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Pale Gray for Guilt [Mass Market Paperback]

John D. MacDonald
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 21 1996 Travis McGee Mysteries
With an introduction by CARL HIAASEN

JOHN D. MacDONALD

"...the great entertainer of our age, and a mesmerizing storyteller."
--STEPHEN KING

"...a master storyteller, a masterful suspense writer."
--MARY HIGGINS CLARK

"...a dominant influence on writers crafting the continuing series character."
--SUE GRAFTON

"...my favorite novelist of all time."
--DEAN KOONTZ

"...the consummate pro, a master storyteller and witty observer."
--JONATHAN KELLERMAN

"...remains one of my idols."
--DONALD WESTLAKE

THE TRAVIS McGEE SERIES

"...one of the great sagas in American fiction."
--ROBERT B. PARKER

"...what a joy that these timeless and treasured novels are available again."
--ED McBAIN

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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

I remember the house in Utica, New York, where John D. grew up. The curtains were always closed and the atmosphere seemed invariably dark and somber. Nothing there predicted his imaginative outpouring. Imagination was frivolity and frivolity was not on the agenda.

He followed his own father's path toward the commercial world. While earning a Master's Degree in Business Administration from Harvard, he married Dorothy Prentiss, an artist, and produced one small son. Then he went off to war. The marriage of the business graduate and the creative person was the unrecognized first step in John D.'s becoming an author.

During service in China, Burma, and India, his mail was heavily censored. In frustration he wrote a short story and sent it to my mother. She saw his potential and sold the story. When my father came home, a Lieutenant Colonel and Harvard graduate, his father presented him with a list of plum career options. He turned them down and took an undemanding job so that he could pour his energy into writing.

Eventually, we moved to Florida. For my parents, Florida was the land of light, the place where the curtains were never drawn. The place itself became a topic and Travis McGee strode into the landscape.

Maynard MacDonald

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The great MacDonald July 12 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
While I still find "Flash of Green" to be my favorite MacDonald book, there's something so appealing about the Travis McGee series that keeps me coming back to them. And "Pale Gray for Guilt" has such an engaging opening sequence of events, and such an array of fascinating characters, that you cannot put this mystery down. I just hope that MacDonald continues to gain in popularity, as I feel he is horribly overlooked.
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4.0 out of 5 stars don't mess with travis Jan. 14 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
...and whatever you do, read this one before reading "The Lonely Silver Rain". "Pale Gray" is vintage McGee, and a very fascinating exploration of the Big Con. There must be something more entertaining than these books, but I can't imagine what it would be.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Conning the Con Men March 22 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Tush Bannon, friend of Travis, a good and gentle man is killed horrifically by an anvil crushing his face and chest. First declared suicide-admittedly a peculiar way to do the deed--- later changed to murder. Tush owned a small marina whose acreage was a valuable parcel to the big bad business interests, and he was being squeezed out. He left a shocked and bereft wife and three young sons. Gallant Knight Travis rides to the rescue.
"Pale Gray for Guilt" was the 8th novel in the Travis McGee series, and I judge it as medium-good McGee. Published in 1968, it has an excellent contemporary flavor about it that captures the late '60s very well. The major flaw in the novel is the extraordinarily complicated sting set up by Meyer and Travis as revenge for Tush's demise. The big businessmen are set up to take a financial bath, and there are pages and pages devoted to capital gains, covering margins, selling short, etc. This has the effect of confining John Wayne to Wall St., not a happy or even very interesting state of affairs. However, Travis does get to expound, and wow his usual lusty women. (this one named Puss Killian-would such a name even be allowed today?) MacDonald allows Travis his special brand of sentimentality, "-went into the master bedroom and slipped out of the robe and into the giant bed and wished I wasn't too old to cry myself to sleep." No other tough private eye would ever be permited to think that way in print.
By the time this book was written, MacDonald had found his groove, though it was too bad he had to foist his interest in the stock market on Travis who, as we all well know, cares nothing about such things. It never happened again.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An intricate con game played for revenge. Feb. 25 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee series was one of the first truly successful "hard boiled detective" genre series to make it big at the mass market level of sales. Written mostly in the 1960's and early 1970's the books could come across as somewhat dated time period pieces except that MacDonald was a suspense writer of the highest order whose gritty, hard edged characters come to life on the page just as readily today as they did back when written.
In point of fact, these really aren't "detective" books at all; they are generally better classified as suspense novels. However, the formula utilized in the books, as well as the realistic, hard hitting writing style they displayed, set the stage for many a fictional detective series to follow.
McGee advertises himself as a "salvage" specialist. He's more a high-end repo man. If you've lost something of extraordinary value that you do not want the police involved in recovering, he'll do it for you-for 50% of the fair market value of the lost valuables. Once he's made a big score he reverts to being a beach Bum in ft. Lauderdale Florida where he lives on the beach in a houseboat won in a card game.
The Travis McGee novels break down basically into two types of story either (A) a "recovery" tale and (B) a revenge tale. The former is the far more common format.
Pale Gray for Guilt is one of the latter. Tush Bannon, one of Travis' old high school buddies, is killed by developers who want his land for a project, Travis swears revenge. Along with his sidekick, Dr. Meyer, a nationally known economist and fellow beach bum, McGee sets in motion a complicated and dangerous scam to entrap and bankrupt the killers.
Read more ›
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2.0 out of 5 stars Very poor McGee July 23 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm sorry, but I completely disagree with the other reviewers. I found this book to be shockingly bad. While other McGee books sparkle with Travis' commentaries on social trends and peripheral characters, and possess intricate plots, this book was a straightforward revenge story, with McGee and his sidekick Meyer confidently and flawlessly triumphing over the evildoers. There is no suspense, and the book is written in a rather haughty style, glorifying the abilities and righteousness of McGee. I was nauseated by the final third, just trying to finish it up, shaking my head at the lack of suspense and the wooden tone. I think one has to have a simplistic devotion to the series and/or character to see this installment as among the best of the series, because it comes off as sort of a love letter from MacDonald to McGee. Try "Long Lavender Look" for a McGee with all this series has to offer, and don't read this one until you're thoroughly immersed in the series.
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