Book Review: On the Run by John D. MacDonald (1963)

When I was in Milwaukee in October, I visited Downtown Books and bought a number of John D. MacDonald paperbacks, including this one, immediately after I read Judge Me Not. Well, okay, it was the next morning, but I plunked down $1.95 each for five of them.

On the Run runs long at 144 pages, but the title page indicates it was based on a story published in Cosmopolitan. A lot of the filler material includes long passages of declarations of love between the protagonists and a lot of early 1960s I’m OK, You’re OKism. Also, orgasms for women are good, and women who want them are not too much for a man to handle, they’re just right.

The premise, or at least the tease on the back cover, is that a man on the run from the mob is startled to find a beautiful woman who claims to represent his unremembered rich grandfather who wants to find his estranged grandchildren before he dies. The Man On The Run (MOTR) thinks it’s a scam, but he soon falls for the Cosmobabble of the liberated woman, who happens to be the rich grandfather’s nurse.

The book represents the worst pacing I have ever seen in a John D. MacDonald book, and I really hope he chalked this one up as an experimentation in style and a departure because he wanted to grow as an artist. However, at its slight weight, it’s interesting enough to follow to its conclusion, one of the darkest I have ever seen in a John D. MacDonald book–although the dark ending matches the beginning of The Green Ripper.

Well, sorry, MacDonald fans for blowing it for you.

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