Book Reviews of Cape Fear

Cape Fear
Cape Fear
Author: John D. MacDonald
ISBN-13: 9780449131909
ISBN-10: 0449131904
Pages: 214
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.

3.9 stars, based on 25 ratings
Publisher: Fawcett
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

6 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Cape Fear on
A terrific suspense novel about a lawyer and the man he put behind bars and revenge.
reviewed Cape Fear on + 16 more book reviews
An insane criminal threatens to destroy a family, and the police are powerless to protect them...for 14 years convicted rapist Max Cady nursed hs hatred for Sam Bowden into an insane passion for revenge. Murder was merciful compared to what Cady had in mind-and what Cady had in mind was Bowden's innocent and lovely teenaged daughter...
reviewed Cape Fear on + 28 more book reviews
Excellent read, expect suspense all throughout this book.
reviewed Cape Fear on + 33 more book reviews
The one I have is titled The Executioners.

Mild mannered attorney Sam Bowden and his wife protect their family from a psychopath he crossed paths with many years before.

I don't know why it was re-titled-doesn't make any sense-no connection.
reviewed Cape Fear on
This book made me feel fear to levels I never knew existed.
In my experience, I have never known any book to be this suspenseful.
reviewed Cape Fear on + 644 more book reviews
Cape Fear or The Executioners, as it was originally titled, is a really gripping suspense novel from MacDonald. The book was written in 1957 and filmed two times, once in 1962 starring Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck and again in 1991 starring Robert De Niro and Nick Nolte. Both versions of the movie are top-notch and the novel is just as good although a little dated.

The novel is about an insane criminal, Max Cady, who has been released from a life sentence for rape and goes after the man, Sam Bowden, who testified against him 14 years earlier during WWII. Cady makes veiled threats against Sam and his family including his wife and three children but the police can do nothing based only on threats. The story has a real sense of foreboding and dread with Sam and his family not knowing when or if Cady will strike. Sam goes so far as to hire men to beat up Cady and put him out of commission but the men hired were no match for him. Can the family hide or should Sam take some sort of action on his own?

I have read several of MacDonald's other novels including most of the Travis McGee series and have enjoyed them all. This one is no exception. There are however some differences between the book and the movie versions. It's been awhile since I saw either version of the movie, but I believe Sam only had one daughter in the films while in the book he also has two young sons, one of which was an early target for Cady. Also, the climax of the movie takes place on a houseboat in Cape Fear while this does not happen in the book so the original title of The Executioners is more appropriate.