WaPo's Jonathan Yardley offers a welcome appreciation of John D. MacDonald, the more-read-than-praised author of Tough Guy paperback originals. MacDonald's most enduring creation is certainly the Travis McGee series; Yardley writes that McGee "is one of the great characters in contemporary American fiction—not crime fiction; fiction, period…."
Yardley recalls that he was surprised by MacDonald when he first read his stuff. "This man whom I'd snobbishly dismissed as a paperback writer turned out to be a novelist of the highest professionalism and a social critic armed with vigorous opinions stingingly expressed. His prose had energy, wit and bite, his plots were humdingers, his characters talked like real people, and his knowledge of the contemporary world was—no other word will do—breathtaking."