Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Audiobook Review: Nightmare in Pink by John D. MacDonald

Nightmare in Pink

John D. MacDonald
Narrator: Robert Petkoff
Series: Travis McGee (Book 2)
Publication: Audible Studios (March 13, 2012)
Length: 5 hours and 39 minutes

Description: From a beloved master of crime fiction, Nightmare in Pink is one of many classic novels featuring Travis McGee, the hard-boiled detective who lives on a houseboat.

Travis McGee’s permanent address is the Busted Flush, Slip F-18, Bahia Mar, Lauderdale, and there isn’t a hell of a lot that compels him to leave it. Except maybe a call from an old army buddy who needs a favor. If it wasn’t for him, McGee might not be alive. For that kind of friend, Travis McGee will travel almost anywhere, even New York City. Especially when there’s a damsel in distress.

“As a young writer, all I ever wanted was to touch readers as powerfully as John D. MacDonald touched me.”—Dean Koontz

The damsel in question is his old friend’s kid sister, whose fiancé has just been murdered in what the authorities claim was a standard Manhattan mugging. But Nina knows better. Her soon-to-be husband had been digging around, finding scum and scandal at his real estate investment firm. And this scum will go to any lengths to make sure their secrets don’t get out.

Travis is determined to get to the bottom of things, but just as he’s closing in on the truth, he finds himself drugged and taken captive. If he’s being locked up in a mental institution with a steady stream of drugs siphoned into his body, how can Travis keep his promise to his old friend? More important, how can he get himself out alive?

My Thoughts: Mike Gibson was an Army buddy of Travia McGee's when they both served in Korea. Mike was blinded and otherwise injured and is in a VA hospital. He gives McGee a call and asks for a favor: his sister's fiancé was mugged and died, and he wants Travis to help her out. 

Travis will do anything for his old friend and heads off to New York City. Travis is taking his retirement a little at a time. He takes a job when he needs some money and then retires until he needs funds again. He's a sort of knight errant in tarnished armor. He'll help someone who needs him in exchange for half of what he recovers. 

Nina Gibson has some questions about her fiancé. After his death, she finds $10 thousand in a shoe box and doesn't know how he came by the money. As Travis begins to look he discovers a complex financial scheme going on. Some con artists are taking a wealthy guy for millions which means that Travis might have gotten in over his head. 

Travis stumbles into trouble and finds himself in a hospital where illegal experiments are going on. He's been dosed with an LSD-like potion and learns that the wealthy guy had had the same thing done to him before he had a lobotomy. 

He manages to get out, leaving a trail of bodies behind him, and gains a bit paycheck from the wealthy guy's wife. He also gets the girl - at least temporarily. 

Travis McGee is a character I first met in 1972 when I was riding Greyhound busses between graduate school and my hometown. He was an interesting sort of hero. He has a strong moral center, but it isn't conventional morality. His attitude toward women reads more than a little chauvinistic at a 50 year remove. But still, if a person is in really bad trouble, Travis McGee would still be my choice of a hero to call upon. 

I enjoyed this walk down memory lane. The narration was well done.

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

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