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The Empty Copper Sea [Mass Market Paperback]

John D. MacDonald
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

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

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Van Harder, once a hard drinker, has found religion. But that doesn't keep folks from saying he murdered his employer, Hub Lawless, whose body hasn't been found. To clear his name, and cear up the mystery, Van asks friend-in-need Travis McGee to find out what really happened. What McGee finds is that Timber Bay is a toug h town to get a break in when you're a stranger asking questions. But what he also finds is that, dead or alive, Hub Lawless is worth a lot of money. Some are eager to get a piece of that action--and some are willing to take more than a piece out of anyone who gets in the way....

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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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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beach Book Extradinaire Aug. 13 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
What could be better than a beach book where a large chunk of the action takes place--you guessed it--on the Beach? Travis and pal Meyer endeavor to clear the name of ship captain, Van Harder. His client, Hub Lawless, was lost at sea and Harder was accused of being passed out drunk at the time of the accident. Van claims he was doped, not drunk, and now has lost his license and means of livelihood. Meyer engineers a neat scam whereby he and Trav get access to all the powers-that-be in Timber Bay, the town where the unfortunate Mr. Lawless was a king pin. His disappearance has left the town holding the bag and severely depressed. There is a serious question whether he engineered his own disappearance, and the insurance company is holding up the payment of a $2 million policy to the widow.
The book is fast paced with excellent dialogue, and if that isn't enough--Enter the Girls! First Trav hooks up with the lady piano player in a bar. He and MacDonald dance around for a few pages trying to absolve Trav of taking advantage of the dreaded, non-sensitive One Night Stand. Then come two good-time girls, Mishy & Licia who were on the boat at the time of the disappearance. Licia, though lovely, has a teeth problem. Much to her dismay one crude fellow told her "with teeth like that, you could eat a Big Mac through a venetian blind." (Not our Trav, of course). Then, saving the best until last, Gretel who brings Trav to his knees in instant adoration. I always get nervous when Trav finds true love; they seem to have a very short life span.
"The Empty Copper Sea" is vintage Travis McGee with more turns than a corkscrew and surprises to match. MacDonald sets up one of his trademark scenes of macabre horror right when you least expect it. He wipes that smile off your face, just in case you thought this was going to be only a lighthearted ramble. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The trouble with discovering John D. McDonald's Travis McGee series is that there will be no more. Mr. McDonald passed away several years ago. I find myself re-reading his books in order about every other year. They are still fresh, funny (at times) and insightful.
I like Empty Copper Sea best because Travis meets the main love of his life. Gretel Howard is all that Travis deserves and more. Meyer, the famous economist and chili maker extraordinaire plays a pretty big role in this installment as well. All the familiar elements of Travis' life are here in this book yet the presentation is still fresh. Do yourself a favor and read this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Empty Copper Sea delivers Aug. 23 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Empty Copper Sea is one of MacDonald's best in the Travis McGee series. This novel, and the ensuing The Green Ripper, show Travis at his best, and his worst.
It is best to read the Travis McGee books in sequence. MacDonald wrote 21 books in the T. McGee series and there are pertinent details and chronological events as the series progresses. It's also a nice way to see the evolution of the character; the early McGee novels had no Meyer as a key figure in the books, and McGee grows physically and mentally in the later novels.
Travis obviously gets involved with women throughout the 21 novels, but Empty Copper Sea is pertinent because it depicts the true love of his life, Gretel Howard. A great read to see the development of this relationship and resolution in the following novel.
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4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best March 14 2002
By Veejer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Over the years I've read hundreds of novels in a variety of genres, but for pure fun and enjoyment it's hard to beat Travis McGee. Some of the books are better than others, but they're nearly all worth a couple of lazy summer days. They are the ultimate summer time, quick-read beach books. At their core, they're good mysteries and this is one of the best. But Travis McGee is such a great character, with such a wry outlook on life, that often the mystery seems secondary to McGee's views on whatever topic author John D. McDonald has selected for his soap box. Most of them take place in Florida, (a Florida no one will ever see again given they were written mostly in the 60s and 70s) and all have a color in the title. Don't take them too seriously, just have fun in the sun.
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