Reviewed by Guest Contributor, Joyce Sparrow
Suggesting John D. MacDonald books to readers who enjoy Florida fiction is similar to advising Christians to read the Bible. There—I said it.
MacDonald’s writing focuses on the core of Florida. He magnifies the Sunshine State’s environmental and social issues while keeping readers engaged in the day to day life of the romantic and adventurous, Travis McGee, a salvage consultant who lives aboard his poker-prize houseboat, the Busted Flush, in slip F-18 at Bahia Mar yacht basin in Fort Lauderdale. The series includes 21 novels published between 1964 and 1985. Each novel is distinguished by a color named in the title. The series began with The Deep Blue Good-by and ended with The Lonely Silver Rain.
The Red Hot Typewriter: The Life and Times of John D. MacDonald by Hugh Merrill follows MacDonald’s career path from Pennsylvania, to New York and Mexico, and finally to Clearwater in 1949 and then Sarasota in 1951. It details the informal group of male writers who met every Friday at noon at the Plaza Restaurant in the Orange Blossom Hotel.
As an aside, Bill Ott, the editor and publisher for Booklist, is blogging about his Travis McGee reading project. Follow Ott’s Travis McGee Project at
Joyce Sparrow writes “Florida Reads” the book review column for the Florida Library Association’s publication, Florida Libraries. She also publishes book reviews in Library Journal. Contact Joyce at ReadFlorida@gmail.com.
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