Monday, May 4, 2009

Book Review: John D. MacDonald, One Monday We Killed Them All (1961)

For me, a major disappointment. Perhaps my expectations were too high, as I have seen this novel raved about in several notable places, but I really had to work to get through it. I found its first half slow and ponderous, weighed down by lectures on American law enforcement . . . and our judicial system . . . and our penal system . . . and so on . . . lectures of the sort that I would expect to hear in a bland freshman-level sociology class. But the crowning disappointment, once the narrative quickens, is that the novel's title, One Monday We Killed Them All, is not an accurate description of the Monday in question, no matter how you interpret it. Ah, John D. MacDonald. At least we'll always have Soft Touch. Grade: C-


  1. I'll have to put Soft Touch on my list, but despite your critique I may have to still pick up One Monday, if for no other reason than the looks people would give me on the train.
    I've read all 21 of the McGee's (starting to re-read now) and 4 um, non-McGee's.
    The End of the Night: One of the best ever.
    The Key to the Suite: Also pretty darn good, and remarkable in how little corporate culture has changed in 50 years.
    Dead Low Tide and The Brass Cupcake: Rather run-of-the-mill mysteries, IMHO.

  2. I've got The End of the Night gathering dust on my shelf; I'll make sure it's the next JDM that I read. And I'm glad to hear from someone who likes the Travis McGees--they've got such a bad rep these days that I've been scared away from them.