Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Green Ripper (1979)

The infamous 18th book in the Travis McGee series. Infamous because this one really splits the fans. Apparently it's both the favorite of many McGee fans and the least favorite. I loved it, although I understand the naysayers. McGee should be about parties on The Busted Flush, gin on the rocks, beach girls, Meyer's philosophies on life, and don't forget a mystery, usually involving a damaged female, maybe some stolen cash or buried treasure, and maybe one truly scary bad guy. And yes, The Green Ripper has all those things but what it mostly has is an incredibly violent revenge tale in which McGee suddenly becomes Rambo in First Blood. (By the way, JDM's book was first).

The basic storyline involves the death of McGee's current girlfriend. She dies from a sudden virus but Meyer figures out that she might have been killed. This leads McGee to a cult in California and a pretty shocking final act. Good stuff but I understand it's a little strange to see McGee with so much blood on his hands but one of the good things about this series is that McGee changes. He gets older, sadder, a little more cynical about the world, and less sure of himself. Personally, I don't think the McGee of this book is out of character.

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