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Bright Orange for the Shroud (Travis McGee #6)

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  2,301 Ratings  ·  112 Reviews
Travis McGee is looking forward to a "slob summer," spending his days as far away from danger as possible. But trouble has a way of finding him, no matter where he hides. An old friend, conned out of his life savings by his ex-wife, has tracked him down and is desperate for help. To get the money back and earn his usual fee, McGee will have to penetrate the Everglades -- ...more
Mass Market Paperback, Fawcett Crest, 321 pages
Published February 28th 1996 by Random House (first published January 1st 1965)
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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonAnd Then There Were None by Agatha ChristieAngels & Demons by Dan BrownRebecca by Daphne du MaurierIn Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Best Crime & Mystery Books
496th out of 5,153 books — 12,013 voters
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Florida Mystery/Thrillers
26th out of 146 books — 76 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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May 15, 2014 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: who-done-it
Splice the main brace aft and toe the keel line as the crow flies and the bilge pumps.

I have no idea what that means but I’m sure John D. MacDonald does. He loves his nautical terms and uses them liberally throughout this novel. You see, Travis McGee, salvage and recovery expert, lives aboard a house boat and as his need arises, sails the boat to get where he needs to go. In this case, it’s to help an acquaintance who’s been beaten and sucked dry by a group of con artists.

I’ve recently read a
Jun 09, 2010 Kemper rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery, mcgee
When I first read the Travis McGee books during my high school years in the ‘80s, I thought they were pretty bad-ass crime stories, but that the early ones from the ‘60s were a little dated. Re-reading the McGee books now makes me realize that they are VERY dated in a lot of ways, but that MacDonald was way ahead of the curve on some issues. And they’re still bad-ass crime stories.

McGee is a self-described boat bum in Fort Lauderdale with a unique racket. Calling himself a salvage consultant, he
Cathy DuPont
Dec 04, 2013 Cathy DuPont rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone who loves a great story
My third read of the Travis McGee series and I'm paying particular attention to how Travis relates to women.

My interest is due to a nice conversation I had a few months ago as to whether Travis treated women well, took advantage of them and/or was a misogynist. Hey, or anything in between.

Bright Orange... was a non-stop read from beginning to end and in my mind, the touchstone of the entire series. The quintessential Travis McGee with all the elements found in the best of the series.

The only
Aug 09, 2015 Leslie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Maybe 3.5 stars. As I am beginning to expect with this series, this isn't really a mystery. Travis McGee is a 1960s version of the gang in the TV show "Leverage", only he works mostly alone and without all the cool gadgets. In this entry of the series, McGee doesn't get a romantic interest but that is OK as it is taken up by the client and a dancer friend of McGee's.

If you like suspense/thrillers and don't mind a high body count, this McGee novel might appeal. It was less dated than some of the
Aug 28, 2013 Ed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Travis McGee series fans
Recommended to Ed by: Fan of the series
This title is a real winner in the Travis McGee mystery series. One of the things I like is Travis kept his curmudgeonly moralizing to a minimum. The story takes several unexpected twists, and Travis gets tough when he needs to get he and his friends out of a tense jam. I'll look forward to reading my next Travis McGee.
Jeff Yoak
This is my favorite thus-far in my historically ordered re-reading of the McGee novels. It is the first that was just wonderful beginning to end.

An old casual friend of McGee shows up half dead. He's been badly treated, having been taken in by the long con. He's been abused and made broke. McGee is cajoled into taking the case with his standard deal -- Something has been taken from you and there is no legal way to get it back. He risks expenses which come off the top of any recovery and the bala
Apr 25, 2012 Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir-pulp
McDonald's sixth Travis McGee, the semi-retired salvage consultant is probably more of a three and half star read for me. But, even when it's not his best story I've read *I've read the first five* his tales from the 60's and his style, with it's atomsphere are still an entertaining read.
And, to hear him tell of his feelings of Florida in decline,over-building almost fifty years ago, puts a smile on your face. Wondering what he would think today.
Nathan Webber
Nov 18, 2007 Nathan Webber rated it liked it
At the moment John D. MacDonald is my literary palate cleanser. I think every serious reader should have one.
Very interesting writing style. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would, though it deals with some tough subjects, especially (view spoiler).
Sep 11, 2014 Drew rated it liked it
Never thought I'd read a Travis McGee book where Travis McGee didn't get any ass. But there it is.
Dennis D.
Sep 04, 2009 Dennis D. rated it really liked it
The sixth Travis McGee book finds the erstwhile ‘salvage consultant’ back (finally!) on his natural turf of coastal Florida. McGee agrees to help an old friend who’s been scammed out of a cool quarter-mil by a passel of slick con-artists, one of whom is the guy’s wife. Things get rough as Trav goes undercover to try to recover the stolen loot.

Of course, despite the dire circumstances, author John D. MacDonald can’t pass up the chance to have Travis wax poetic on the decline of Florida’s ecology:
Aug 12, 2013 Tony rated it liked it
Shelves: thrillers
BRIGHT ORANGE FOR THE SHROUD. (1965). John D. MacDonald. ***.
This is a slightly different kind of adventure for Travis McGee than usual. An old acquaintance of his stumbles aboard the Busted Flush and proceeds to tell McGee his sad story. He was effectively bilked out of all his money – about $250,000 – by a team of clever shysters working in conjunction with his wife. What McGee had to do was to figure out a way of getting the money back; that way he could claim his usual 50% of the recovery of
I am continuing my project of reading all the Travis McGee books in order (rereading some and catching those I missed the first time around).
At the start of Bright Orange For The Shroud, the sixth Travis McGee book, McGee is looking forward to a quiet summer. He has sufficient funds stashed away and needs to take some time get back in shape physically. But, of course but that is not to be. An old acquaintance stumbles up from the dock and collapses on the deck of McGee's houseboat. After revivin
Rugged and sentimental, fearless and flawed, he was everything a connoisseur of private-eye capers could want. His job was salvage and demolition, and whenever the right job comes along he bids in it, rent the equipment, subcontract everything. He comes with a low project percentage that's big enough to live well until the next chances opens up..........and that's how 'Travis McGee' lives his life.

McGee was trying to help an old friend Arthur Wilkinson who was defraud out of his half-million mon
Ph. D.
Mar 30, 2016 Ph. D. rated it it was amazing
To anyone who has not read a Travis McGee yarn: Get a John D. MacDonald book with a color in the title. Prowl the aisles at a used book store -- the older and rattier volume you can snag, the better. Get to Florida (at least in your mind). Pop open a Dos Equis and prepare to be entertained by the one of the most endearing -- and enduring -- fictional characters of our time. Just one thing -- heed the advice of Carl Hiassen and resist the temptation to stop by the Bahia Mar Yacht Basin in Ft. ...more
Apr 22, 2009 Mark rated it really liked it
I'm (slowly) working my way through the "Travis McGee" series in order. BRIGHT ORANGE is, as they all are, a great yarn and page-turner, complete with McGee's (MacDonald's) musings on class, the environment, and the eternal battle of the sexes. This is a muscular thriller with, at points, a surprisingly hard and nasty edge: when I reminded myself it was originally published in 1965, I was struck by how much more brutal and sexually explicit it is than other paperback-spinner novels of its time, ...more
Jul 04, 2015 Kurt rated it it was amazing
Travis held my attention throughout -- spitting his wisdom, explaining the workings of scams big and small, and helping friends who have been hurt and find themselves with nowhere else to turn. They tend to turn up at the Busted Flush -- just at the moment when Travis needs a bit of financial cushion. The crazy Florida "cracker" bad-guy in this one (No. 6 in the series) is exceptionally lethal.
May 02, 2008 J.D. rated it really liked it
John D. McDonald is one of my "gateway drugs", that is to say, his books are among the ones that first got me hooked on crime fiction, back when I was a yoot. Bright Orange for the Shroud was my first McDonald. The sexual attitudes don't wear well into the the 21st century, but it's still a great thriller with a compelling hero.
Steve P
Jun 03, 2009 Steve P rated it really liked it
It's hard to believe that the great John D. has been dead for nearly 25 years and that he began the Travis McGee series nearly 50 years ago. Aside from their rather primitive view of women, these novels are as fresh and vital and relevant today as they ever were.

Someone commented that MacDonald was their literary 'palate cleanser'. I like that.
Nov 24, 2015 Randy rated it really liked it
This series hits every time. And it leads to one of the great openings in mystery fiction in the next book.
May 27, 2015 wally rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: macdonald
#39 from macdonald for me...and this will be the 6th (i think) travis mcgee story...missed #4 was it? which is coming in the mail i believe. just finished A Deadly Shade of Gold which might be the best of the lot so far.

25 may 15
i start to read.
strange, how the travis mcgee stories seem to get top billing here and abroad. having read 38 stories, more if you count the shorts individually, but having read many not-travis-mcgee, and knowing the others get even less traction that the mcgee stories,
Aug 21, 2014 Shuriu rated it liked it
In that venerable and useful show biz expression, she was always on. The gals seemed to have an instinctive wariness about her. The men were intrigued…. As she cooed, twisted, bounced, exclaimed, imitated, chuckled, I must admit that I had a few moments of very steamy curiosity. But there were too many warning flags up. The pointed nails curved too extremely over the soft tips of the little fingers. The poses and pauses were too carefully timed. And there was just a bit too much effervescence ...more
Pete Hoetjes
Oct 17, 2015 Pete Hoetjes rated it really liked it
My Spoiler Free Review:

There is some debate about which color-coded novel qualifies as the "darkest" story following John MacDonald's Travis McGee, and, six books in, "Bright Orange for the Shroud" still has my vote. I read them in almost-chronological order, meaning I haven't read any of the later ones, and started with the first, but whatever my bookstore has, I read. To summarize the plot, minus any twists (there really aren't any), our knight in slightly tarnished armor McGee is lounging ab
Oct 08, 2015 Leew49 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
I've been reading a lot of Jack Reacher novels lately, and it occurred to me that John D MacDonald's "independent contractor" Travis McGee was an earlier version of the same character. Both are big men who are all but unbeatable in a fight. Both former military, Reacher an MP during the latter 20th century and McGee a Korean War vet. Both have nontraditional ways of earning a living, and both are natural loners who nevertheless have no trouble making friends and attracting women. Unlike Reacher, ...more
Jan 30, 2013 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
After a few books in the series where McGee gads about the country or the hemisphere, Trav stays right at home in Florida for the sixth in the Travis McGee series. But boy does he get around Florida. This book is fun to review with Google Maps as Trav stalks his prey around Naples, on Florida's West coast, and many places around there and in the Everglades. His prime villain, among a few co-conspiritors, is a slimy, horny swamp thing named Boo Waxwell—a sensuous hairy good ole boy who loves his ...more
Jim Thomas
Sep 23, 2016 Jim Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
More good Travis McGee
Jul 08, 2015 Solitairerose rated it really liked it
Bright Orange for a Shroud is another of the early Travis McGee novels, and while the plot is slight, it is a fine example of MacDonald’s mix of action, observation and musings on life that make the series so rewarding. McGee has an old friend stumble into his houseboat, nearly dead and spirit broken by an expert pack of grifters who have taken everything from him. Money, inheritance and the will to go on.
Quickly, he takes on the task of attempting to put the man back together by finding him a w
May 27, 2013 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pure pleasure--and I've already read this book once. I am making a quest of it, to read all 21 of the Travis McGee books again, and happened upon this one on Saturday at Green Apple Books on Clement Street in San Francisco. Pure pleasure; pure gold.

McGee is contemplating a summer of indolence when an old acquaintance (an important word; see page 15) limps up the gangplank of his houseboat, The Busted Flush. Arthur has been swindled, used, and abused; he is broke--and broken. McGee doesn't even w
Apr 22, 2013 Mr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one, number six in the series, appalls us with the most fearsome of the dark-energy McGees--Boone Waxwell, the swamp-rat sadist, thief and murderer. “Ol’ Boo” and a team of big-con grifters have found a plump pigeon--a sweet-natured Bahia Mar boat-party extra named Arthur Wilkinson--plucked him clean and almost destroyed him physically and psychologically. Although he’s feeling lazy, “salvage” expert Travis McGee decides to attempt a recovery of the swag while enlisting his dancer pal ...more
Cary Griffith
Nov 03, 2013 Cary Griffith rated it really liked it
This was my first John D. MacDonald novel and I will definitely give another a try. Given my hectic schedule and disjointed ability to focus for longer periods of time, I am sometimes not the closest reader. So it may come as no surprise that I had to Google to understand the origins of the title. Once it was explained on Wikipedia, I thought; "Oh, yeah. That." So it's entirely understandable if you consider the following comments as those the disjointed observations of a semi-focused reader.

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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 ...more
More about John D. MacDonald...

Other Books in the Series

Travis McGee (1 - 10 of 21 books)
  • The Deep Blue Good-By (Travis McGee #1)
  • Nightmare in Pink (Travis McGee, #2)
  • A Purple Place for Dying (Travis McGee #3)
  • The Quick Red Fox (Travis McGee #4)
  • A Deadly Shade of Gold (Travis McGee #5)
  • Darker Than Amber (Travis McGee #7)
  • One Fearful Yellow Eye (Travis McGee #8)
  • Pale Gray for Guilt (Travis McGee #9)
  • The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper (Travis McGee #10)
  • Dress Her in Indigo (Travis McGee #11)

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“Now, of course, having failed in every attempt to subdue the Glades by frontal attack, we are slowly killing it off by tapping the River of Grass. In the questionable name of progress, the state in its vast wisdom lets every two-bit developer divert the flow into drag-lined canals that give him 'waterfront' lots to sell. As far north as Corkscrew Swamp, virgin stands of ancient bald cypress are dying. All the area north of Copeland had been logged out, and will never come back. As the glades dry, the big fires come with increasing frequency. The ecology is changing with egret colonies dwindling, mullet getting scarce, mangrove dying of new diseases born of dryness.” 5 likes
“anxious little smile that came and went—a mendicant” 1 likes
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