I've kicked off 2008 nicely with a pair of Travis McGee adventures. John D MacDonald excels at pacing and plotting. His meticulously outlined stories and vivid characterizations make this series a bellwether course in my literary diet. With better than twenty titles in the series, McGee stands as perhaps the most fully realized serial character I've ever encountered.
And I truly believe he'd kick James Bond's ass.
That's not a terrible comparison, really. Bond is smart. He's deadly. He's good with the ladies.
And McGee is all these things, too. It's just that he also has a soul. He cares deeply about the people around him. In The Green Ripper, he takes down a cabal of terrorists. The action sequence is really quite horrific--very graphic. That said, he acknowledges the lives he takes. He ruminates on the terrible things he's capable of doing to others.
He acknowledges luck as a major aspect of his longevity, but he's bright enough to know that his sacrifices (the way he trains, the things he forgoes to keep himself in shape) enable him to survive.
He's a blend of humility and pragmatism. He's both a drifter and an anchor. A lover and a fighter. And he's a shrewd observer of the human condition.
I'm moving on next week, but I've enjoyed spending some time with Travis. I'll catch up with him, maybe at his place (slip f-18, Bahia Del Mar Marina) for a Mexican beer, later on this summer.
Man, I could use a flagon of Boodles on ice...