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The Long Lavender Look [Mass Market Paperback]

John D. MacDonald
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 9 1996 Travis McGee Mysteries
"McGee has become part of our national fabric."

SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER

A lovely young girl steps in front of Travis McGee's headlights. McGee misses the girl but lands in ten feet of swamp water. As he's limping along the deserted road, someone in an old truck takes a few shots at him. And, when he goes to the local sheriff to complain, the intrepid Travis McGee finds himself arrested and charged with murder. And he can't help but ask himself, is this what they call southern hospitality...?

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Review

Praise for John D. MacDonald and the Travis McGee novels

The great entertainer of our age, and a mesmerizing storyteller.”—Stephen King

“My favorite novelist of all time . . . All I ever wanted was to touch readers as powerfully as John D. MacDonald touched me. No price could be placed on the enormous pleasure that his books have given me. He captured the mood and the spirit of his times more accurately, more hauntingly, than any ‘literature’ writer—yet managed always to tell a thunderingly good, intensely suspenseful tale.”—Dean Koontz

“To diggers a thousand years from now, the works of John D. MacDonald would be a treasure on the order of the tomb of Tutankhamen.”—Kurt Vonnegut

“A master storyteller, a masterful suspense writer . . . John D. MacDonald is a shining example for all of us in the field. Talk about the best.”—Mary Higgins Clark

“A dominant influence on writers crafting the continuing series character . . . I envy the generation of readers just discovering Travis McGee, and count myself among the many readers savoring his adventures again.”—Sue Grafton

“One of the great sagas in American fiction.”—Robert B. Parker

“Most readers loved MacDonald’s work because he told a rip-roaring yarn. I loved it because he was the first modern writer to nail Florida dead-center, to capture all its languid sleaze, racy sense of promise, and breath-grabbing beauty.”—Carl Hiaasen

“The consummate pro, a master storyteller and witty observer . . . John D. MacDonald created a staggering quantity of wonderful books, each rich with characterization, suspense, and an almost intoxicating sense of place. The Travis McGee novels are among the finest works of fiction ever penned by an American author and they retain a remarkable sense of freshness.”—Jonathan Kellerman

“What a joy that these timeless and treasured novels are available again.”—Ed McBain

“Travis McGee is the last of the great knights-errant: honorable, sensual, skillful, and tough. I can’t think of anyone who has replaced him. I can’t think of anyone who would dare.”—Donald Westlake

“There’s only one thing as good as reading a John D. MacDonald novel: reading it again. A writer way ahead of his time, his Travis McGee books are as entertaining, insightful, and suspenseful today as the moment I first read them. He is the all-time master of the American mystery novel.”—John Saul

About the Author

John D. MacDonald was an American novelist and short-story writer. His works include the Travis McGee series and the novel The Executioners, which was adapted into the film Cape Fear. In 1962 MacDonald was named a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America; in 1980, he won a National Book Award. In print he delighted in smashing the bad guys, deflating the pompous, and exposing the venal. In life, he was a truly empathetic man; his friends, family, and colleagues found him to be loyal, generous, and practical. In business, he was fastidiously ethical. About being a writer, he once expressed with gleeful astonishment, “They pay me to do this! They don’t realize, I would pay them.” He spent the later part of his life in Florida with his wife and son. He died in 1986.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Probably one of the top three McGees July 7 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Early every summer, I knock back one McGee mystery before July and, try as I might to resist, I usually end up reading at least one or two more by the time fall arrives. I have Hemingway that's unread; I have Mailer and Faulkner that continually remains uncracked; and I've been meaning to tackle "The Corrections" forfreakingever. And yet... I can't help it, there's something about sun-bleached days and cricket-filled nights that lends itself incredibly well to this series.
This is definitely one of the best of the McGee adventures. Trav and Meyer run afoul of backwoods law enforcement and McGee spends the rest of the book stripping away layers of vicious, small-town corruption with the admirable ease of a man peeling a banana.
All the great MacDonald hallmarks are here: there's a surprising amount of eroticism, several tense face-offs and twists and turns, some slick legal manuvering, a couple of pretty scary discoveries and a cast of cool characters: the top-heavy, man-hungry waitress Betty; a pill-popping psycho with a badge and a prostitution ring; and, best of all, a crazed, superhumanly strong, swamp-bred superbabe who likes to lift up Pintos and coo in womens' ears when she's torturing them. Added to which is a great ending, plus a nice vacation from the nautical details and dense business technicalities which are staples of the series but which, as proven here, don't have to be on full display every time around.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A top notch Travis McGee tale Jan. 12 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Aside from the first Travis McGee story, this (the 11th in the series) may be the best. Here Travis and his buddy Meyer are driving on a remote road through the south Florida Everglades returning from a friend's duaghter's wedding, when trouble erupts. A girl runs across the desolate road, causing McGee to swerve and rollover into the swamp, and before McGee has gathered his wits he and Meyer are being shot at, and ultimately locked up and charged with murder.
The local sheriff, a "by the book" lawman with a history of deep personal loss, lets McGee out of prison while he investigates the case, confining McGee to the local county. Before we know it, McGee is bedding down a lonely but optimistic waitress, uncovering secrets about this sleepy little Everglades town including a call girl ring.
McGee is confident and clever, but there is a sense of vulnerability about him that is refreshing for a mystery series since you sense that he realizes the trouble he is in, as the bodies start piling up. I also thought some of the minor characters in the book, including the waitress Betsy Kapp and the evil Lilo, were very skillfully drawn. Without giving away any of the story, let me just say there were a handful of great twists and turns in the plot, with MacDonald building the suspense nicely. This is not War and Peace, but I give it 5 stars as one of the better mystery novels I have read in awhile.
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5.0 out of 5 stars incredibly re-readable Sept. 5 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm constantly amazed at the hold that MacDonald asserts over me as a reader, certainly with this character. The beginnings always seem to jump right off, even when they also seem to ramble, like in this one (McGee talking of late night rides, fishing, his old Rolls Royce truck) or the McGee novel that starts with McGee and Meyer fishing by the bridge. There's hook there, yes--a bit of action occurs within the first three pages that sits the novel rolling--but it isn't the immediate hook of the short story or the long rambling set ups of most novels (I'm thinking of the info dumps that start most SF/F/H novels).
The hook isn't the only thing going for MacDonald, though. The sentences and chapters seem to flow, to beg to be read. Since I was reading this novel on breaks, at lunch, and other different odd times, I tended to read only a chapter or two at a time. Rarely did I end a chapter when I didn't find myself unconsciously moving on the beginning of the next. Part of this is due to the standard technique of cliff-hanging chapters, which MacDonald has down well. But MacDonald's cliff-hangers aren't just situations, it seems to me, but the words themselves. I need to examine the chapter endings to see if I can identify what he is doing. Since I'm reading the McGee novels in chronological order, I'll try to do it with the next.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Travis in Faulkner Country April 7 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
MacDonald has fully hit his stride in this 11th outing with Travis McGee. "Long Lavender Look" is vintage, deep-south McGee with a strong plot matching the depth of characterization.
Trav and Meyer are returning home on a little traveled route in Cypress County when a girl darts into the high beam of the headlights. In his efforts to avoid the girl, Miss Agnes (McGee's blue Rolls pickup) plunges into the ditch. When the two drag themselves out, the girl has disappeared and they face a long walk to civilization. First they are shot at, and then arrested for murder. Cypress is not a friendly county. Travis hires the slickest of slick lawyers (who, of course owes him a favor) and is hell-bent on clearing his name, avenging a vicious attack on his friend Meyer, and finding the girl who got him into this sorry mess in the first place.
MacDonald creates two brilliant female characters, Betsy Kapp and Lilo Perris. Betsy enters as a one-night-stand piece of southern darlin' fluff. Travis is almost embarrassed to find himself next to her in bed. Betsy first grows on Trav (and the reader) by her kindness, fastidiousness, and unfailing optimism. Gradually her strength of character, bravery and loyalty are revealed and we are desperately rooting for Betsy's welfare. Lilo is a swamp rat of a girl, possessed of uncanny strength, sensuality and a maddeningly mocking air. She is the type other women instinctively loathe and men fall like ninepins in her path. But by no means is she a standard femme fatale; she has streaks of generosity and kindness, but does she care for anyone aside from herself? Is the animal side the only side? Somehow you want to believe in her.
"The Long Lavender Look" is one of the best of the series and a great place to begin your odyssey with Travis McGee. If you haven't read it, I envy you your pleasure.
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