John D. MacDonald
A fast-moving, colorful mystery, with colorful but lightly sketched characters, amusing and occasionally intrusive introspection, and a tense conclusion.
Reviewed by David on November 30, 2003
Genre: Mystery (Amateur Sleuth)
Synopsis: This is an unabridged recording of Free Fall in Crimson.
Travis McGee, is a laid-back troubleshooter. He normally lazes around on his boat in Florida, until boredome, need for money or request of a friend impel him to solve crimes—without any legal standing.
In this case, a friendly request propel Travis to investigate a two-year-old unsolved murder. Ellis Esterland, a rich and widely disliked businessman was beaten to death in a remote rest stop. Now his estranged son Ron wants to know if Esterland's inheritance was the reason for his death.
Full Review: This is a typical Travis McGee adventure. It's full of colorful, often attractive people, sexual attraction, and sometimes intrusive introspection. Travis is a tough detective, not backing down from confrontations but generally prudent. Eager to help friends in need, he sometimes puts himself in danger, making him a classic hero.
He is also given to frequent monologues, both internal and audible, on ethics, temptation, moral choices, and so on. Implausibly, many other characters are given to doing the same things, sometimes, on very thin pretext. This allows quick portrayal of new characters, but strains the plausibility of the narrative.
However, despite these flaws the action is generally quick, sometimes remarkably so, and the reader is carried along on one adventure after another. A suitable tense struggle in the air on hot air baloons is followed by yet another tense sequence.
On the whole, this mystery is a pleasant, if not overly subtle diversion.
Overall: 5.5; Plot: 5; Characters: 5.5; Style: 6; World-building: 5; Originality: 5.5;
Copyright date 1981, Books on Tape, 1981, Audio cassette, 8 cassettesOrder from: Books on Tape