Book Report: The Empty Copper Sea by John D. MacDonald (1978)

I paid a whole $3.00 for this book at the Carondolet YMCA Book Fair last weekend. It’s a lot for me to pay for a book, I know, but this one is a stated first edition. So I threw it in my box. As you know, gentle reader, John D. MacDonald is one of my favorite authors, and to get one of his first editions for only three dollars, well, I’d make that purchase any day of the week. Because of my love for JDM, I didn’t evaluate the book coldly, rationally, like a true book collector, otherwise I would have noted the pen scribbling–hopefully by a child–inside the front and back cover and perhaps the slight molding on the spine. But since I’m thrilled to have this first edition for my collection and not for investment purposes, it will do.

An old seafaring acquaintance of Travis McGee commissions the salvage expert to find and return his good name. Captain Van Harder was found passed out aboard the ship he was piloting after its owner fell overboard. Although he battled and conquered drinking demons in his youth, no one believes him that he only had one drink on the job, and his license and livelihood are revoked. McGee travels to the gulf coast of Florida with his friend Meyer to investigate the disappearance of the owner. As his business was on the rocks, could the owner have slipped a mickey to his captain and friend to stage a disappearance to Mexico? It certainly looks that way.

I cannot really say anything bad about this novel without trying very hard, so I won’t bother. I paid $3.00 for a book I’d already ready and might already own and I read it the same week I bought it. Let that guide your thinking about my opinion of the book.

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