Pale Gray for Guilt Mass Market Paperback – Feb 21 1996
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
"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.
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 ›
Most recent customer reviews
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. Read morePublished on July 12 2004 by Rocco Dormarunno
...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. Read morePublished on Jan. 14 2003 by Clem J. Robins
Many of Travis McGee's 1960s adventures seem a bit dated today. In his earlier incarnation, McGee was less cynical but more of a hedonist. Read morePublished on July 15 2000 by Brian D. Rubendall
Enough double-crosses and triple-crosses to fill four books. After reading this book, I re-read the last two chapters of Lonely Silver Rain. Read morePublished on Feb. 7 1999