I’m sorry, ONE FEARFUL YELLOW EYE, I think a lot of this is me rather than you. Yes, I know I raced through you quite quickly and you might have got the impression than I was entranced by you, but really, I was just trying to get to the end.
The more I consider it, I may just have issues with the whole sub-genre of Florida crime fiction. I can remember once trying to read to Elmore Leonard’s RUM PUNCH and getting nowhere, the work of Carl Hiaasen has always left me cold, and I can’t say I’m blown away by the granddaddy of this genre, John D. MacDonald himself. Yes, I obviously liked it enough that this is the second Travis McGee novel I’ve read, but I’m far from convinced that there’ll be a third for me.
There’s something languid to the prose of these Florida books which doesn’t charm me. Instead, it irritates me. I find the tension diffuses and rather than being gripped, each book just drifts along.
And that’s before I got to various passages in this one about homosexuality and race which left a really bad taste in my mouth. That’s before I took a step back and pondered its problems with women (of course Travis McGee is a man manly enough he can cure a woman’s frigidity). The argument always wheeled out when readers come across difficult things like this is that times change and attitudes change. But there’s some stuff here that would surely have raised eyebrows in 1966.
Okay, ONE FEARFUL YELLOW EYE, you’re far from blameless in this break up. It just has to be said.
Stripped back to basics, the plot is fine and I like the mechanics of it all (even if the ending does turn out to be a big old deus ex machina) but there are real problems with this novel that go beyond the fact that the style of this entire genre just doesn’t work for me.
My debut novel, THE WANNABES – which has been out of print for a little while – is now available for free! A supernatural thriller of beautiful actresses and deadly ambition in London town, it’s well worth your time. You can get your copy here!