Pulp Friday: the pulp of John D MacDonald

The Empty Trap popular Library 1957“He Sold His Soul For Another Man’s Wife.”

This weeks Pulp Friday is a selection of covers from the prolific US thriller writer, John D MacDonald.

MacDonald got his start writing for pulp magazines in the late forties, then rode the paperback boom that occurred in the fifties and early sixties. He was the author of over sixties books, as well as numerous short stories and articles.

He is probably best know for creating the fictional private investigator Travis McGee, who featured in 21 of McDonald’s books.

A number of his books have been adapted for film and television. His novel The Executioners was filmed as Cape Fear, starring Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum and Polly Bergen, in 1962, and again by Martin Scorsese in 1991. One of the McGee books, Darker Than Amber, was made into a film of the same name, starring Rod Taylor, in 1970.

The following selection of covers spans the late fifties to the early seventies and include many of the Fawcett Gold Medal editions of McDonald’s work, as well as the UK Pan paperback additions.


April-Evil3 You Live Once Fawcett Gold medal 1957

Cape Fear Coronet Books 1960

Death Trap Pan 1958

The Only Girl in the Game Fawcett Gold Medal 1960

The Only Girl in the Game Pan Books 1960

One Monday We Killed then all Fawcett Gold medal 1961

On The Run Gold Medal Books 1963

The Drowner Fawcett Gold medal 1963

The Quick Red Fox Pan Books 1964

Dress Her in Indigo GM version Fawcett gold medal 1969

Darker than amber. Pan Books 1966jpeg

The Damned Fawcett Gold medal

The Neon Jungle FG medal 1988


5 Responses

  1. There was also a telemovie called Travis McGee based on The Empty Copper Sea – starring Sam Elliott and Katharine Ross.

  2. Terry,
    Never heard of that one. It sounds great. Do you know whether it is available on DVD pr VHS anywhere?

  3. They are lovely covers. I have some of the Travis McGee covers, not many of the standalone books in old vintage covers.

  4. Steve Wellmeier

    Some great JDM covers are shown above. I’ve been systematically reading the older stand-along novels, having finished the Travis McGee series, and find them outstanding. Most are easily found, some in original paperback versions, on Amazon, AbeBooks, etc. Also, a great website for JDM fans is “The Trap of Solid Gold” by Steve Scott: http://thetrapofsolidgold.blogspot.com

    Simply do a search on the site for the novel you’re interested in, and a great synopsis and evaluation comes up, along with most of the different covers for each novel. Steve has done an excellent job with his site.

  5. Steve,
    Thanks for stopping by. The site you mention does look terrific.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.