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Cape Fear: A Novel (Formerly Titled the Executioners) Mass Market Paperback – April 25, 2006


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Product Details

  • Series: Formerly Titled the Executioners
  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett; Rei Mti edition (April 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449131904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449131909
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #761,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for John D. MacDonald
 
The great entertainer of our age, and a mesmerizing storyteller.”—Stephen King
 
“My favorite novelist of all time . . . All I ever wanted was to touch readers as powerfully as John D. MacDonald touched me. No price could be placed on the enormous pleasure that his books have given me. He captured the mood and the spirit of his times more accurately, more hauntingly, than any ‘literature’ writer—yet managed always to tell a thunderingly good, intensely suspenseful tale.”—Dean Koontz
 
“To diggers a thousand years from now, the works of John D. MacDonald would be a treasure on the order of the tomb of Tutankhamen.”—Kurt Vonnegut
 
“A master storyteller, a masterful suspense writer . . . John D. MacDonald is a shining example for all of us in the field. Talk about the best.”—Mary Higgins Clark
 
“The consummate pro, a master storyteller and witty observer . . . John D. MacDonald created a staggering quantity of wonderful books, each rich with characterization, suspense, and an almost intoxicating sense of place.”—Jonathan Kellerman
 
“There’s only one thing as good as reading a John D. MacDonald novel: reading it again. A writer way ahead of his time, he is the all-time master of the American mystery novel.”—John Saul

From the Inside Flap

An insane criminal threatens to destroy a family, and the police are powerless to protect them.
For fourteen years convicted rapist Max Cady nursed his hatred for Sam Bowden into an insane passion for revenge. He lived only for the day he would be free -- free to track down and destroy the man who had put him behind bars.
Murder was merciful compared to what Cady had in mind -- and what Cady had in mind was Bowden's innocent and lovely teenaged daughter . . . .
"A powerful and frightening story." -- The New York Times

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

John D. MacDonald was a master of the suspense novel.
Marjorie A. Cooper
The books ending really disappointed me but I liked it more than the movies for sure.
Joe
I found myself skimming pages because the content was adding nothing to the plot.
TEB

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Zeldock on May 16, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This tidy novel by John D. MacDonald would probably be lost today in the tidal wave of 20th-century thrillers and mysteries, if it weren't for the 1962 movie version with Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck (and the 1991 remake by Martin Scorsese, which I have not seen). While the book has a bit less action than the movie, it does develop the characters in much more interesting ways. The Sam of the book, for example, is more human and less steely jawed than Gregory Peck's portrayal, while his wife has more of a take-charge attitude than Polly Bergen displayed. We also learn more about the villain than the 1962 movie revealed.

The plot and various details of the setting are quite different from the 1962 movie. The setting is not specific (and has nothing to do with the Cape Fear River). The climax and the events leading up to it are especially unlike the movie (a nice surprise).

One other aspect of the book I need to comment on: MacDonald's portrayal of law practice is a little off the mark. First, in a conversation with one of his law partners, Sam is told that he's the token honest man in the firm, that every law firm has one, and that most lawyers are continually bending the rules. In reality, most lawyers are very particular about the rules; the rule-benders and corner-cutters are the minority. Second, at one point Sam calls his partner to "ask" if he can take a week off. Law-firm partners (especially in a small firm like Sam's) are all "bosses"; they don't need to ask each other for permission to take time off. (They may ask another partner if s/he wouldn't mind covering a matter while they're gone, but that's not what Sam was doing.) In any event, those are minor quibbles.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 17, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Though John D. MacDonald's "The Excecutioners" (renamed "Cape Fear" after the release of the movie) is an exceptional novel, one cannot help but compare it to the movie. Somehow, seeing these performances put on screen and portrayed to electrifying intensity (most notably the 1962 version, where Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck crackle with tension -- and Mitchum performs one of the most believeable performances ever filmed) makes it even better than merely reading it. I am not saying that, overall, movies are better than books, I believe neither medium is "better", both having their own advantages. MacDonald sure needs to receive kudos, though, for writing mounting suspense and for creating a memorable character in the villain Max Cady. Book: ****1/2. Movie ('62): *****. Movie ('91): ****1/2.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is the first MacDonald novel i read, being a HUGE Stephen King fan if he says it is worth it any doubt vanishes it is a real pity as usual to have seen the flick of anything first. The same goes for One flew over the cuckoo's nest with the jack Nicholson character, unfortunately you have formed an image of De Niro in this case of course that is very hard to wipe out because he just is such a great nut job in that role, any how the book differs just enough from the flick, there is a quick pace to the story and good character development.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richard O. Forzani on July 27, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback
To say that I'm a JD MacDonald fan would be understating my enthusiasm. I've probably read everything he's done several times each. He's amazing.

However, this particular effort seems a bit dated compared to his other works; the language, the character interplay, etc. One still observes the MacDonald style, but although this was his biggest Hollywood hit, I personally think it falls a bit short of his general body of work.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Because I had seen the film versions, I was continually imagining the actors in the roles of the book. There are several episodes in the book that didn't make the final film cuts, so that kept the book fresh and anticipatory for me. Classic stuff.
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By Joe on December 28, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I can tell that this has influenced modern writers of thriller fiction. There wasn't anything amazing about MacDonald's writing but you are able to overlook that because of his story telling. The story was really interesting and the way he went about telling it made it that much better. Max Cady is definitely the villain but there was always a little doubt put there because he really isn't in the book that much in person. He is manly in dialog between other people. This bit of mysteriousness makes him an even better villain for some reason. The dialog between Cady and Sam was some of my favorite parts. The books ending really disappointed me but I liked it more than the movies for sure. This is something to read just because it has one of the best villains in a thriller I've read so far.
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Thriller Lover VINE VOICE on December 6, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
CAPE FEAR is an entertaining novel written by John MacDonald in 1957. It's essentially a story about a civilized man whose family is being threatened by a murderous psychopath. The central theme of the book is how far the man will go to protect himself and the ones he loves.

MacDonald is certainly a highly skilled and intelligent writer, but CAPE FEAR left me somewhat cold. It's not very suspenseful or gripping, and I didn't feel the characters (especially the main character's children) were very well developed. A lot of the dialogue is pretty stilted. It's an interesting book on a thematic level, but I wasn't very engaged by it.

In short, CAPE FEAR is an enjoyable way to spend a few hours, but I wouldn't recommend it to a modern reader looking for fast-paced thrills.
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