From: winter_writes@earthlink.net
Date: 16 Dec 2004


That pretty much sums up my opinion of the third Travis McGee outing. I'm not sure what MacDonald was going for here. Was it getting McGee out of Florida? (Wait. It's only the third book, and the last one took place in New York City.) Was this supposed to be a Western? What?

All I know is that I liked the first two McGees. Well-paced, suspenseful, and fun. I read this one and kept wanting to go back to the motel and hang in the bar instead of prowling all over Esmerelda County, Nevada, with McGee. The book took 200 pages to get interesting, and by then it was painful to finish. In fact, I'll go as far as to say if it weren't by John MacDonald, I'd have thrown the book across the room after about three chapters.

One thing I found off-putting was McGee's attitude towards women. When reading McGee, one accepts that he's a tad condeescending toward women, and in the first two books, some of them push back. In this one, McGee is put next to characters even more brazenly sexist than he is, and MacDonald tries to use this to make McGee look more noble. Doesn't work. He just comes off as slightly less an asshole than the other men around him. The Mexicans are cardboard cutouts, and so are the rich men of Esmerelda County. When Jass dies 2/3 of the way through the book, I thought, "You mean I still have about 90 pages left?"

I don't expect groundbreaking from the Travis McGee series, but I ought to have fun reading it. I didn't with this one. What should have been a fast read took me over a week to finish. Well, maybe my last four reads set the bar too high. Is it possible that, after reading THE MALTESE FALCON, a Chandler, a Ross Mac, and a classic Spillane, that I expected more? I doubt it. I know what JDM can do, and he didn't do it here. Copping and rewriting the ending to NIGHTMARE IN PINK for this one didn't help.

Jim Winter

http://www.jamesrwinter.com http://jamesrwinter.blogspot.com winter-newsletter-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 16 Dec 2004 EST