SUMMARIES AND REVIEWS OF JDM NOVELS
What follows on the next several pages is a look at the books, in alphabetical order, with the “blurb” from the back cover of each book. In a few cases I have added a somewhat critical and philosophical overview of the novel.
These reviews are being done as the spirit moves me, but it will be completed at some point.
Since one problem is not revealing the "ending" of a book I have chosen to comment on the skeleton of the plot and the impact of the book as a whole to me. I am on my 6th or 7th re-reading of most of the books, a process covering much of the past 40 years.
If you've read a particular book and want to share some thoughts just email me at
I’ve heard from D.R. Martin, who is more than an avid reader, and who has a blog devoted to discussing the McGee novels. Go to this site for more information:
SHE WOULD HAUNT ME FOREVER. . .
She had taken all I had - using the weapons of her money and her
demanding hunger for a new man to make me into something less than
a man. She had condemned everybody who had loved her to a lifetime
of shame and self-hatred.
But someone stronger than I had turned on her, killed her, and
thrown that tantalizing body into the cold lake.
And now all of us were free at last . . . or were we?
THE STAGE WAS SET Harry Mullin hit town first. Harry had
just made the F.B.I.'s Ten Most Wanted list, and he was a
little nervous about being seen With him at the rented
house from which they planned to case the job.
With him was a girl named Sal, who had fallen into the
easy sluttish rut of being a good woman to a bad man . . .
Then Ace turned up. The Ace had been very good in his
day, but he was going a little to flab, and maybe he
had lost something in the guts department . . .
The last one into town was Ronnie. Ronnie had killed
twelve men and two women in the past seven years,
and had gotten to like his job - maybe a little too much .
My brother's wife.
Weaver of black magic stained with blood.
Temptress who haunted my restless nights.
Wife gloriously beautiful in her widow's weeds.
Woman I still wanted with the craving of the damned.
Hodder and Stoughton: 1986
There are two kinds of men in Mississippi. The make natural
enemies. And sometimes, but only if the balance between strength
and weakness tips too far, unnatural allies.
Tucker Loomis is a hard and dangerous man with a ruthlessness all
West Bay fears and respects, and an improbable amount of money.
Wade Rowley is a common man who aspires to honor but gets caught
up in the footwork of a skilled swindler.
In a pitiless game with a few harsh rules and just one way of
keeping score, the wrong man will die and another will get away
with more than murder.
First published 1959 Fawcett
SURE, LEO RICE WAS A NICE GUY . . .
But why did he choose our beach? He could have gone ten miles up
the strip and all of us could have lived happily ever after - with
no questions asked.
1956 by Popular Library: 1965
TWO HEADLONG TALES OF INTRIGUE, SUSPENSE, AND MURDER
BY A MASTER STORYTELLER:
BORDER TOWN GIRL
Once, Lane Sanson had been a Somebody - a war correspondent and a
best-selling author. Now he was a nobody, bumming around Mexico.
Lost, lonely, hungry for hope, he was a pushover for a border town
B-girl - the perfect fall guy for a lethal frame-up.
She was born with the morality gene missing. As beautiful, as
inviting, as treacherous as the sea around her, Linda is one of
the most compelling women yet created by John D. MacDonald.
Take a hard-boiled ex-cop named Cliff Bartells.
Take a beautiful girl with the unlikely name of Melody Chance.
Take the death of of one Elizabeth Stegman of Boston,
Take her missing jewels insured for seven hundred and fifty
Add them all up and what have you got? Murder for profit. Cold
blooded, premeditated murder . . .
HER VENEER WAS BIG CITY . . .
But one look and you knew that Toni Raselle's instincts were
straight out of the river shack she came from.
I watched her as she toyed with the man, laughing, her tumbled
hair like raw blue-black silk, her brown shoulders bare. Eyes
deep-set, a girl with a gypsy look.
So this was the girl I had risked my life to find. This was the
girl who was going to lead me to a buried fortune in stolen loot.