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:


 Fawcett:  1954

                  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?

 Dell: 1956

        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 .

Dell:  1954

                 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




         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.


    FAWCETT:  1950


         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

         thousand dollars.

         Add them all up and what have you got? Murder for profit. Cold

         blooded, premeditated murder . . .

  Dell: 1955

                  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.


© CAL  2012