Monday, August 29, 2011


Title: The Dreadful Lemon Sky
Author: John D. MacDonald
Bookmark: UP bookmark

It's not that I'm on a sudden MacDonald kick; it's that I found books in my apartment I'd never read before. I don't even know why I have them, or if they've been borrowed, and I need to return them to a rightful owner somewhere. If I borrowed a book from you years ago, let me know.

I'm glad I found them. I'd never read MacDonald before Cinnamon Skin, but I really like his work, even if some of it is a bit dated (many times during both books I thought "Holy shit! ...Well, it was the seventies..." or pondered how very different the story would have been if the protagonists had access to the internet or cell phones).

This time, an old acquaintance of McGee's (the jacket and Wikipedia article refer to her as "an old friend," but it turns out she was a one-night stand who later borrowed his boat for her honeymoon with a toolbag) shows up in the middle of the night with a box full of cash and a request: hold the cash. If he doesn't hear from her for a month, he should send it all to her sister. As payment, he keeps ten grand (roughly ten percent of the total stash). He quickly surmises that the money was no acquired through entirely legal channels, but she refuses to answer questions, insisting that he is being paid to hold the dough, not ask questions about it.

Naturally, she's dead before the month is up, and he decides to investigate.

The weird thing about the entire story is that while Meyer and McGee gets lots of solid leads and dutifully follow them all over Florida, they don't actually solve the case. They push enough buttons that the answer sort of falls out at their feet, but the answer they get isn't the one they expected--even though their expectations change a couple times along the way. For instance, when a prime suspect gets killed. They may have cracked the case, but I don't know that I'd say they solved it.

As any reader of mysteries might surmise, there is a lot more going on than anyone realizes, and by the end they have tangled with a drunken marina master (McGee "tangles" with the man's widow), a serial rapist with political ambitions, a landlord drug dealer, and a big nest of fire ants. Good times!

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posted by reyn at 6:44 PM


Blogger Elizabeth said...

WHY do some male characters always have to sleep with every major OR minor female character in a book? I mean, was it really necessary to make the woman a former one night stand?

And, of course, she never found a man better than McGee, probably. Married a toolbag, and likely regretted McGee the whole time.

Eh, who am I to complain ... I guess sex is the equivalent of romance for some books, and I never complain about female characters who have several men chastely pining after them. I guess we all have our own wish-fulfillment fantasies.

9/02/2011 8:06 AM  

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