By the standards of modern crime thrillers, often so slick and with narratives so advanced and self-consciously genre defined or redefining, Cape Fear can feel a bit blunt and clunky. But when we keep in mind that so much of modern noir from regional specialisms like my own to psychological, domestic noir thrillers, owe their shirts to MacDonald and his contemporaries, it’s time to wave the five star ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ banner. Originally titled The Executioners, much chilling detail about the psychopath Max Cady and original dialogue found its way into the 1991 film made so scary by De Niro. And this speaks volumes about the power and raw energy of this thin pulp classic. Roots get lost and forgotten as admire foliage and flower but suffice to say no Cape Fear, no Hannibal Lector, no Lincoln Lawyer, no McKeague from my second DI Sheen novel Never Ask The Dead.