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May 6th, 2013

By Philip Turner in: Books & Writing

The Colors in a Writer’s Mind–John D. MacDonald & Travis McGee

Scarlet Ruse
According to this National Post column by Robert Fulford that I tweeted about earlier, Random House is reissuing all 21 of John MacDonald’s Travis McGee novels, and some of his books that were not in the McGee series. I hope they include in the latter group, The Executioners, the book that was adapted for the movie “Cape Fear,” in the first instance starring Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck, and Polly Bergen (1962) and later, Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, and Jessica Lange (1991). The McGee titles were all color-coded, so readers could remember which ones they’d read, and which they’d missed. I am glad to see they’re coming back, as paperbacks and ebooks. I love these books and have blogged about them frequently in the past couple years. I had first found this John D. MacDonald fan page on Facebook, where I discovered the Fulford column posted by a fellow fan. At Undercover Books, where I worked from 1978-85, we stocked and sold and reordered all these titles. Most of the books in the gallery below were in the library of my late brother, Joel Turner, which I brought in to my own library after his death in 2009.

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September 15th, 2012

By Philip Turner in: Books & Writing; Music, Bands & Radio; Philip Turner's Books & Writing

#FridayReads, Sept. 14–“Rust Belt Chic” & “The Scarlet Ruse”

My belated #FridayReads is for the new book, Rust Belt Chic: A Cleveland Anthology, edited by Richey Piiparinen and Anne Trubek, to which I’ve contributed “Remembering Mr. Stress, Live at the Euclid Tavern,” an essay on the bluesman I followed devotedly for the many years I lived in Cleveland. I just got my own copy of the book yesterday and have begun reading my way through the more than 50 other entries in it, with pieces on legendary rock n’ roll scribe Jane Scott, poet hart Crane, graphic novelist Harvey Pekar, urban decay and renewal, and many other topics. It’s a thrill to be in this book with so many other terrific writers.

Before Rust Belt Chic‘s arrival in the mail yesterday I was reading one of John D. MacDoanld’s gripping Travis McGee novel’s The Scarlet Ruse, which I’m continuing to enjoy this weekend. If you too enjoy MacDonald’s work, please note I’ve blogged about his novels a number of times, and I learned this week there’s a Facebook group page in his honor, which I invite you to check out and consider joining. It’s always fun to have such great nonfiction and fiction on the boil.

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February 24th, 2012

By Philip Turner in: Books & Writing; Canada

#Fridayreads/Feb. 24–“Something Fierce”

#Fridayreads Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter, Carmen Aguirre’s chronicle of her upbringing in flight from Pinochet’s Chile, winner of the 2012 Canada Reads: True Stories competition. Aguirre’s family first fled to Canada after Allende’s fall, but her firebrand mother moved them to Bolivia, on the doorstep of their homeland, so she could participate in the revolutionary struggle to liberate their country. When Carmen turns 18, she becomes an active member of the struggle. Gripping and good.
Also, finishing John D. MacDonald’s the chiller, The Executioners, the 1957 novel on which the movie “Cape Fear” would be based.

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February 10th, 2012

By Philip Turner in: Books & Writing

#Fridayreads/Feb 10–The Executioners

#fridayreads–Creator of the Travis McGee series, John D. MacDonald’s The Executioners the basis of “Cape Fear,” w/Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck.

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October 30th, 2011

By Philip Turner in: Music, Bands & Radio; Personal History, Family, Friends, Education, Travels

Did You Own the AR-1 Speakers?

Fascinating NY Times obit of the man whose inventing led to modern hi-fi speakers, the Acoustic Research make, and KLH. I had both brands back in the day, and loved them. In the classic Travis McGee suspense novels by John D. MacDonald, Trav is always cranking up his AR-1s on his houseboat to enjoy some cool jazz. In my own music listening history, getting a good set of speakers, in fact buying any new audio equipment, was a milestone, a truly exciting event.  http://nyti.ms/ruhu9Z

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October 30th, 2011

By Philip Turner in: Books & Writing

#fridayreads/Oct. 28

I really enjoy posting each week in #fridayreads what my current fave book is. For this week it’s ‘Darker Than Amber,’ a 1966 Travis McGee suspenser by John D. MacDonald. Great series, great character. Also enjoying finding new virtual friends at McGee fan site: http://drmar120.wordpress.com