The Executioners (MacDonald novel)
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First h/b edition
|Author||John D. MacDonald|
|Cover artist||H. Lawrence Hoffman|
|Publisher||Simon and Schuster|
The overall tone of the novel is not nearly as brutal as the film adaptations, and especially the remake, but it does carefully maintain a tense atmosphere throughout.
The basic plot of the novel concerns an attorney named Sam Bowden, who caught Max Cady, an illiterate, brutal rapist, in the act. Bowden later testifies against him. The jury finds Cady guilty and Cady is sent to prison for fourteen years, when he develops and nurses an obsessive grudge, fueled with rage and hatred over how Bowden sent him to jail. After Cady is paroled, he begins stalking Bowden's family, not only seeking vengeance, but also envying what Bowden has, particularly eyeing Bowden's innocent teenage daughter. Cady's vendetta slowly escalates from stalking and annoying the family to killing anybody Cady deems close to the family. Cady's vendetta becomes so dangerously violent that Bowden is forced to kill Cady to protect his three children from being murdered.
Interestingly, Cape Fear River was not featured in the novel, yet was integral in both film adaptations.
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