Some of my work on Updike was discussed on The Dish with Andrew Sullivan.
Some of my work on Ross Macdonald was discussed on Pretty Sinister Books.
Here is my interview with superstar music impresario Wendy Starland.
Here is my interview with Pulitzer Prize nominee Olympia Vernon.
Here is my interview with the editor of Best American Short Stories, Heidi Pitlor.
Here is my interview with acclaimed artist Emil Kazaz.
My musing on John D. Macdonald, Travis McGee, and the chicks was picked up on The Rap Sheet.

John D. MacDonald: Nightmare in Pink

This second adventure in the series is a little bit cartoonish in plot,though sharp as ever in every other department, and somewhat more violent in the way it gets started – McGee is essentially asked to investigate a murder, that of Howard Plummer.  This is a notch down from the novels that precede and follow it, but still a rip roaring yarn indeed!  And dig the minor characters like the white sweatered girl walking the poodle, the New York cops McGee has to visit, and the ex employees of Armister visits.

The BIG QUOTE – Travis McGee on recreational sex: “If there’s no pain and no loss, it’s only recreational, and we can leave it to the minks.  People have to be valued.”

THE REFERRAL – Someone sends McGee the client.  He doesn’t find the client on his own.  Mike Gibson, McGee’s fellow soldier and wartime buddy, now dying in the hospital, refers McGee to his sister Nina in NYC when her boyfriend Howard Plummer is found dead in the street, the victim of a “mugging”.

THE WOMEN – The Travis McGee novels, in essence, are about his various kinds of relationships with various kinds of women.  The crime and recovery elements are almost incidental.  Nina Gibson; Terry Drummond; Constance Trimble Thatcher; Bonita Hersch; Rossa the Call Girl.  A great variety!

THE GROUP SCENE – Some sort of party or orgy figures importantly in the case.  There are two – Constance Thatcher is throwing a party as she meets with McGee and Nina brings McGee to a gathering of her friends that they leave very quickly after MacDonald indulges in a little satire.

THE MOTIVE FOR THE INITIAL CRIME  – Always greed, always lust for money – the other main motivations for criminal behavior, jealousy and revenge, are never present.  Mulligan, Hersch and Co. lobotomize Charles Armbrister in order to slowly cook his books over the years.

“DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT?” – This, or a variant, is asked by McGee of the woman he has gotten romantically involved with in the course of the story, or she asks it of him, right before they break up.   Total shmaltz—o-rama near the end of the novel between McGee and Nina:
        “I’ll always love you.  Can you understand that?”
        “Yes, but don’t ever try to make anyone else understand it, Nina.”
        “It will always be too private to tell.”

THE SOCIAL COMMENTARY – Remarks, usually negative and disapproving, about the way society is going.
Numerous examples exist; here’s just one:
        “New York is where it is going to begin, I think.  You can see it coming.  The insect experts have learned how it works with locusts.  Until locust population reaches a certain density, they all act like any grasshoppers.  When the critical point is reached, they turn savage and swarm, and try to eat the world.  One day soon two strangers will bump into each other at high noon in the middle of New York.  But this time they won’t snarl and go on.  They will stop and stare and then leap at each others’ throats in a dreadful silence.”

THE PHILOSOPHICAL COMMENTARY – Remarks about humanity and human nature on the whole. 
Again, there are many examples; here’s one:
        “A good listener is far more rare than an adequate lover.”

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