John D. MacDonald was an American writer, best known for his mystery series starring Travis McGee.
He originally planned to go into business, studying at the Wharton School and earning an MBA from Syracuse. At Syracuse, he met his wife, Dorothy Prentiss. The two married in 1937.
MacDonald's writing career began shortly after his service during World War II, when he worked as a pulp writer. In the first four months after his discharge, he completely concentrated on writing short stories, generating some 800,000 words and losing 20 pounds while typing during 14-hour daily sessions seven days a week. He wrote detective, western and science fiction stories, and made the transition to novels seamlessly.
His protagonists were often intelligent and introspective men, sometimes with a hard cynical streak. Travis McGee, the "salvage consultant" and "knight in rusting armor," was all of that. He first appeared in the 1964 novel The Deep Blue Good-by and was last seen in The Lonely Silver Rain in 1985. All titles in the 21-volume series include a color, and the novels usually feature an ever-changing array of female companions, plus an appearance by a sidekick known only as "Meyer," a retired economist. McGee lived on his 52-foot houseboat Busted Flush, named for the poker hand that started the run of luck in which he won her.
His work has been cited as an influence on many writers, including Carl Hiassen.