Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Focus Author - September 2013 John D. MacDonald

John D. MacDonald
My focus author for September, if you haven't guessed already, is thriller writer John D. MacDonald. MacDonald lived between 1916 and 1986 and over that time, wrote 60+ novels and many short stories. MacDonald was born in Pennsylvania, moved with his family to Utica NY and later graduated with an MBA from Harvard University. He served in the Army, later in the OSS during the 2nd World War and retired as a Lieutenant - Colonel.

His first published work a short story was in 1945, which he sent home to his wife while still serving in the military. The rest, as they say is history. Probably his best known work was The Executioners, which was republished as Cape Fear. As well, he was known for his series based on Private Detective, Travis McGee.

I'd never read any of the McGee stories, but of late in my Mystery book group, there has been much discussion of the series. So for the past year or two, I've slowly been collecting the series and that will be my focus for September. I hope to read at least 4 of the books in the series. I've started with The Deep Blue Good-by, his first book, published in 1964. The edition shown is the one I'm reading, published by Ballantine in Dec 1983. I started it on September 1 and am already half through. I am enjoying the style of writing, I like Travis McGee and I like the pacing of the story. McGee lives on a houseboat in Fort Lauderdale and this mystery has so far taken him to New York and Texas. I look forward to seeing where the story ultimately leads me. It's a great read and I'm glad I've finally started reading the series. I have 11 of the 21 books and based on what I've read so far, I think I'll keep looking for the series.

Next in line will be the second book, Nightmare in Pink.  In it, McGee is asked by a friend from his military days to help his sister Nina in the investigation of her fiance's death and the large sum of money involved. The book's title is a reference to the inclusion of hallucinogenic drugs as a plot device in the climax. Much of the action takes place in New York City and upstate New York, a departure from McGee's usual haunts in Florida.

The remaining books in the series, like the first two, feature colours in their titles. They are -

A Purple Place for Dying
The Quick Red Fox
A Deadly Shade of Gold
Bright Orange for the Shroud
Darker then Amber
One Fearful Yellow Eye
Pale Gray for Guilt
The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper
Dress Her in Indigo
The Long Lavender Look
A Tan and Sandy Silence
The Scarlet Ruse
The Turquoise Lament
The Dreadful Lemon Sky
The Empty Copper Sea
The Green Ripper
Free Fall in Crimson
Cinnamon Skin
The Lonely Silver Rain

I'm looking forward to getting into the Travis McGee series. I hope the follow-on books are as good as the first.
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