SLAM THE BIG DOOR by John O. MacDonald

SLAM THE BIG DOOR

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Though presented as ""suspense,"" this 1960 novel--a paperback original now appearing for the first time in US hardcover--is in fact one of the few MacDonald books involving virtually no crime or suspense at all. Instead, the emphasis here is on psychosexual soap opera--as 40-ish widower Mike Rodenska tries to save his old war buddy Troy Jamison from alcoholic self-destruction. A recent, grieving widower, Mike leaves N.Y. to visit old pal Troy on Florida's west coast, where (with money from wife #2 Mary) the former ad-man has become a smalltime builder with big development plans. Soon, however, Mike--who remembers when Troy lost wile #1 and a Madison Ave. career via a boozy nervous break-down--realizes that his old friend is beginning another downhill slide: cheating on his marvelous wife (with an opportunistic trollop), mismanaging a real-estate scheme, hitting the bottle. So Mike tries to help, first by making a smart deal with Troy's real-estate rivals. (Unlike the recent Barrier Island, this early book doesn't develop the real-estate shenanigans into thriller tensions.) Bul Mike's other efforts--paying off the trollop, bullying Troy into psychotherapy--are in vain, especially since Troy's sexy stepdaughter has her own unpleasant agenda; and there won't be a happy ending until a convenient car-crash eliminates all the hopeless sinners in the cast. This small, moralizing plot is filled out with Mike's own grapplings, some of them soggily verbose, with widowerhood and middle-aged lust. But the evocation of the snobbish Florida scene is still crisp and flesh; and the late John D.'s basic storytelling gifts come through strongly enough to half-compensate for the dated psychobabble and the non-suspense.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1987
ISBN: 0892961902
Publisher: Mysterious Press--dist. by Ballantine