For 20 years — from 1964 through 1984 — the Travis McGee novels by John D. MacDonald were a mainstay in the mystery genre. With each of the 21 titles including a color in their name, this was one of the first examples of books in a series having a theme. Living on a houseboat called The Busted Flush, which he won in a card game, the protagonist, McGee — who is neither a cop nor an investigator — is a “salvage consultant” for hire, regularly finding himself in a variety of mysterious predicaments. The first novel in the series, which had a major influence on Lee Child — the author of the best-selling Jack Reacher series — explains how McGee 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.
Focused on the recovery of stolen gem stones, this first entry in the Travis McGee series is an entertaining read. An Audible Original, the narration is excellent. The narrator has a pleasing voice that doesn’t get in the way of the story being told. As a fan of numerous modern-day mystery and thriller writers, I found it interesting to delve into a book and a series that made a lasting impact on some of my favorite authors, including Lee Child and Stephen King. Like exploring a musician’s vast body of music, I’m delighted that this series is a lengthy one. It gives me the opportunity to see how it evolves over time. Travis McGee is an interesting character and The Deep Blue Good-By is the perfect launching pad for him.