The following brief review of The End of the Night was published in the August 28, 1960 edition of the Miami Herald as the opening section of Beatrice Washburn’s regular Books in Review column headlined "MacDonald Had a Pen". It contains some original JDM quotes on modern child-rearing that he believed led to the formation of characters like Kirby Stone, Sander Golden, Robert Hernandez and Nan Koslov, the four members of the fictitious Wolf Pack.
Up in Sarasota lives John D. MacDonald, ex-Army lieutenant colonel who turns out books almost faster than a tape recorder. This is not to imply he needs one. No mere machine could keep up with Mr. MacDonald's mind which has produced more than thirty books in the last ten years.
It seems as though every time a batch of books arrives on the doorstep there is a MacDonald—both paper and hard covers. His last one The End of the Night (Simon and Schuster, $3.50) is, in our opinion, the best of the lot.
It is the tale, expertly told, of four young people who whip across the country in stolen cars, murdering, destroying, kidnapping, killing right and left. The four have come together by accident, from different walks of life.
One is a college youth from a good family, social register background, nice manners. One is "a caricature of the brute in man." One is a youth with, sharp, shallow face, hopelessly talkative, nervous, restless. One is a girl of the sub-moron variety.
This is one of those violence books you can't put down because the author has gone deep below the surface, of ferocity and unmeaning malignity to try and find out what has sparked this wolfpack of apparently sane young people.
"Monsters?" asks MacDonald. "If this type is a monster we have created him. He is our son. We have been told by our educators and psychologists to be permissive with him, let him express himself freely. If he throws all the sand out of his sandbox he is releasing hidden tensions. We deprived him of the security of knowing right and wrong.
"We let sleek men in high places go unpunished for amoral behavior and the boy heard us snicker. We labeled the pursuit of pleasure a valid goal, and insisted that his teachers turn schooling into fun. We preached group adjustment, security rather than challenge, protection rather than effort.
"We discarded the sexual taboos of centuries, and mislabeled the result freedom rather than license. Finally we poisoned his bone marrow with strontium 90.. sat back in ludicrous confidence expecting him to suddenly become a man.
"Why are we so shocked and horrified to find a child's emotions in a man's body -- savage, cruel, compulsive and shallow?"
In crime-suspense, Mr. MacDonald cannot be equaled. This time he has produced a thoughtful novel. Incidentally, if you ask him for advice, he might tell you to take a business course to become a writer. He took his bachelor's degree at Syracuse University, a master's degree in business administration at Harvard