Cape Fear by John D. MacDonald
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When rapist Max Cady gets out of jail, he goes looking for the man who put him there, Sam Bowden...
Cape Fear, aka The Executioners, was the source for a couple pretty good movies, one of my favorite episodes of The Simpsons, and, in a way, Mr. Burns, a post-electric play so I figured I should give it a read when it showed up on the cheap.
I watched the Martin Scorcese reversion of the movie in recent memory and the book is a less intense, less interesting version. No philandering on Sam's part, no creepy-ass Juliette Lewis sucking on Robert DeNiro's finger. Between that and seeing the Simpsons episode about 300 times, there weren't many surprises. Cady plays cat and mouse with the Bowden family until the shit finally goes down. The basic beats were the same so I had some trouble staying interested.
The ending was different than the movie, though, which was a nice surprise. However, I prefer the ending of the DeNiro movie. Another strike against the book is how dated the relationship between Sam and his wife seemed, along with a lot of the dialogue.
Basically, I spoiled the book for myself by watching the movie and having my brain saturated by the Simpsons episode. The book still had its chilling moments and I'm sure I would have given it four stars had I not seen the movie first. This was one of the rare occasions I thought the movie trumped the book. Three out of five stars.
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