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The Dreadful Lemon Sky Hardcover – Mar 1975

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Harpercollins; First Edition 4th Printing edition (March 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0397010745
  • ISBN-13: 978-0397010745
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 16 x 3.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 816 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,890,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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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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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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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: HASH(0x99c096a8) out of 5 stars 51 reviews
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99c234b0) 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.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99c23918) 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.
HASH(0x99c2393c) out of 5 stars 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.
HASH(0x99c23c54) out of 5 stars Travis McGee, a modern knight whose armor is not so shiny. Sept. 2 2013
By Russell Fanelli - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
The Dreadful Lemon Sky is the 16th Travis McGee novel written by John D. MacDonald. Even though it was written 38 years ago, the story seemed to me as if it could have happened today. Travis finds himself investigating people involved in smuggling marijuana into Florida. It is a lucrative business and Travis is given 104 thousand dollars of smuggling profits to hold for old friend Carrie Milligan, who then is killed two weeks later in what appears to be a car accident. Travis sets out to find out what happened to his friend and what he should do with all the money left in his care.

I have read all 21 of the novels in this well written series, some more than once. The Dreadful Lemon Sky has the reputation of being one of the best novels in this series, but I don't agree. Typically, Travis McGee stories are straightforward with a modest cast of characters easy for the reader to keep straight as the novel progresses. With Lemon Sky it is sometimes difficult to keep straight the various people who make brief entrances and exits. Only trustworthy friend Meyer, the economist who acts as a foil to the sometimes impetuous McGee, is a constant in the novel. Additionally, the story line is confusing. At first it seems as if will be a straight forward case of finding out what happened to the young Carrie Milligan who gives McGee the 100 grand and then dies in an accident, but then learning where the money came from and trying to understand who are the true villains in the story takes over as murder and mayhem threaten McGee and his friends. More than once McGee makes mistakes about the villains which come close to costing him his life.

For those who are new to John D. MacDonald and his most famous fictional creation Travis McGee, I recommend starting with the first novel in the series The Deep Blue Goodbye, written in 1964. If the reader likes McGee as much as I do, he or she can then systematically work through the series with Nightmare in Pink, the second novel about McGee and then go on from there. What the reader can expect is a well told story with plenty of action and adventure. But that's not all; occasionally our salvage expert and amateur detective McGee gives us his thoughts about South Florida life and living in particular, and American culture in general. McGee is a court of last appeal. When no one else appears willing or able to help an unfortunate person reclaim lost property, McGee, for 50% of the value of the recovered property, steps in to help, but only when the case is righteous, by his standards.

McGee is a big fellow who knows how to handle himself in a fight or a tight spot. He lives in a houseboat in Bahia Mar, Fort Lauderdale. He won the houseboat, The Busted Flush, in a card game. Fort Lauderdale is the base of operations for most of the stories in the series, but occasionally McGee finds himself far away from home, as he does in The Green Ripper,set on the West Coast. McGee is a modern knight whose armor is not always bright and shining. He makes mistakes, but one of his virtues is that he is honest with himself and willing to take responsibility for his indiscretions. He is a person we would be happy to call a friend because he does what a friend should do -- be there for support and help when needed.

Once acquainted with McGee and now a fan as I am, then the reader will want to read The Dreadful Lemon Sky, and probably all the other books in this justly famous series.
HASH(0x99c23d80) out of 5 stars ★★★★ 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


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