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The Dreadful Lemon Sky [Mass Market Paperback]

John D. MacDonald
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 20 1996 Travis McGee Mysteries
"The professional's professional of suspense writers."

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Travis McGee has been offered easy money by a longtime lady friend. But when she gets killed, McGee's got a boatload of mystery. Navigating his boat into troubled waters, he heads for the seamier side of Florida--where drug dealing, twisted sex, and corruption are easy to find--but murderous riddles are hard to solve....

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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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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lucky 13th for Travis 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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4.0 out of 5 stars Trav the Avenger 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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By A Customer
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: 4.3 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 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.
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 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.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This Lemon is not Sour Sept. 6 2011
By George Duncan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was not one of the best McGee novels but it's still a good one. McGee goes off to investigate the death of a friend. The plot isn't really tied up in this novel but the strength of a MacDonald novel isn't always the plot but the writing, the characters, the flavor of Florida. This is full of McGee's and Meyer's insights into the human condition, which are always interesting to read. One of the bad guys comes to a particularly bad end. It's a unique and very uncomfortable way to die.
Not a five star novel but four stars isn't bad,
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Readable paperback PI novel July 25 2008
By W. D. Baker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This was supposed to be one of the best of the series. I saw it listed on some mystery sites as a must read for this genre.

I liked it generally speaking and gave it an OK rating. It isn't a classic by any means but it has a good story, with good twists, believable characters, some action, good detective work. I dont' care for the authors frequent editorializing on issues that he deemed imporatant, but then again quite a few authors do this so I just accept it as their "thing".

In all I found that it was a good, cheap, PI novel. That's what the guy wrote. Readable and I would recommend it if you want a quick, throwaway read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent July 1 2014
By J. Parks Hammond - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Excellent. John D MacDonald and Travis Magee. Like 30 year old single malt scotch
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