Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Stephen King on JDM

Question: "Is there a novel you go back to again and again? If so, why? What does it teach you?"

King:   "I go back to the John D. MacDonald novels from the fifties, like The End of the Night and One Monday We Killed Them All. Great stories. The Travis McGee books are small beer compared to the stand-alones (the greatest is The Last One Left); the stand-alones are real American literature -- rough, sure, but so's Thomas Wolfe. These books taught me how to write stories."

 --from The Secret Miracle: The Novelist's Handbook (2010) Edited by Daniel Alarcón

(Interestingly, the three titles King cites were all written in the sixties, not the fifties.)


  1. This is what I love about JDM. Every time I turn around, I find someone else praising a JDM book I've never heard of as his best work. Ed Gorman turned me on to The End of the Night and a Key to the Suite. David Rachels on Goodreads convinced me to give Soft Touch a try. They've all been extremely satisfying, but The End of the Night is still the reigning champ, if you ask me. But I guess I'll have to see if Mr. King is right about The Last One Left. [sarcastic sigh]

  2. You won't be disappointed, Joe. THE LAST ONE LEFT is one of JDM's great multi-character novels, with a sly crossover connection to the Travis McGee series included.