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John D. MacDonald Biography
John Dann MacDonald (1916 - 1986), writing as "John D. MacDonald", was an American writer best known for his series of detective novels featuring protagonist Travis McGee. MacDonald was named a grand master of the Mystery Writers of America in 1972 and won the American Book Award in 1980. Stephen King called him "the great entertainer of our age, and a mesmerizing storyteller."

MacDonald's education included an MBA from Harvard University, and he served in the OSS in the Far East during World War II. His literary career began accidentally, when while still in the military he wrote a short story and mailed it home for his wife's amusement. Allegedly she submitted it to a magazine without his knowledge, and it was accepted. With that inspiration, MacDonald jumped headfirst into writing after the war, generating story after story for the "pulp magazines", including detective stories, science fiction, and westerns. Then he successfully made the jump to longer fiction as the boom in paperback novels took hold. His first novel was The Brass Cupcake in 1950.

MacDonald's protagonists were often intelligent and introspective men, sometimes with a hard cynical streak. Travis McGee, the "salvage consultant" and "knight in rusting armor", was all of that. He first appeared in the 1964 novel The Deep Blue Good-by and was last seen in The Lonely Silver Rain in 1985. (All titles in the 21-volume series include a color.) The novels usually feature an appearance by a sidekick known only as "Meyer" who is a retired economist, along with an ever-changing array of female companions. As Sherlock Holmes had his well-known address on Baker Street, McGee had his trademark lodgings on the houseboat Busted Flush, named for the poker hand with which he won it, docked at slip F-18 at Bahia Mar marina in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Various writers have acknowledged the trail which MacDonald and McGee blazed, including Carl Hiaasen in an introduction to a 1990s edition of The Deep Blue Good-by. Said Hiaasen, "Most readers loved MacDonald's work because he told a rip-roaring yarn. I loved it because he was the first modern writer to nail Florida dead-center, to capture all its languid sleaze, racy sense of promise, and breath-grabbing beauty."

MacDonald's 1957 novel The Executioners was made into a movie entitled "Cape Fear" in 1962, and again in 1991. Among other film or television adaptations of MacDonald's work, the 1984 A Flash of Green was probably the most successful. An unsuccessful attempt was made in 1970 to translate Travis McGee to the big screen with Darker Than Amber.

The Travis McGee series, in chronological order:

The Deep Blue Good-by
Nightmare in Pink
A Purple Place for Dying
The Quick Red Fox
A Deadly Shade of Gold
Bright Orange for the Shroud
Darker than Amber
One Fearful Yellow Eye
Pale Gray for Guilt
The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper
The Long Lavender Look
A Tan and Sandy Silence
Dress Her in Indigo
The Scarlet Ruse
The Turquoise Lament
The Dreadful Lemon Sky
The Empty Copper Sea
The Green Ripper
Free Fall in Crimson
Cinnamon Skin
The Lonely Silver Rain
Selected novels not in the Travis McGee series:

Barrier Island
The Brass Cupcake
Deadly Welcome
The Executioners (republished as Cape Fear)
A Flash of Green (not a Travis McGee despite the color name)
The Girl, The Gold Watch and Everything
One More Sunday
Please Write for Details
Slam the Big Door
Short story collections:

End of the Tiger and Other Stories
Other Times, Other Worlds
The Good Old Stuff
More Good Old Stuff
John D. MacDonald Resources
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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article John D. MacDonald.