"About a year ago a friend gave me a truly tacky-looking 1960's paperback and suggested I not judge the book by its cover. Once I got into it, I discovered amazingly excellent writing, with little gems of wisdom, humor, and compassion casually slipped-in among the preposterous and inevitable sex, murder and mayhem. Classy trash! A beach book for intelligent readers! John D. MacDonald's insights on issues like environmental degradation, overpopulation, irresponsible development, and mindless materialism are as urgently relevant today as they were thirty years ago."
"The basic framework of a Travis McGee story is this: Travis, a brawny combat veteran, is a self-described beach bum and salvage expert. By "salvage" he means he will retrieve something of value that was taken from its rightful owner, something the victim can't get back by himself, and keep half as his fee. He lives in a houseboat –The Busted Flush- near Fort Lauderdale, drives an old Rolls Royce which someone had converted into a pickup truck, and works only when he feels like it or when he can't refuse doing a favor." http://www.thrillingdetective.com/
His best friend and next-berth neighbor is Meyer, a renowned economist and goldmine of knowledge and insight. With these two characters, the author manages to find a way to say whatever he wants about humankind and the state of the world.
For me the best thing about Travis is that he embodies the ideal of independence and is the very opposite of a Company Man. If MacDonald were around to write the series today, he would likely expand on that theme, comment on current and passing management fads, and make sad and ironic observations on the ways organizations are dealing with their people. McGee contemplates global problems, while solving local ones.
I am especially fond of the fact that his wife believed in his writing and set in motion a craftsman who takes us along on exciting bohemian journeys.
I may just be a little in love with Travis. He’s my kind of guy! He had me at “Salvage Consultant.” That’s what he calls himself!He has a wanderlust spirit and a Robin Hood soul. He has a sense of humor yet is contemplative about a variety of issues. And he has my financial sensibilities. Travis believes that it’s better to enjoy your retirement years in ‘installments’ while you’re young.
(Literal Latte Note* All of MacDonald’s titles have a colour in them. Start your trip to McGee–land with “The Deep Blue Good-By”)