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The Dreadful Lemon Sky Mass Market Paperback – Apr 20 1996


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett; Reprint edition (April 20 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449224791
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449224793
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 2.1 x 17.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #543,854 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By sweetmolly on Aug. 8 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Dreadful Lemon Sky," MacDonald's 13th in the Travis McGee series, is vintage McGee. I would put it right up there with the best of them, "Green Ripper" and "Bright Orange Shroud." It boggles my mind that MacDonald could write the abominable loser "Turquoise Lament" in 1973, and turn around and write this sparkling gem in 1974.
Carrie, a blast from the past, pays McGee a surprise visit aboard the Busted Flush with a suitcase full of suspicious money. She asks him to keep it safe for her, keep a $10,000 "fee," and if she does not return for it in two weeks, send it to her sister. Two weeks later and no Carrie; McGee goes out to earn his fee. Carrie has died in a car "accident." McGee mounts his white horse and vows vengeance for the lady. He finds drugs, danger, more action than even he bargained for, and meets a load of fascinating (if not righteous) characters. He discovers an all too happy singles only apartment complex apparently fueled by marijuana and presided over by a Big Daddy who is the benevolent landlord. A mysterious newly widowed Cindy Birdsong plays his Bond girl role, if somewhat diffidently. The locale is all Florida, purely Florida.
"Dreadful Lemon Sky" is superbly plotted with a surprising number of twists and turns for a MacDonald book. The character vignettes are sharp and right on the money. This is a Travis McGee not to be missed.
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By Untouchable on Nov. 23 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Travis McGee is visited late one night by a girl he knew years ago. She appears concerned for here safety, not allowing McGee to turn any lights on and continually checking over her shoulder as if someone might be following her. It turns out she is carrying a large sum of money that she asks McGee to hide for her. She adds to the intrigue by instructing him that should anything happen to her, he was to get in touch with her sister and give the money to her.
Inevitably she is killed a week later prompting McGee to take The Busted Flush and his neighbour and regular party fiend, Meyer south to Bayside to try to find out what happened to her.
What he and Meyer stumble into is an amateur marijuana smuggling racket that is starting to get out of hand. While McGee is stirring the hornets nest bodies begin to pile up at an alarming rate. He plays the avenging white knight to perfection here without becoming overly sentimental or judgemental; he simply does what he has to do, taking his bruises in the process.
The inclusion of his fellow Lauderdale resident and party buddy on this particular caper adds a nice balance to Travis' usual introspection. They each bounce their deep philosophies off the other keeping both each other and us amused. A fast moving Travis McGee is a good Travis McGee and this one certainly zips by with alacrity.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This happened to be the first novel of the Travis McGee series I read, back in the 80's, and I was instantly hooked. I grew up in Florida, and McDonald, as every reader familiar with Florida notices, knew the state intimately and paints that strange place with a master's touch. Travis McGee is probably the most perfectly realized character in series fiction, but what really grabbed me about this novel was the ultra-frightening villain. In fact, I think McDonald's greatest talent was the invention and development of his horrifying bad guys.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been reading these books since the 60's and you cannot get a more enjoyable read. Travis McGee, his friend Meyer and the busted Flush, plus all the antics that go on make for one of the best book series I have ever read. Try one and I will bet you can't put it down!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 47 reviews
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A great introduction to the legendary Travis McGee series. Sept. 5 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This happened to be the first novel of the Travis McGee series I read, back in the 80's, and I was instantly hooked. I grew up in Florida, and McDonald, as every reader familiar with Florida notices, knew the state intimately and paints that strange place with a master's touch. Travis McGee is probably the most perfectly realized character in series fiction, but what really grabbed me about this novel was the ultra-frightening villain. In fact, I think McDonald's greatest talent was the invention and development of his horrifying bad guys.
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Lucky 13th for Travis Aug. 8 2002
By sweetmolly - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Dreadful Lemon Sky," MacDonald's 13th in the Travis McGee series, is vintage McGee. I would put it right up there with the best of them, "Green Ripper" and "Bright Orange Shroud." It boggles my mind that MacDonald could write the abominable loser "Turquoise Lament" in 1973, and turn around and write this sparkling gem in 1974.
Carrie, a blast from the past, pays McGee a surprise visit aboard the Busted Flush with a suitcase full of suspicious money. She asks him to keep it safe for her, keep a $10,000 "fee," and if she does not return for it in two weeks, send it to her sister. Two weeks later and no Carrie; McGee goes out to earn his fee. Carrie has died in a car "accident." McGee mounts his white horse and vows vengeance for the lady. He finds drugs, danger, more action than even he bargained for, and meets a load of fascinating (if not righteous) characters. He discovers an all too happy singles only apartment complex apparently fueled by marijuana and presided over by a Big Daddy who is the benevolent landlord. A mysterious newly widowed Cindy Birdsong plays his Bond girl role, if somewhat diffidently. The locale is all Florida, purely Florida.
"Dreadful Lemon Sky" is superbly plotted with a surprising number of twists and turns for a MacDonald book. The character vignettes are sharp and right on the money. This is a Travis McGee not to be missed.
Murder of an Old Friend Begins the Story Aug. 18 2015
By Toni V. Sweeney - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A friend of Travis McGee appears in the middle of the night, asking him to keep a package for her and if she doesn't return for it, to make certain her sister gets it. The package contains a sum of money, a portion of which McGee is given for this favor. A short time later, the friend dies in an auto accident. McGee goes to the funeral intending to carry out his promise, asks the wrong questions and becomes convinced the friend was murdered.

Thus he and we, the readers, are catapulted into a tale of drug smuggling, murder, a serial rapist, and the inevitable hand-to-hand combat with the killer, in this case involving a jeep, a backhoe, and a dead horse. While the villains McGee meets are egotistical and not easily brought down, the women are also some of the toughest and usually just as wicked and cold-blooded as the men in what they want and what they'll do to get it...no sweet simpering ladies here.

Through it all McGee's world-weary and philosophical first person POV narrative brings to us the beauty and the ugliness existing around him as seen from his boat the Busted Flush. Travis McGee is a man wanting to withdraw from the world but is forever being pulled back into it by the people he calls friends, whether they are actually so, merely acquaintances for whom he has a certain emotional connection or the true kind with whom one somehow loses touch. He doesn't want to get involved, but he does for them because they need him. There is violence but it's described in a way being almost bemused, even when McGee barely comes out of it unscarred. This is one hero who never escapes unscathed. As with his sexual encounters, there's always an apartness, as if he's withholding part of himself. There is sex but it's described so poetically one can't actually be certain it has happened or is merely in the McGee's mind, as he dissects it and his emotions concerning it. He's a man who loves, within limits, not cold or predatory, but reserving wholehearted commitment, never giving that last bit which will completely fulfill. It's as if he's waiting for the one person who will provide the spark to melt the barrier he's put around his own life and give him the final excuse to enter our world again.

The ending is another bittersweet McDonald ending but as usual, it pulls the reader back to look for another Travis McGee story.

This novel is owned by the reviewer and no remuneratiin was involved in the writing of this review.
★★★★ THE DREADFUL LEMON SKY by John D. MacDonald Jan. 12 2013
By Harvey Griffin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Travis McGee novels get better for me on the re-read years later. Rarely my first choice for a quick easy first read of escape, the John D. MacDonald McGee novels are the survivors, the keepers, the books that don't get thrown out when I move and go through my library getting rid of the books I know I have no use for anymore.

The basics of the plot here are standard McGee: one of Trav's old Friends-with-Benefits playmates leaves a big gob of cash with him to hold for her secretly. She leaves. She dies. Instead of keeping the loot and drinking Plymouth gin, Trav has his newest quest: Did someone kill her? Why? Who? [evil Travis grin] They are going to be so sorry they ever messed with my Friend-With-Benefit! (It should be mentioned that the plot details for Travis McGee novels are all over the map; GPS nonfunctional, map grids unrecognizable.)

Actually, my favorite parts of DREADFUL LEMON are the conversations Trav has after his boat the Busted Flush gets blown up by a bomb. Don't worry. It still floats. Sort of.

Trav talking to the Southern investigator, who replies: "I don't really think you came up here to straighten out the distribution of pot in Bayside County."

Later, Trav talking to the political power-player who is backing a serial rapist and murderer for office:

"All right. Here is your deal. Twenty-five thousand dollars cash to get out of this county and stay out."

"Judge, we have arrived at the end of our discussion. Weird as it may seem to you, I think your protégé is a murderous, spooky fellow. I think he has been going around killing people. I think he killed two friends of mine. Tell him that."

John D. created Characters outside my range as a writer; his Evil is beyond what I even want to think about; his Death hits me like "harsh studio lighting" "under the dreadful lemon sky." @hg47
Fine Starter McGee April 16 2012
By Slokes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you are interested in John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee series but uncertain where to begin, this may be the place. While a late-period McGee, published in 1974, "The Dreadful Lemon Sky" offers a great introduction to the investigative "salvage expert" as well as a well-constructed mystery to draw in the casual non-fan.

Aboard his houseboat "The Busted Flush," Travis is paid an early-hours call by a woman he used to know. Looking much older than he remembered, Carrie Milligan asks Travis to hold some money for her, just over $94,000, and gives him $10,000 in addition as a kind of holder's fee. When she turns up dead under mysterious circumstances a short time later, Travis decides to earn his fee in the form of investigating Carrie's last days at a seemingly sleepy seaside community.

A vibe of abnormal secretiveness feeding on itself runs through the narrative of this longer-than-usual McGee adventure. It takes a while for McGee and his mordant partner Meyer to get any sense of what is up, a situation that brings with it some slackness in the narrative. But as the story comes together, it generates an excitement and momentum that enables one to overlook the coincidences and typical McGee tropes.

Tropes? Well, there's the McGee-liberating-the-beautiful-but-damaged-woman-via-therapeutic-sex trope. There's also the tough-philosophizing-McGee trope, and in this book he's plenty philosophical as he faces up to the accelerated diminishment of his physical capabilities. You have several prime examples of the trope where assorted bad guys and gray hats implicate themselves in long conversations with this stranger McGee.

Most annoying, you get the strong-arm trope, where McGee threatens one suspect with physical injury. Not only does McGee gain the info he seeks, he incurs no trouble when the law finds out about it later.

But all that taken into account, the good here far outweighs the bad. Like I said before, this is a well-constructed mystery, with a lot of tangents that fall together with cleverness and verve. It's a good mystery and even better suspense story: Crafty John D. does a funny thing with chapters here, having sudden bursts of action occur when you least expect them given how other mysteries work. He caught me napping twice, the first time because he played unfair, the second time because he was having fun knowing me (and a lot of other readers) would think the situation was resolved at the end of the prior chapter.

While MacDonald's more faithful readers ascribe this novel to McGee's darker later period, the vibe of "Dreadful Lemon Sky", that dreadful title aside, is more contemplative than maudlin. A funeral service is a time to seriously consider McGee's failure to appreciate someone in life, and presents a rare bit of friction with the more rational Meyer when the latter takes an opportunity during the service to investigate a clue.

"I do not want to leave the world of mockingbirds, boats, beaches, ladies, love, and peanut butter from Deaf Smith County," McGee says at one point. The peanut butter part was a new one to me, but the rest of it encapsulates the easy-going geniality of McGee, a personality equal parts toughness and warmth which will at the very least make for interesting company to a first-time McGee reader and, as likely, draw him or her to pick up another McGee down the road.


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