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Book Note: John D. MacDonald, Cape Fear

I read this book about 14-Apr-2004. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 1957. This note was last modified Friday, 30-Apr-2004 13:43:23 PDT.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


A pre-Travis effort. A family is stalked by a crazy man that the husband caught committing rape in Australia during the war, and who was let out of military prison after 13 years. He starts with the family dog, and they believe he plans to carry through from there.

Even a friendly police chief can't do much. A private investigator with shady connections arranges to have the stalker beat, but the stalker wins that round (though he goes to jail for a month).

Finally they end up deciding to stake out the wife as bait, and plan to kill the man. The police even contribute a red-shirt (who dies). The final fight is gaudy, and ends with the man apparently getting away wounded -- except the police find his body in the woods soon.

There's a lot of good stuff in the portrayal of the family relationships. This is not your usual dysfunctional family.

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David Dyer-Bennet