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Cinnamon Skin (Travis McGee #20)
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Cinnamon Skin (Travis McGee #20)

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  2,461 ratings  ·  57 reviews
When Travis McGee's friend Meyer lent his boat to his niece Norma, and her new husband Even, the boat exploded out in the waters of the Florida Keys. Travis McGee thinks it's no accident, and clues lead him to ponder possibilities of drugs and also to wonder where Evan was when his wife was killed....

"Proves again that MacDonald keeps getting better with each new adventure...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 20th 1996 by Fawcett (first published 1982)
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Stormy Weather by Carl HiaasenTourist Season by Carl HiaasenThe Deep Blue Good-By by John D. MacDonaldBasket Case by Carl HiaasenThe Designated Survivor by J.C. Gatlin
Florida Mystery/Thrillers
20th out of 117 books — 55 voters
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. KonigsburgRosemary's Baby by Ira LevinSalt by Mark KurlanskyHarpy Thyme by Piers AnthonyThyme of Death by Susan Wittig Albert
Spices in the Title
19th out of 63 books — 14 voters

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Community Reviews

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Harv Griffin
Jan 26, 2013 Harv Griffin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: novelists who want to up their game
Recommended to Harv by: Dad
Shelves: own, reviewed
pic of my copy of CINNAMON

In DREADFUL LEMON Trav’s boat gets wrecked by a bomb: Trav wakes up in the hospital; ditto Busted Flush, which still floats. But John D. is on a roll here. In CINNAMON SKIN Meyer’s boat John Maynard Keynes is blasted into tiny scraps of floating debris, while Meyer was giving a speech ashore, but Meyer’s niece Norma and new hubby were borrowing the boat.

Meyer: “We’re each expert in our own death.”

The Feds descend on an incompetent terrorism investigation that changes into a drug smuggling invest...more
CINNAMON SKIN. (1982). John D. MacDonald. ****.
McGee had arranged a lecture tour for Meyer in Toronto. Without advance knowledge, Meyer’s only remaining blood relative, his niece, and her newly acquired husband decided to visit Meyer at the same time. As a poor substitute, Meyer lets them stay on his houseboat, and provides them with a captain who can take them around his waters as a kind of honeymoon. When the boat is out at sea, a huge explosion rips through it, sending it immediately to the b...more
I do not remember which Travis McGee mystery I read first, but I can assure you I read them all. I remember this color in MacDonald's color-themed mysteries--but that only means it was probably a more recent one. There was something comforting about returning over and over again to his world on the water, on the Busted Flush, his houseboat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I liked his best friend Meyer, the economist, his neighbor, on the John Maynard Keynes. Meyer was as well-known and well-regarded...more
Nancy Moore
I've read all of this series and loved every one. I read them in order - I always read a series in order, in fact, I'm compulsive about it - because I like to follow the character's life and the author's writing as they both grow. Mr. MacDonald never disappointed - each one is a great thrill ride and they got better each time. Read my review on "The Deep Blue Good-by" (from Wikipedia) to meet Travis, and get ready for some great reading!
Starts with a bang, ends with a whimper. While Meyer is lecturing out of the country, someone blows up his tubby but famously named little cruiser, "The John Maynard Keynes," killing his niece & her husband on their honeymoon, plus the captain/fishing guide. Poor gentle Meyer still is traumatized from his encounter with a monster in McGee No#19, and losing both his longtime home and his only living blood relative in an explosive white flash of light may be two emotional blows too many. So--w...more
Another breathtaking adventure of Travis McGee down Yucatan, Mexico with an economist friend Meyer. Hunting the hunters of women..... a big, bad, predator. A jack-of-all-trades, a con man whom able to device his guiles to ensnare vulnerable women, and used his charisma as a gambit then kill them for it.

His motive:
He's a hunter a loner, and women are the game he specializes. A man who seems affable, agreeable, gregarious, fun to have around. That is his act. That is his camouflage suit, and every...more
Aug 01, 2011 Andrea added it
Cinnamon Skin is the next-to-last installment of the Travis McGee series.

I loved it!


First and foremost, how wonderful to see Meyer back to his old self, and how nice to see most of the intrigue and drama staged locally. I love that the John D MacDonald has taken me all over the world, but so close to the end of the series, it's a comfort to see Travis returning to his roots - helping out a good friend with a mostly-local problem.

It broke my heart when Meyer's boat ble...more
JoAnna Spring
You are going to be so sick of me telling you how much I love Travis McGee. No really, you are. There are 21 books, and having just read the penultimate novel, I've decided to start at the beginning again, rather than read the last book. I'm just not ready to live in a world where there are no new McGees for me to read.

But more on that later. Today, we're gushing over Cinnamon Skin, which was written in 1982 and is the next-to-last book in the series. Quick plot recap, because apparently some pe...more
I've been working my way through the Travis McGee series. I've been a fan for years and decided to re-read them in order. This is a satisfying entry, the next to the last. McGee and Meyer search for the person who blew up Meyer's boat with Meyer's niece, her new husband and a crew member aboard. Along the way McGee is dealing with his current love, Anne Renzetti from "Free Fall in Crimson" who is deciding to stay in McGee's life or move on with her own.
The search for the culprit takes McGee and...more
Deb Grove
I have 48 of John MacDonald's books which I read many yrs ago. 21 have colors in the title and feature Travis McGee who calls his profession, "salvage consultant, and he recovers others' property for a fee. In this book he looks for the killer of his friend Meyer's niece. I like Travis ramblings to himself. Here is the one I like in this book (1982) Travis and McGee were at a mall observing a few people in a computer store --Geeks-- and a lot more in the arcade playing video games. He says to hi...more
Michael Hames
my favorite writer.Tells stories in a very realistic way,not your typical hero.
Jeff Frane
Back in the day, I'm pretty sure I read every single Travis McGee novel in the original paperbacks, always with the slightly racy cover featuring a sultry woman. I devoured them once I found the series but somehow never thought to revisit them. Random House has republished the series in very handsome (and discreet) trade paperbacks (and Kindle). Cinnamon Skin in one of the last MacDonald wrote but he certainly hadn't lost his touch. Wry, observant (occasionally a bit pedantic) and suspenseful, w...more
I'm in devouring mode again, and found a paperback of this 20th Travis McGee novel in a store yesterday, and read it in virtually one fell swoop (took time to eat some dinner). I want Travis McGee to be my friend: smart without being intellectual, moral without being moralistic, confident without being arrogant--perfectly imperfect (and he would not hesitate to use the word "imperfect").

This novel has a fantastic premise (a twist on a standard JDM plot line): a con man gets away with the mark's...more
Rick Brockmeyer
Travis McGee travels to Texas and Mexico with his friend Meyer to investigate the death of Meyer's niece and two other people. They died in a suspicious explosion while aboard Meyer's boat.

I have read many of MacDonald's Travis McGee novels. This book is fairly typical of the series. While I enjoy MacDonald's writing style, I felt that the ending to 'Cinnamon Skin' was a little flat and unexciting. Otherwise, a good read.
Not being a fan of mysteries, I enjoyed the location of the book and the many characters. Each person Travis McGee meets is a unique individual, captured in a few words of description and much dialog. The murderer is known, so a lot of the book is spent learning about how a person like this becomes a person like this. Interesting psychological study.
Kevin Downey
Not the best of the Travis McGee tales by John D. MacDonald, but reasonably satisfying nevertheless. Someone has blown up the boat owned by McGee's economist friend, Meyer. Meyer was not aboard, but his niece was -- on her honeymoon -- and Meyer is determined to find out who is responsible, in part to recover the sense of self he lost in Free Fall in Crimson.

MacDonald was one of the best of the post-World War II pulp fictioneers. He introduced Travis McGee in 1964, nearly two decades after est...more
Well, it really did not catch my imagination. I found reading it a bit of a chore. I'm sure that my dissatisfaction came from not knowing the characters very well.

McGee and Meyer chase down a unique kind of serial killer, which I found plausible but a little but far fetched.
I got this provocatively titled book from my grandpa, who's a fan of the Travis McGee novels. He said he liked it because it was a murder mystery where they also "do a lot of philosophizing." And he wasn't wrong.
Meyer has come apart and needs to be put back together. The book travels to Dallas, Houston, Harlingen, Utica NY, and Cancun in search of a misogynistic, serial killer. The book has less derring-do and more detective work. Characters are brought in with a quick backstory and then fade back out. MacDonald is a good enough story teller to pull it off. This book has a different feel than the others in the Travis McGee series – it felt thrown together and Meyer was the main character rather than McG...more
The Travis McGee novels were written over a span of three decades. I much preferred this one, published in 1982, to one published in 1964 I read recently. Set in the '80s of Florida cocaine runners, big Texas oil and the beginning of the current computer age it somehow keeps it's noir intact. (Maybe not so much with the terry cloth headbands and braided belts.) One of his earlier novels had been made into the movie CAPE FEAR which changed very little when it was remade by Martin Scorcese in the...more
McGee has changed a lot from the first books of the series. He seems to take life and relationships more seriously. Nice to see a character grow. Writing has changed some too, with a lot less social commentary. Plot is great, kept me going until the last page and I met lots of interesting characters on the way. The villian stays in the background and I only learnt about him second-hand; nice to stay away from a creepy mind. Meyer plays an important role; McGee and Meyer make a nice buddy pair fo...more
Keith Hebner
One of the best of the Travis McGee series.
Hayden Trenholm
I picked up my first John MacDonald more or less at random -- now I have to go back and start at the beginning! MacDonald mixes hard-boiled detective style (Magee is not technically a detective -- he just 'looks into things') with a strong moral stance and an even stronger sense of place. This book comes fairly late in the Travis magee sage. It should be fascinating to find out how he got there. A friend of mine said my books -- Defining Diana and Steel Whispers -- reminded him of MacDonald. I d...more
Kathy  Petersen
I randomly pick up a Travis McGee when the macho spirit moves me. Cinnamon Skin is one of the better ones. It takes him out of Florida, through Texas, down to Mexico, even up to Utica, New York, with passing references to Toronto, looking for the tricky killer of his economist friend's niece and a string of other enchanted women. It's amazing how easily people tell McGee what he needs to hear ... amazing, too, how gorgeous women always fall into his bed. But, hey, it's supercharged adventurous r...more
Mike Harper
OK read on an airplane.
Austen to Zafón
I read a bunch of John D. MacDonald's "Travis McGee" series when I was in high school and loved them. He wrote the book the Cape Fear movies were based on, originally called "The Executioners." The McGee books influenced many later writers, included Carl Hiaasen and Stephen King and even the character Magnum PI. McGee is a hard-boiled but intelligent PI with a heart, a guy who worries that our culture of TV and fast food is going to hell in a handbasket. If you like Hiaasen, these books will be...more
David Ward
Cinnamon Skin(Travis McGee #20) by John D. MacDonald (Fawcett 1987)(Fiction-Mystery)- Meyer loans his houseboat to his niece and her husband, and it promptly blows up, killing the girl. Travis thinks it's not accident, and sets out to find proof. These are wonderfully written mysteries, light as a feather, disposable as a tissue, and as dated as a rotary telephone. They are all great fun! My rating: 7/10, finished 1987.
After the last book, this is back to the basic McGee. It is also a great buddy story of McGee and Meyer on a road trip through Texas and into Mexico. Their combined skills working well together.

An interesting adventure that explores a very bright and deceptive bad guy. Fascinating story line and a good adventure.

It also involves a woman who doesn't die! But does get away. A real match for Travis.

Good story.
Elise Alexander
I picked this up because it was set in Cancun, before we visit there next month. in actuality it doesn't get there until the final 10% of the book. it was an interesting mystery, with quite a bit of wandering astound Texas backroads. since it was written in the early 80's,there are some fascinating comments that are even more true these days.
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John D. MacDonald was born in Sharon, Pa, and educated at the Universities of Pennsylvania, Syracuse and Harvard, where he took an MBA in 1939. During WW2, he rose to the rank of Colonel, and while serving in the Army and in the Far East, sent a short story to his wife for sale, successfully. After the war, he decided to try writing for a year, to see if he could make a living. Over 500 short stor...more
More about John D. MacDonald...
Cape Fear The Deep Blue Good-By (Travis McGee #1) A Deadly Shade of Gold (Travis McGee #5) Free Fall in Crimson (Travis McGee #19) Nightmare in Pink (Travis McGee, #2)

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