Cape Fear by John D. MacDonald

Cape Fear

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 daugh...

Details Cape Fear

TitleCape Fear
Release DateFeb 1st, 1965
PublisherFawcett Publications, Inc.
GenreFiction, Thriller, Mystery, Horror, Crime, Classics, Mystery Thriller, Suspense

Reviews Cape Fear

  • Dan Schwent
    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 version of the movie in recent memory and the book is a less intense, less inter...
  • Joe Valdez
    The Executioners is the 1957 thriller by John D. MacDonald, the prolific author of pulp mystery and science fiction; the scent of nearly sixty year old paper in the edition I purchased was one of the book's mainline pleasures for me. MacDonald is best known as author of the twenty-one Travis McGee mysteries--with titles like The Deep Blue Good-by, A Tan and Sandy Silence or The Lonely Silver Rain color coded for airport travelers--and this novel,...
  • Zoeytron
    I'm late to the game with John D. MacDonald, this being the first of his novels I have read. There will be more, by the gods. Yes, the book is dated, both in ideas and dialog, first published in 1958. It still works pretty well, in a retro sort of way. The conversations between the husband and wife seemed off, couldn't buy it at all. I have to say that the original movie is preferable to the book for me, something that doesn't happen very often. ...
  • Lyn
    Reading John D. MacDonald’s excellent 1957 novel The Executioners (now published as Cape Fear because of the films) was a study in contrasts between the two films and the author’s original vision.The story goes that Gregory Peck, the star and producer of the 1962 film, did not like MacDonald’s title and so picked Cape Fear because of its ominous tone and because films with place names as titles tended to do well at the box office. Having re...
  • Darwin8u
    The best kind of John D. MacDonald novel. I've read so much Travis McGee, I've forgotten that John D. could write different characters. I liked Sam Bowden and his wife a lot. They seemed to reflect me (and my situation) more than Travis McGee ever did. I could relate better. It seemed a bit more grounded, less of a heroic caricature.
  • Vani
    Max Cady has spent 14 years in prison for raping a minor. The moment he is out of prison, he seeks vengeance from his lawyer, Sam Bowden, for using faulty defense tactics during his trial. With Max Cady closing in on Sam, killing his dog and then going after his wife and 3 children, Sam is forced to take help of professional killers to get rid of his deranged stalker. How does Sam survive this ordeal? Somehow, I liked the movie better. Robert De ...
  • Debbie Zapata
    I don't recall ever reading this intense MacDonald title, but I knew the basic story. Not from the two movie versions, I've never seen those, either. And after checking wiki after I finished the book, I don't plan to watch the movies. Neither one remained true to MacDonald's plot, and in my opinion his version is the most satisfying for the characters and the reader. Sam Bowden has to face the ultimate dilemma here. His family is being threatened...
  • Kristin
    Read this sometime in the 90's. I remember liking it, significantly more than the movie, but that was likely due to the grossness that is Juliette Lewis.
  • Nik Morton
    It’s 1957 and Sam Bowden is a dedicated lawyer, a happily married man with a lovely wife, Carol, and three children, Jamie, Bucky and Nancy. Way back in 1943, Bowden was a First Lieutenant on the Judge Advocate General’s Department and became a prime witness in the trial and conviction of staff sergeant Max Cady for the assault on a young woman in an alley. Significant memory – ‘I hard a whimpering in an alley. I thought it was a puppy or...
  • Kirk Smith
    Maybe a +3.5. I expected too much from this because the movie was so tense and action packed. The book does a better job developing the characters, but still it is overshadowed by the film. A good book nevertheless.
  • James Love
    Excellent suspense thriller. Enough differences between the two movies and the book to make it worthwhile. John D. MacDonald never fails to deliver a great novel.
  • Tony
    THE EXECUTIONERS. (1957). John D. MacDonald. ****.Sam Bowden was an attorney who lived in a small town with his wife and three children. Years ago, when he was in the service stationed in Australia, he stumbled on a rape in progress. He immediately turned for help and was able to save the girl from further harm. The man about to commit the crime was taken by the authorities, and after a trial was sentenced to life imprisonment. Fourteen years lat...
  • Carla Remy
    The death of a beloved family pet is so sad but dealt with very effectively for the plot. Emotional. Interesting (in the way John D. MacDonald always is). The end was a touch less than explosively climactic. The title is not great, probably why it was famously filmed (twice) as Cape Fear.
  • Winter Sophia Rose
    Gripping, Intense Cliff Hanger Till The End! I Loved It!
  • Rob
    It's 60 years since Cape Fear was first published.It's been adapted for the screen twice. First in 1962, directed by J Lee Thompson, and again in 1991 directed by Martin Scorsese.I can't think of many books that have been good enough to warrant being filmed twice in 30 years.It stands as a testament to just how great this book is. What makes a book a classic? I'm not really sure but this is one of them.When Sam Bowden helps send Max Cady to jail ...
  • Roger Pettit
    "Cape Fear" is a workmanlike, competent novel that falls under the heading of "pulp fiction". It is set in small-town America of the 1950s. The central characters are a young couple - Sam and Carol Bowden - and their three children. Sam is a successful lawyer. When he was serving in the US forces, he gave evidence against a fellow serviceman - Max Cady - who, as a result, was court-martialled and subsequently imprisoned for rape. After serving 13...
  • Dianne
    This is a classic thriller. A superb author, John D MacDonald, and two of the all time greatest actors, Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck, turned this story into a really scary movie. That movie was so powerful that decades later I could see the book characters on the silver screen. That made the book a five star for me. The dark and stormy night scene is what I remember most clearly.
  • Lady Delacour
    ⭐⭐⭐ Three Star Story! Enjoyed the positive family dynamics.The husband and wife real to lifeflirtatious banter was a hoot!Loved the HEA ending!!!Narrator Stephen Hoye was a disappointment.Almost clean except for some foul language. ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Three Star Story! Enjoyed the positive family dynamics.The husband and wife real to lifeflirtatious banter was a hoot!Loved the HEA ending!!!Narrator Stephen Hoye was a disappointment.Almost ...
  • Greg
    "[Society] is not set up to deal with a man who is trying specifically and irrationally to kill us," MacDonald writes in 1957. And over half a century later, that's still true. (Sandy Hook, Orlando, Oklahoma City, Boston Marathon, etc.) MacDonald offers no solutions. While the author is successful at painting a picture of a family in terror, the climax of the story falls disappointingly flat. But perhaps MacDonald was writing a book about what it...
  • Kelly
    Okay, I have to preface this by saying that the movie of Cape Fear (the one starring Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, and Juliette Lewis) is one of my all-time favorite movies. It is SO incredibly suspenseful and well-acted!!! I've never seen the first one (starring Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchem) but now that I've read the book, I would really like to see the original.I have to say that the book is not nearly as creepy or suspenseful as the movie (t...
  • Rebecca McNutt
    Incredibly disturbing, but nonetheless well-written and vivid, certainly worth reading.
  • Donna
    A thriller from start to finish. I saw the second movie years ago, and did not realize how far the book deviated from the movie. I liked the movie, but the book is far superior. The book has more characters, and all are well defined. In a thriller, I think, it is important for the author to make the reader care about the characters, and for the characters to be realistic. John D. MacDonald does this extremely well in this novel. As I was reading ...
  • Michael
    „Willst du erst alle Präzedenzfälle suchen und einen Bericht vorbereiten?“John D. MacDonalds EIN KÖDER FÜR DIE BESTIE (OT „The Executioners“) ist ein lesenswerter Thriller, doch eines muss vorausgeschickt werden: So lustlos, wie das Cover auf der 1985er Neuauflage im Ullstein Verlag, so katastrophal ist die Übersetzung von Charlotte Richter. Fast jede idiomatische Redewendung gerät ihr zum Fettnapf, aber selbst alltägliches Vokabul...
  • John
    Years ago, while stationed in Australia during WWII, Sam Bowden apprehended a US serviceman in the process of raping a 14-year-old in a dark alley. The rapist, Max Cady, was sentenced to a life of hard labor.Now Sam has become a somewhat stuffy small-town lawyer, secure in the bourne of his family: wife Carole, 14-year-old daughter Nancy, younger sons Jamie and Bucky. What could upset this steady if rather boring existence?After having served 13 ...
  • Craig Pittman
    This year marks the centennial of John D. MacDonald's birth, so my new year's resolution was to read as many of his non-Travis McGee books as I could. I started with one of his best-known books, "Cape Fear," originally titled "The Executioners." I liked it, but it's not what I expected."Cape Fear," originally published in 1957, has been made into two classic movies -- the original from 1962, starring Gregory Peck as the law-loving hero Sam Bowden...
  • Steven
    Easy to see why this novel was movie material because it has the classic story structure as Sam Bowden makes the journey through hell and back. My only real complaint with the novel version is that MacDonald at times spends too many pages on character back story that enriches the characterization, surely, but does not move the story forward. The other major difference from the movie version that was really surprising as I reread the novel is how ...
  • Jonathan
    Clearly this is a story that precedes novels and movies of recent decades. It is written almost like a Hitchcock story, with all of the suspense and build-up, but wherein the main antagonist is barely ever seen. It is and was an important book that must have influenced much of what we see today, but I found the pacing and the end result only somewhat satisfying. It is a great building block for writers to see a "how to" of suspense from a differe...
  • Craig
    Hmm, another rarity of the movie (DeNiro version) being better than the book. It was a great read but the ending was a bit of a let down. I guess it's because the movie is ingrained because I've seen it so many times and there are so many iconic scenes the book just felt a tad limp in comparison. Not bad.
  • Donald
    This is a heck of a read! Max Cady is a true psychopathic character and his presence brings terrific tension to this story! And this book gave me one of my favorite movies - "Cape Fear" - the one with DeNiro! It was cool to read this!