Saturday, May 21, 2005
Border Town Girl -- John D. MacDonald
Every now and then I get the urge to revist something by John D. MacDonald. (So does Ed Gorman. Check out his post about The Brass Cupcake here.) I wanted something short and snappy, so I picked Border Town Girl, which isn't a novel but a collection of two novellas, the title one and another called Linda. Border Town Girl was published originally in Dime Detective in 1950, and this book publication is one of the rare occasions where JDM seems to have wanted his pulp work reprinted. (The edition pictured is the first one from Popular Library; it was later reprinted by Gold Medal.) I think one reason must be that he liked the villain so much. His name is Christy, and he's the forerunner of all those really bad guys that populated the Travis McGee series. The only problem with the story is that the hero overcomes him so easily. If you've ever doubted that JDM was a fine writer even before he started writing for Gold Medal, have a look at Border Town Girl. A lot of his virtues are already on display, along with some of his typical weaknesses. I'm glad I had another look at this one. Now I need to try Linda.