The Deep Blue Goodbye by John D. MacDonald

The Deep Blue Goodbye cover image

The Deep Blue Goodbye cover image

What the blurb says: “Travis McGee isn’t your typical knight in shining armour. 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.

Travis McGee isn’t particularly strapped for cash, but how can anyone say no to Cathy, a sweet girl who’s been tortured repeatedly by  her manipulative ex-boyfriend Junior Allen? What Travis isn’t anticipating is just how many women Junior has torn apart and left in his wake.

As Travis hunts for the ruthless man who steals women’s sensibilities and livelihoods, he can’t guess how violent his quest is soon to become. He’ll learn the hard way that there must be casualties in this game of cat and mouse …”

Gosh, where to start.

Well, within the first few pages of this story I was both shocked that it’d taken me this long to pick up a John D. MacDonald novel, and delighted that there is now a whole new series for me to work my way through. MacDonald’s straight-talking, uber observant yet fast paced style feels highly contemporary, despite The Deep Blue Goodbye first being published in 1964.

Travis McGee is a character you can’t help but want to spend time with: tough yet tender, honest yet outside of the law when necessary, and to-the-point yet charming. He lives by his own rules, even when those rules might well get him into life or death situations.

In The Deep Blue Goodbye, Travis McGee is living on his houseboat, the Busted Flush, and not especially looking for work, but when a friend asks him to help her friend, Cathy, he agrees to look into the situation. He starts following the trail of Junior Allen, an insincere, charmingly seductive but abusive con-man, and as he digs a little deeper Travis discovers the wartime secret Cathy’s father left behind and just why it made her a target of Junior Allen. In the process of trying to recover what is rightfully Cathy’s, Travis comes across another woman who has suffered at the hands of Junior. Determined to help both woman, Travis tracks Junior down and prepares to confront him during the climax of the con he’s working on a group of young people. It’s a bold and dangerous move, and one that requires all Travis’ resourcefulness to survive.

As well as a masterfully plotted storyline, MacDonald’s book takes the reader into Travis’ world – Lauderdale, Florida in the 1960s. It balances perfectly timed action and pace with deep emotion and heartbreak. It makes you want to keep reading, undisturbed, from the first sentence to the very last.

Highly recommended.

 

The Deep Blue Goodbye is available through Transworld Digital on Kindle. Over the coming months each of the Travis McGee series will be re-published in order. This new release of the series includes a foreword by Lee Child.

[A massive thank you to Transworld Digital for my copy of The Deep Blue Goodbye]

7 thoughts on “The Deep Blue Goodbye by John D. MacDonald

  1. Sue Williams says:

    I’m a big fan of John D. McDonald too – I’m currently reading ‘A Tan and Sandy Silence’. I love how Travis McGee describes himself as a ‘salvage consultant’. Like you, I’m surprised at how current the books seem now, so many decades later. I think it helps that there’s a bit of an environment-destruction backdrop to the stories – depressingly similar to today. My only critcism of John D. is his women – somehow his female characters don’t seem as well-rounded as they could be. Maybe it’s a reflection of the times he wrote in. But he’s definitely one of my inspirations as I write!

    • crimethrillergirl says:

      Thanks for popping in to the blog. Let me know how you find A Tan and Sandy Silence – I’m not that far into the series yet. Yes, as you say lots of similarities to the environment today. The female characters reminded me a little of how Chandler wrote. Perhaps it is a reflection of the past. Either way, as you say the books are greatly inspirational.

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