John Cardinal - gray eyes, red hair, six foot tall, 175 pounds.... and "vicious with a fast gun!"
One Thousand Dollars Reward! For the cold-blooded murder of a U.S. Marshal! For bank-robbery! Cattle-rustling! Stagecoach holdup! Horse-thieving! And for every other kind of skulduggery known!
But for John Cardinal himself, there was one terrible irony - he was innocent of all of those things, but determined to follow a fugitive's trail to a showdown with the false law of a passel of pistol-toting pursuers.
When I first arrived at Ballantine, where I am the mass market managing editor, we were just undergoing a daunting task: repackaging all of John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee novels. We were giving him a brand-new, beautiful look; ingeniously, we used a deep blue color for THE DEEP BLUE GOOD-BY, a gold color for A DEADLY SHADE OF GOLD, a lavender hue for THE LONG LAVENDER LOOK, etc. But as I worked on the actual stories themselves, I realized that as colorful as these books now are on the outside, they're even more colorful on the inside. In order to prepare these books, we had to have them retyped from scratch; some of these books are so old that the plates had died, so we had nothing to print from. So all the books had to be proofread as if they were new books, and what a joy it was working on them. I unexpectedly rediscovered an author and character I knew very little about. Travis McGee is one of the great characters in crime fiction, and John D. MacDonald a fascinating storyteller. You never know what either is going to do next, or say next; what is going on in their minds is as important, if not more so, then what is going on outside Travis's boat. All of which add up to a heckuva fun series.
Mark Rifkin, Managing Editorial