We just acquired some nice collectible John D. MacDonald paperbacks, so I asked furloughed Iliad employee and mystery expert Richard Brewer to tell us a little about this hardboiled legend… Thanks for a great blog, Richard!
Starting in nineteen-fifty and peaking in the mid to late 60s, the Fawcett Gold Medal line of paperbacks produced a solid stream of paperback original crime fiction by many of the up and coming and mystery writers of the day. Elmore Leonard, Jim Thompson, David Goodis were just a few of the authors published by Fawcett Gold Medal. One of the best was John D. MacDonald. More than half of his seventy novels would be Gold Medal originals. Known primarily for his color titled Travis McGee series (The Deep Blue Goodbye, A Deadly Shade of Gold), and the novel The Executioners which was made into the classic movie Cape Fear with Robert Mitchum and its successful remake of the same name with Robert DeNiro. MacDonald’s output was impressive, more so was the quality of his novels, as a story teller he is hard to beat, tightly plotted with well-developed characters his novels have never been out of print and pack a lot of punch into their relatively short page count. While the twenty-one McGee novels will keep any reader satisfied for some time, many of the contemporary lone wolf adventure detectives owe their existence to MacDonald’s “knight in rusty armor,” you can’t go wrong with such standalone classics as Murder in the Wind, April Evil, Where Is Janice Gantry, A Flash of Green, One Monday We Killed Them All or The Last One Left. I’ve read all of John D’s books so picking them up today (something I do on a regular basis) is like ordering comfort food. I know what I’m getting, I know it’s good and I know I’m going to enjoy it. If you haven’t read him, I can’t recommend them enough and I envy your journey of discovery.
(Click on the white caption at the bottom of any book cover below to buy.)