The Green Ripper: 06/09/11
The Green Ripper by John D. MacDonald is the 19th Travis McGee mystery book. It was on my wishlist, on their early enough and for long enough I don't remember why I added it. But that's part of the fun of reading through the list.
The book follows on the heels (from what I've read) on The Empty Copper Sea where Travis had fallen in love with a woman named Gretel. She though dies mysteriously in the first chapter and sends Travis into a rage. First he wants revenge and then, coming to his senses, he wants to stop whomever is behind this deaths.
The book starts in Florida, on a yacht. It set me up with expectations for a mystery that takes advantage of the Florida setting. I was completely taken aback by the abrupt change in tone when Travis's research takes him to a commune in Ukiah California, of all places. I just wasn't expecting it to end up in my backyard.
So the book goes from being a murder made to look like natural causes, to infiltrating a domestic terrorist compound dressed up to like a hippy commune. While the second half was well written and thrilling, I never quite recovered from the genre whiplash I felt when the book changed locations and tone so abruptly.