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The Deep Blue Good-By Audiobook

The Deep Blue Good-By: A Travis McGee Novel, Book 1

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Publisher's Summary

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.

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  •  
    writerly 03-16-12
    writerly 03-16-12 Member Since 2008
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    "From a (disappointed) Travis McGee reader"

    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.

    89 of 116 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dean Spersrud 04-10-12
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    "EXCELLENT PERIOD PIECE. OUTSTANDING FIRST BOOK."
    If you could sum up The Deep Blue Good-By in three words, what would they be?

    EASY , FUN READ


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    TRAVIS IS A REAL STAR!


    What about Robert Petkoff???s performance did you like?

    OUTSTANDING VOICE INTERPRETATION AND INFLECTION AT A GREAT PACE


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    NOT EXTREME, JUST ENTERTAINING


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam Lawrenceville, GA, United States 03-23-12
    Sam Lawrenceville, GA, United States 03-23-12
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    "Remembering and old master"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Deep Blue Good-By to be better than the print version?

    Different....very different but also the same. It catches Macdonald at his best


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    Which character – as performed by Robert Petkoff – was your favorite?

    Travis


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes


    Any additional comments?

    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

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Kraus Kingston, PA, United States 02-02-17
    Joe Kraus Kingston, PA, United States 02-02-17 Member Since 2011
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    "A Tired Knight Running from the Rabbits"
    Any additional comments?

    A couple days ago I saw Monty Python and the Holy Grail again. I laughed, as always, at the scene where the gang, encountering the vicious bunny guarding the final cave, tears into them. “Run away,” they shout, as the rabbit proves a menace greater than any other they’ve encountered.

    In this one, the bete noire is also a rabbit. It’s what McDonald labels “rabbit culture,” his thinly veiled reference to the prevalence of what Playboy promised with its photo-shopped pictures of naked beauties whose fake willingness hides a deep need. And here as well, we see a knight overwhelmed and fleeing in terror.

    On the one hand, there’s a measure of almost admirable sympathy to that view. Never mind that middle-aged Travis McGee seems always to be having to dodge the interest of such women, women who turn to him because they sense his strength and pry after it with their sexual wiles. At least (and it isn’t much) he sees beneath the veneer to a sense of the despair that mid-1960s culture represented.

    Rather than see such women as fully realized humans, though, he pities them for the way they’re inclined to settle. It’s not that he envisions the lives they might have if only they valued themselves more and put themselves forward. Instead, he laments that there aren’t enough decent men to pair off with each one. It isn’t the dependence and sexualization that makes him sad. It’s that such women find themselves in a world that makes it all the harder for them to become the wives and mothers they ought to be.

    The story within which that cultural sadness plays out has to do with Junior Allen, a vicious con-man lothario who imposes himself on one woman after another. He steals a fortune from a hapless family of a widow and her daughters, debases an especially lovely woman – more “lovely” than the dancers and centerfolds he also meets because of her New England breeding and family wealth – and takes up with a bunch of attractive 20 year-olds who, in McGee’s cold daylight study, have ‘flaws’ that keep them from being grade-A sex objects.

    McDonald moves the mystery/pursuit forward throughout this, but there’s a clumsiness that surprises me. Secondary characters rarely have any depth to them. Many reminded me of the kinds of characters you meet in video games. They just sort of exist until the point-of-view character arrives, asks the right questions, and get the next step toward the solution.

    With that, McDonald rarely goes more than 25-30 pages without moralizing about the sordid nature of the world we’ve built for them. He’s never subtle, always blunt, putting forward a pre-Reagan era cultural conservatism. As he says at one point, “Most of the wistful rabbits marry their unskilled men.” Or, soon after, “These are the slums of the heart, and bless the bunnies. This is the new Eden, and we are making no place for them.” Meanwhile, because he has pledged temporary loyalty to his upper-class client/girlfriend/pseudo-wife, he declines the chance to have sex with the girl who actually shows him the naked photos she’s had taken and sold to girly magazines – all this aboard a boat called “the playpen.”

    I understand McDonald by reputation as the most prominent heir to Hammett and Chandler in the 1950s to the 1970s period. This is the second I’ve read that suggests that’s far from true. There is some skill in the way he moves the narrative forward – there’s the occasional thumb nail sketch that makes me stand up and pay attention – but there’s an equal laziness about the form, a kind of second-rate Vegas act that knows its audience knows how the show works and has showed up just because it’s what you do when you’re in Vegas.

    Put that alongside the tired and condescending view of women – and the underlying sense that the real problem isn’t so much women as the sad fact that there aren’t enough Travis McGees to satisfy all of them – and this seems as much hack work as anything by Mickey Spillane.

    The final scene takes the sordidness almost to a new low. [SPOILER] There, as McGee mourns the loss of the woman he might have loved, he allows himself to accept the ministrations of a less attractive, less compelling woman. She’s wrong for him – a fact we know because she disrobes at his request rather than through any particular initiative – wrong because she has the temerity to have had a child and to have gotten early middle-aged chubby. She shows him comfort, though, and he takes it just long enough to get back on his feet. If it isn’t easy to watch McGee in his condescension, it’s even worse to see him wallowing in self-pity.

    Here’s a character who understands himself as heir to Chandler’s vision of a knight conducting himself as best he can in a fallen, modern world. Chandler makes the fantasy work because, judgmental as he is of the modern world, he still recognizes himself as part of it. He’s a curator of a lost code, a writer fashioning the what-could-be of today. McDonald is a heavy-handed moralizer, someone using his detective code as a tool for a sexism that, however it looked half a century ago, seems as sad and unimaginative as his own view of the then contemporary world.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wayne Matthews, NC 10-21-16
    Wayne Matthews, NC 10-21-16 Member Since 2017
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    "Light, fun, and shallow modern detective novel"

    I enjoyed this 2004 novel, the first in the Travis McGee series. Later books in this 21 novel series get much better. Books 6 - 21 are consistently great. I suggest Books 1 through 5 should be skipped to get to the really good stuff.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    murray LOS ANGELES, CA, United States 02-20-16
    murray LOS ANGELES, CA, United States 02-20-16 Member Since 2007
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    "PERFECT"
    If you could sum up The Deep Blue Good-By in three words, what would they be?

    american detective novel


    What did you like best about this story?

    the writing was so descriptive


    Which character – as performed by Robert Petkoff – was your favorite?

    the lead - travis


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    the way back for mrs. atkinson


    Any additional comments?

    only thing didn't like was the narrator's women's voices - his men was right on though

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    User 08-12-15
    User 08-12-15
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    "Good story, about an "R" for content"

    A good engaging mystery. Not ideal for listening with teens in the car- there are rape scenes and several graphic sex scenes.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon in Surrey Vancouver, Canada 04-04-15
    Sharon in Surrey Vancouver, Canada 04-04-15 Member Since 2006
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    "In Love With Travis McGee"
    What made the experience of listening to The Deep Blue Good-By the most enjoyable?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.


    What does Robert Petkoff bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Robert Petkoff makes the book come to life.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yup. It was. And I did.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl Douglasville, GA, United States 03-22-15
    Cheryl Douglasville, GA, United States 03-22-15 Member Since 2014
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    "My first Travis McGee book."

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carlos P. Zilzer Pembroke Pines, FL, USA 05-24-13
    Carlos P. Zilzer Pembroke Pines, FL, USA 05-24-13 Member Since 2008
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    "The story reflects the reality of that time"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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