Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Audiobook Review: The Deep Blue Good-by by John D. MacDonald

The Deep Blue Good-by

John D. MacDonald
Series: Travis McGee (Book 1)
Narrator: Robert Petkoff
Publication: Audible Studios (March 13, 2012)
Length: 6 hours

Description: From a beloved master of crime fiction, The Deep Blue Good-by is one of many classic novels featuring Travis McGee, the hard-boiled detective who lives on a houseboat.

Travis McGee is 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.

“John D. MacDonald was the great entertainer of our age, and a mesmerizing storyteller.”—Stephen King

McGee isn’t particularly strapped for cash, but how can anyone say no to Cathy, a sweet backwoods 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. Enter Junior’s latest victim, Lois Atkinson.

Frail and broken, Lois can barely get out of bed when Travis finds her, let alone keep herself alive. But Travis turns into Mother McGee, giving Lois new life as he looks for the ruthless man who steals women’s spirits and livelihoods. But 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

My Thoughts: THE DEEP BLUE GOOD-BY is the first Travis McGee mystery. It was written in 1964 and introduces Travis McGee who is a knight errant with really rusty armor. He lives on a houseboat he won in a poker game and is taking his retirement when he has the money. He'll help those in trouble when the law won't -- but he works for half of what he recovers.

Cathy Kerr comes to him with an interesting case. She knows her daddy brought something back from the War and hid it but then was sentenced to life in prison for killing an officer. After her daddy dies, Junior Allen comes around and moves in on her and her sister. He wants what her daddy hid. Along the way he wants to rape and brutalize Cathy and other women too.

Travis takes the job and begins to backtrack Cathy's daddy to figure out what he had hidden. He also discovers another of Allen's victims in divorcee Lois Atkinson who is near to death from Junior's attentions. Travis becomes Nurse McGee to take care of her and try to build back what Junior Allen destroyed.

This was a fascinating series beginning. McGee is a great character who has dropped out of the society of his day and has a keen eye for people. He doesn't trust much. Not politics, not credit cards, not the daily grind that occupies so many. He is tough on the bad guys and tender with the helpless victims and a proponent of tough love. He's trustworthy but not someone to build long-term plans with. He keeps his distance and tries to remain emotionally detached. 

I first read this book somewhere around 1972. My paperback copy has a $.60 cover price but a notation inside the cover says I paid $.40 for it. I bought the Audible version when it was on sale for $5.00 the other day. Listening to this one brought back the time when I read it and the time when it was written. It hasn't lost anything in excitement and action and intriguing characters. 

I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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