RARA-AVIS: A pair of John D. MacDonald Gold Medals

From: e_lynskey ( e_lynskey@yahoo.com)
Date: 03 Aug 2006

We've had some discussion on John D. MacDonald's books. I dug out two Gold Medal paperbacks from my TBR pile. They're titled CRY HARD, CRY FAST (1955) and THE DECEIVERS (1958). Both paperbacks must be reprints because they also advertise entries in the Travis McGee series. Both reads have strong points and perhaps less interesting aspects that have been noted here.

The main plot in CRY is a multi-vehicle smash-up on a small town highway and how it impacts the lives of various victims. The mini- story of the two bank robber-desperados on the lam is the most plausible while, the other accident victims' tales sound dated. Midway, several chapters detail the smash-up as it unfolds (on the fly) for each of the vehicles. These chapters seem to serve as filler and I found myself skimming them. This title I read in several sittings.

THE DECEIVERS is a bit more involved. Here, an executive holes up with his attractive next-door neighbor in a motel for four days while his wife recuperates from surgery at a hospital. (Remember, this was in the days before HMOs.) Granted, it was hard to work up much sympathy for these characters. Tell you what, though. I stayed up late to finish this one. It's noir, I guess. One scene involving a golf club beating is particularly hard-boiled, though.

All in all, JDM tells a rousing story with great settings and dialogue.

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