In the March issue of Mystery Scene magazine, Ed Gorman wrote an article on “My 10 Favorite John D. MacDonald Standalone Novels.” And here’s the list:
1. Dead Low Tide
2. Soft Touch
3. Deadly Welcome
4. Murder in the Wind
5. The Executioners
6. Slam the Big Door
7. The End of the Night
8. A Key to the Suite
9. A Flash of Green
10. The Drowner

This week, we’re up to Number Two: Soft Touch from 1959. Jerry Jamison works for his father-in-law’s construction company in Florida. Jerry’s wife, his boss’s daughter, is a drunk. Jerry wants to escape his dead end job and his loveless marriage. When an old friend from his military years shows up with a caper to steal three million dollars, Jerry reluctantly decides to participate. He thinks his million dollar cut will solve all of his problems. But, as with many capers, things go wrong. Jerry and his buddy aren’t the only one’s going after the money. In the shoot-out, Jerry’s friend is shot, but Jerry manages to load the money into their get-away car. The perfect escape plan slowly unravels. If you’re in the mood for a classic caper novel, Soft Touch will keep you on the edge of your seat.

14 thoughts on “FORGOTTEN BOOKS #222: SOFT TOUCH By John D. MacDonald

    1. george Post author

      Prashant, the covers on those old DELL paperbacks are dazzling! When I was a kid, I bought a lot of those DELLs just for the cover artwork.

  1. Sergio (Tipping My Fedora)

    The second cover looks like a Robert McGinnis and is a beaut! I’m not always keen on stories without some character to really empathise with, though having said that I was just flicking through Thompson’s THE GETAWAY and it is utterly brilliant if truly amoral. Thanks for the JDM rundown George.

    1. george Post author

      Sergio, John D. MacDonald’s novels are always character-driven. For an amoral character, you’d have to turn to “Richard Stark” and his professional thief, Parker. Or, as you point out, Jim Thompson’s work.

  2. Dan

    This was filmed in 1961 as MAN TRAP, directed by actor Edmond O’Brien, with Jefrey Hunter, David Janssen and Stella Stevens.

  3. Jeff Meyerson

    Now this one I know I haven’t read. The caper element makes it attractive to me, however.

    OK, ordered a copy.

  4. RkR

    Ok, my comment went up in smoke. To repeat: That second cover is great, all right. The one on the copy I got recently is very 70s. As for the book, this sounds like one of the more noir plots of the books on the list.

  5. Carl V.

    I’m so excited to read this. I bought the copy with the McGinnis cover years ago because a) its McGinnis and b) I am a sucker for redheads and have bought several of these old books regardless of artist because of it being a ginger-haired lass on the cover. Very cool to know the book itself is a darn good one.


Leave a Reply

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