Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer


John D. MacDonald A Purple Place for Dying

A Purple Place for Dying is one of the more twisted Travis McGee novels. The third in the series, it’s one of the landlocked adventures in the early books. The novel is also one of the most surprising with the shocking murder taking place in the opening pages.

The cast of characters that glide through the pages are an interesting and over-the-top bunch, but they’re also very true to the kind of people they are. I grew up in an area that feels a lot like the setting for the book. Jass Yeoman is a lot like the tough cowboy types I grew up with, hard drinking, hard fisted men that didn’t back down from anything. The college professor and his doting sister seem really out of place in today’s world, but I can remember when people like this were almost – but not quite – the norm.

The mystery is a breezy concoction that holds together well and kept me guessing. I’d read the book years ago but had forgotten exactly who was behind everything that was going on. Reading it now at my age, I’m sure I understand a lot more of what John D. MacDonald was talking about. I probably just focused on the action and enjoyed the read.

I like the confrontation that took place between McGee and the sheriff, and how McGee kept outmaneuvering the lawman and ending up doing exactly what he wanted to do. The scene with the fireplace and the money, with McGee’s pride on the line, is also striking.

Some of the story feels a little dated, and maybe people have changed now from what they were then, but MacDonald had an eye for crafting people and situations that revealed so much of Americana at the time. He’s always a good read, and I love Travis McGee’s outlook on life. I’m having a blast taking another tour down the past with these books.

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