Broward News

Double Agent: The Next Bond Lives in a Lauderdale Houseboat

Meet Travis McGee, the world's next aspiring action hero. They can't all leap from the pages of fiction into celluloid as gracefully Ian Fleming's James Bond, but what the hell? The studios love the prospect of a franchise, and with 21 novels available for adaptation into screenplays, they could churn these puppies out into the next century.

But our hero has a flaw. It seems McGee's crime-fighting took place in South Florida during the mid-20th Century, while in the 21st Century, the job requires an international man of mystery, a la Bond or Jason Bourne.

Then again, it seems that what distinguished the McGee character was his trenchant observations about materialism run amok in modern culture, and it's gotten much worse since 1986, when the books' author, John D. McDonald, died.

So let McGee be a regional character. He can still have international appeal -- especially since South Florida also has huge roster of villains. Let McGee bring down Bernie Madoff. Let him tackle the dirty cops, the greedhead politicians, the doctors slinging prescription painkillers far and wide. Always these heroes are saving us from some outside evil. But after the housing bust and Ponzi schemes, we need a hero who saves us from ourselves.

Of course, McGee wouldn't be the first houseboat-dwelling superhero from South Florida. When will Riviera Beach gadfly Fane Lozman get his story optioned?

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Thomas Francis