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Deep Blue Good-by; a Travis McGee novel by…

Deep Blue Good-by; a Travis McGee novel (original 1964; edition 1981)

by John D. MacDonald

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1,051None7,979 (3.74)48
Title:Deep Blue Good-by; a Travis McGee novel
Authors:John D. MacDonald
Info:Fawcett (1981), Mass Market Paperback, original copyright 1964
Collections:Your library
Tags:detective and mystery stories, Travis McGee series, Florida

Work details

The Deep Blue Good-by by John D. MacDonald (1964)

  1. 00
    Your Day in the Barrel by Alan Furst (clif_hiker)
    clif_hiker: I think MacDonald's book superior... but similar styles
  2. 00
    The Mango Opera by Tom Corcoran (ckNikka)
    ckNikka: More great Florida Noir
  3. 00
    Sanibel Flats by Randy Wayne White (ckNikka)
    ckNikka: The Orginial...
  4. 00
    The Harry Chronicles by Allan Pedrazas (ckNikka)
    ckNikka: great storytelling

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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
When I first arrived at Ballantine, where I am the mass market managing editor, we were just undergoing a daunting task: repackaging all of John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee novels. We were giving him a brand-new, beautiful look; ingeniously, we used a deep blue color for THE DEEP BLUE GOOD-BY, a gold color for A DEADLY SHADE OF GOLD, a lavender hue for THE LONG LAVENDER LOOK, etc. But as I worked on the actual stories themselves, I realized that as colorful as these books now are on the outside, they're even more colorful on the inside. In order to prepare these books, we had to have them retyped from scratch; some of these books are so old that the plates had died, so we had nothing to print from. So all the books had to be proofread as if they were new books, and what a joy it was working on them. I unexpectedly rediscovered an author and character I knew very little about. Travis McGee is one of the great characters in crime fiction, and John D. MacDonald a fascinating storyteller. You never know what either is going to do next, or say next; what is going on in their minds is as important, if not more so, then what is going on outside Travis's boat. All of which add up to a heckuva fun series. Mark Rifkin, Managing Editorial
  Hans.Michel | Sep 13, 2013 |
All my mystery-reading life (about 52 years now if you count Nancy Drew), I've managed to avoid reading John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee stories -- and his other works as well. I'd certainly heard of them, I just thought I wouldn't care for them. Recently, I mentioned my discovery that MacDonald and I shared a birthday, and some folks on a mystery discussion list I frequent urged me to give Travis McGee a try. Since this coincided with my reaching Florida in my "A Mystery for Every State" project, I plunged into THE DEEP BLUE GOOD-BY, the first in the series.

When we meet Travis McGee, he is already deep into his chosen career and lifestyle. The lifestyle is houseboat-dwelling beach bum with plenty of air-conditioning, steaks and good liquor. The career, engaged in only as needed, he describes (as quoted by a friend) as "...if X has something valuable and Y comes along and takes it away from him, and there is absolutely no way in the world X can ever get it back, then you come along and make a deal with X to get it back, and keep half." So McGee is not exactly a private eye, although he uses some of the same skills and methods.

"X," in this book, is a young dancer in a nearby club in Fort Lauderdale. Her imprisoned (and now dead) father had always promised the family riches after his return from World War II. It now appears the mysterious treasure, along with much of the woman's self-respect, was stolen by one Junior Allen, who had served time in Leavenworth with her father. Although he doesn't need the money yet, McGee feels sorry for her and agrees to try to retrieve the treasure; at this point he doesn't even know what it is.

During the hunt for Junior Allen, McGee finds a second "X." Lois Atkinson has not lost any money to Allen; what is far worse, she has nearly lost her sanity when McGee finds her. After beginning the process of nursing her back to health -- and falling in love with her, which is not part of his plan -- McGee is more determined than ever to stop Junior Allen. His efforts to do so make for a compelling novel.

THE DEEP BLUE GOOD-BY came out in 1964. The Florida it portrays is not today's Florida, but, according to Carl Hiassen's introduction to the edition I read, it carried the seeds of the state as it is today. From the ongoing party that is Lauderdale to the sleepy towns in the Keys, MacDonald describes Florida with love tinged with regret. Since I've never been to Florida, the atmosphere in THE DEEP BLUE GOOD-BY is exactly what I was looking for when I started this project -- an author's evocation of a place he loves and knows well.

The character of McGee has this in common with the classic private eye: he has his own code of ethical behavior, which may not always coincide with society's laws. In fact, societal rules of almost any kind are anathema to McGee; that's why he lives the way he does. McGee has obviously inspired great loyalty in his many fans -- indeed there was a section at the back of this edition with "Wisdom of Travis McGee." I'm afraid I might get a little sick of that if I read all the books in one big gulp, so I'll move on to something else for a while, but I do fully intend to read the remaining McGee stories over time.
( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
I thought the writing in this book was surprisingly awesome. I kept reading parts of it out loud to people, like, in restaurants or at work.

On the other hand, I wasn't all that fascinated by the plot. I'm glad I read it but I probably won't read any more in the series. ( )
  JenneB | Apr 2, 2013 |
I’ve never read a John D. MacDonald book before and I’ve read a lot of good things about his Travis McGee novels, so I thought I might start at the beginning for this series. This is the first in what is now a 21 book series and the first time we meet Travis McGee, a self-described "salvage consultant", almost like a treasure hunter but instead he recovers the property of his clients for a fee; half. He is hired and has to go up against the pathologically evil antagonist Junior Allen, who may seem friendly but has a very sinister agenda.

For a hard-boiled style "salvage consultant" McGee seems to be very ordinary; I felt like all the guys liked him (except the antagonist) and all the girls wanted him. There wasn’t much depth in the character at all except in one scene where he was ready to torture someone for information and I saw a glimpse of a sociopath in McGee. This just made me want to read a book with a sociopath hard-boiled detective, so if you have any recommendations let me know.

The story felt very predictable, it was more of a quick enjoyable story being told to me. I think, while this series might work well as filler reading to help recover from something heavy, there are much better books out there to read instead of this series. The sex and violence that was in this book was pretty intense for a book written in 1964 so I really don’t want to just write off the entire series because of predictability; so if you share a different opinion or can recommend me one of the Travis McGee books that could change my mind, please let me know. ( )
  knowledgelost | Mar 31, 2013 |
This is the first book of John MacDonald's, Travis MacGee mystery and thriller series. Travis is a "retriever", a person who gets back to you things and you don't want to go to the police, for a fee. He lives in Miami on a boat.

In this book Travis is approached by Cathy who ia a friend of a friend. Cathy's father had been in WWII in India and after that in jail for hitting an officer. In jail he meets a young man AA Allen and gets quite friendly with him. He dies in jail but Allen comes and stays with the family. Her he has an affair with Cathy and one day he suddenly leaves them just to reappear in town a month later with loads of money. This makes Cathy suspect that Allen has discovered her father secret hoard of money or whatever he managed to bring back from India.

MacGee gets on the trail of Allen where he discovers him to be fond of vulnerable, naive women. Lois is one of Allen's victims whom Travis takes under his wing. Lois slowly opens up to Travis revealing Allen's dangerous and perverted personality. Travis faces of with Allen in a superb and chilling finale.

This is a very well written book. The build up is fabulous and the finale is breath taking. A must read for mystery and thriller fans. ( )
  mausergem | Oct 31, 2012 |
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For Knox Burger, McGee's first editor
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It was to have been a quiet evening at home.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449223833, Mass Market Paperback)

He's 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....
With an introduction by CARL HIAASEN
"....the great entertainer of our age, and a mesmerizing storyteller."
"....a master storyteller, a masterful suspense writer."
"....a dominant influence on writers crafting the continuing series character."
"....my favorite novelist of all time."
"...the consummate pro, a master storyteller and witty observer."
"...remains one of my idols."
"...one of the great sagas in American fiction."
"...what a joy that these timeless and treasured novels are available again."

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:55:11 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

He's 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 ...… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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