date. When that's done, there are 50 additional MacDonald books to look forward to. Get a move on, Audible: summer is coming and I want to vacation with as much MacDonald as possible!
I fell in love with Travis McGee years ago and read the entire series as each book was released. I'm so happy that Audible has finally decided to publish the audio-books. After all these years, I remember the characters but cannot remember the stories, so listening to the books is a reunion of old friends catching up on all the forgotten memories. I read each book several times, so I'm sure I will listen to the audio-books again and again. McGee reminds me of a male Kinsey Milhone. He's softer than previous hard-boiled PI's but still a womanizer. Much like Janet Evanovich's Ranger, McGee knows who he is and what he wants, and he refuses to take advantage of the "good people"--men or women.
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
YOU USE YOUR FACE, TO MAKE FACES WITH
McGee only works when he has to. Just like the A-Team, people find him. He gets them things they lost when they have given up on the law or can't ask the law for help. His fee is 50% of what he takes in. The customer gets 50%, but that is better than nothing. His bachelor pad is a boat. When he wants sex, he goes to a party, picks up a girl, takes her to his pad, beds her and than goes back to the party.
OUR DESIRE TO ACCEPT THAT KIND OF DOMINATION (50 shades of Gray)
I had trouble with two things. First were the women in this book. They are all very, very weak. I guess there were no strong women in 1964? One woman talks about her former boyfriend who raped her on a daily basis. She hated it at first, but grew to like it. He steals money from her and than does the same thing to another woman, who hated it at first but grew to look forward to it. I don't like the message this sends to young men. Reading this you would think that if you raped a woman often enough, she would grow to love it. The main character does not do this, he is more of a mother to them. He takes care of them and does not want sex from them. He will pick up a one night stand for that. He has to take care of them, cause they are weak and he is strong. I know guys who like weak women, because it makes them feel smarter and stronger. I also did not care for the preaching. He is always telling us how great he is and how we should be just like him. The book reads like a soap opera and very little action happens.
Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.
I picked this title up on the recommendation of one of the reviewers that I follow (Darwin8u). I was looking for a new series (having now substantially read/listened to the Harry Hole books), so I wasn't turned off by the suggestion that this was not just a beach-side read. As is usual with this particular reviewer, the observations were spot on, albeit that they were of two other MacDonald titles and I had to interpolate a bit, but I wanted to start at the beginning. That's the OCD in me.
MacDonald is a strange dude. He appears to be cast somewhere between Raymond Chandler and Hemingway (bizarre as that sounds); a fatalistic observer of life. Sometimes he goes close to almost profound observations, but at other times he seems happy to dispense the heavy hand of his lore.
Overall, I think I like the style, even if I am not yet a fan of McGee, the protagonist. I think he's one of those you need to grow into, a bit like Harry.
I thought Petkoff's narration was fine. I'm not sure why it has attracted such criticism in some reviews. I didn't find it monotone. Perhaps that was an observation made of McGee's fatalism.
This is not an easy read but, in it's own way, it is not a hard one. Given a bit of time to recover from McGee's opening gambit, I suspect I will go back for another round.
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.
I have read all 21 of the Travis McGee books over the years. I still have most of them in well worn paperback. They are timeless and exciting detective stories from a master yarn spinner.
The audio versions, to date, are not that great due to a bad selection of narrators; this series included. Robert Petkoff drones on in a monotonous monotone with no heart and less enthusiasms for the part. Why the audio book publishers keep picking lousy narrators for the voice of Travis McGee is beyond me. There are literally hundreds of fully qualified people who would jump at the chance to take on this series. It's a shame that none of them were chosen for the part.
Audio book publishers, you won't sell "Me" anymore of John D. MacDonald's work until you pick a decent narrator for the part. Audio versions of stories MUST have the proper actors to make them properly come alive. Why else make them into audio books?
"Brilliant Start to a Great Series!"
One of the best. Travis McGee is great.
The other Travis McGee books in the series. They all have the same main character.
Not heard Robert Petkoff before. He handled this story fantastically
Yes, it was great but listening in pieces of stolen time was perfect for this book. Between times I was wondering what would happen.
Superb start to a wonderful series of books.
"pulp at its very best"
Easily the best book I've read this year. The ending is simply the best ever.
The insight and clarity of a woman. Just read it and explore a new dimension of understanding human nature. Enjoy.
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