Tuesday, 10 December 2013

2013 Top Ten Best Reads - Number 9

John D. MacDonald
In my 58 years on this Earth, I'd never read any of John D. MacDonald's writings. Unknowingly, I'd seen a movie based on his book Cape Fear (both the original, which was my preference, and the sequel, which I didn't particularly like). If anyone had asked me who was known for the Travis McGee novels, I might have known, but other than that, I'd never had any real interest in reading his stories. However, thanks to various threads in one of my Goodreads book clubs, the Mystery, Thriller group, I thought I should try the Travis McGee series as there were so many positive comments. I've slowly been collecting the series and this past year I decided to use John D. MacDonald as one of my focus authors so I could finally introduce myself to the series. September was Travis McGee month (if you're interested this was my BLog entry for September, describing my aim for the month).
Of course, I started with the first book in the series, The Deep Blue Good-By.  I must say I enjoyed it very much, it was an excellent introduction to Travis McGee and the type of mystery in which he involved himself. I gave it four stars. I particularly liked McGee's lone wolf type of personality, his jaundiced view of society and the lifestyle of the time period. Nightmare in Pink wasn't as good as the first, (it got kind of weird in the middle; there was psychedelic drugs, etc involved) but it still provided more info on McGee and the cast of characters was interesting.
Best Read Number 9 A Purple Place for Dying

It was book 3 of the series that is my Number 9 Best Read of 2013. That book is A Purple Place for Dying. The story line is basic. "A beautiful woman calls Travis McGee to Arizona. She needs his help recovering the money that her good-for-nothing, soon-to-be-ex-husband stole from her. But she's not long for the world, and even though his employer dies, Travis isn't giving up. It's not often he leaves Florida, and he's not about to go home empty-handed." There was something about the story that really grabbed me. McGee was suddenly very three-dimensional. The characters were very well-developed, with flaws and strengths and the story was extremely interesting, with nice surprises that I didn't expect. It was definitely one of my surprises of the year.
I did manage to finish one more Travis McGee mystery. The Quick Red Fox, which was also quite good, another 4 star read. Now that I've been satisfactorily introduced, I will continue to enjoy the series. A Purple Place for Dying isn't one of my traditional 5 star reads, but there you go. I'm definitely glad that I was intrigued enough to start this series. I highly recommend.
Number 8 of the year follows in the next day or so. I bet you can't wait. :0)

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