Coyote Cartography

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I’ve just started reading the third Travis McGee Novel, A Purple Place for Dying. McGee, a PI who described himself as a “salvage consultant,” starred in nearly two dozen books by author John D. MacDonald; I read the first book as quasi-inspiration for my two Florida noir shorts, and I’m considering getting back to that character/series. But yikes, the book kicks off with casually misogynistic action/narration, in that sort of sublimated, ambient way that I suppose one might expect in an adventure story written in the 1960s. Fifty-odd years later, though, it’s…disconcerting at best.

On the one hand, I’m surprised no one’s successfully made a movie or TV series about McGee. They came close in the early 1980s, with a TV movie starring Sam Elliott that inexplicably traded Florida for California, something Elliott thought was a mistake. On the other, one can argue that there effectively was a successful Travis McGee TV show in the 1970s that also traded Florida for California—and named the main character Jim Rockford.