"Every writer is going to put into the mouths of the people he wants you to respect opinions that he thinks are respectable. It's that simple."-John D. MacDonald
John D. MacDonald was disputably the first South Florida crime fiction author. Although he is no longer alive, his books continue on as timeless classics of the genre.
Travis McGee, My Hero
Travis McGee is the original South Florida crime fiction "hero." McGee refers to himself as a "salvage expert," not a detective. McGee wants to help people who have no other options, not for profit, but to right an apparent social wrong. Travis McGee is characteristic of the genre's heroes in his reverence for the environment, and his lack of connection to society. He lives on a boat, theBusted Flush, which gives him further separation from society and greater connection to his environment. "He is a loner, apart from, and often critical of, and rebellious toward the world around him. He has one good friend, Meyer, who he can confide in and who occassionally rescues him when he's in distress"(MysteryPages.com).
Boone Waxwell: A Typical Villain
In Bright Orange for the Shroud, John D. MacDonald created an abnormal, amoral bastard to contend McGee. Boone Waxwell displays symptoms of anti-social personality disorder in his lack of remorse for the wicked crimes he commits. Waxwell proves to be a powerful threat to our hero. McGee is shot by Waxwell at one point in the novel, leaving readers on the edge of their seats. Will evil prevail?
Waxwell lives in a shack in the outskirts of town. His immorality is most blatant in his manipulation of a local high school girl named Cindy, who rides the scooter he bought her to his shack after school. Travis McGee comments that Cindy seems a little young for Waxwell. He responds, "The man say they big enough, they old enough. I give her a loan of that scooter bug... she's my nearby girl this year. A nearby girl is when it's too damn much trouble to go after anything else." Repulsive, isn't he?
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