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Darker Than Amber (Travis McGee #7)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,194 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
A great bestseller starring Travis McGee, a real American hero--and maybe the star of a new movie franchise! Reissue.

Helping damsels in distress is nothing new for Travis McGee--it's basically how he spends his life. But this one was different right from the start. Tossed off a bridge with cement wired to her feet, dragged to safety by Travis and Meyer, she was a hot Euras
Paperback, Fawcett Crest 22446-5, 283 pages
Published 1994 by Fawcett (first published January 1st 1966)
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Stormy Weather by Carl HiaasenTourist Season by Carl HiaasenThe Deep Blue Good-By by John D. MacDonaldBasket Case by Carl HiaasenSkinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen
Florida Mystery/Thrillers
14th out of 144 books — 74 voters
Alien Species Intervention by J.K. AccinniBaby by J.K. AccinniTheir Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale HurstonA Land Remembered by Patrick D. SmithThe Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Best Books Set in or About Florida
76th out of 253 books — 146 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jul 15, 2011 Amanda rated it did not like it
Shelves: crap, blog
Holy shit snacks. I can't believe I read the whole thing.

First off, let's get one thing straight. Reading this was a dare. All parties involved, including myself, knew I would most likely despise this book and find it a vile-coated offering with a noxious nougat center. I started to shelve this bad boy as "book rape" until I remembered that I had willingly agreed to subject myself to this slow torture and I didn't even have to be double dog dared. I'm that kid from A Christmas Story who willingl
Cathy DuPont
Mar 30, 2014 Cathy DuPont rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone who enjoys a great storyteller like JDM
Recommended to Cathy by: Geez, some sailor.
From time to time I feel compelled to put in my two cents about Travis McGee’s relationship with women. However, Travis defends himself pretty well with his own clear words (and those of Meyer aka JDM) throughout the 21 book series, so it baffles me that people would say things such as “he’s a misogynist” or "he treats women like sex objects" or "all he wants is to get laid." In my opinion, all of these comments are inaccurate and just plain wrong. (Well, maybe the last one not as much…being wro ...more
May 22, 2015 Kemper rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery, mcgee
We were about to give up and call it a night when somebody dropped the girl off the bridge.

You don’t get a much better opening line to a crime novel than that.

Travis McGee, the Florida boat bum and ‘salvage consultant’ who specializes in recovering money or items conned from people is just trying to do a little fishing under a bridge with his best friend Meyer when someone drops a girl wired to a cement block into the water in front of them. Thanks to some underwater heroics from McGee, they man
Harv Griffin
Nov 18, 2012 Harv Griffin rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, own
pic of DARKER THAN AMBER novel on my bookshelf

Not my favorite Travis McGee, but this puppy has my favorite opening chapter by John D. MacDonald.

I've read this two or three times, I think. At least twice.

Copyright 1966. Growing up, I found Travis McGee novels harder to read than Matt Helm novels (by Donald Hamilton). But Travis holds up better now that we're into the new millennium; and MacDonald maintained a high quality of writing all the way to the end of the series (something Hamilton did not do).

Travis is not your average literary hero
Lee Thompson
Mar 19, 2014 Lee Thompson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Been reading a bunch of MacDonald this past year since I bought a big lot (23 books) off eBay. He's quickly made it into my top five favorite authors.
Sep 02, 2015 Leslie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
This 7th entry in the Travis McGee series is the first one in which McGee's neighbor & friend Meyer has a major role. I liked the dynamic between Meyer & McGee and Meyer balances out McGee's personality.

However, I find the attitudes to women & sex sometimes mildly offensive; interestingly I think McGee is much more of a "love 'em and leave 'em" guy than James Bond ever was (at least in the books). I realize that these books are very much of their times (mid 60s) but passages like

Mackenzie Brown
Apr 08, 2014 Mackenzie Brown rated it it was amazing
The first novel featuring Travis McGee's hairy, intellectual sidekick Meyer, in a leading role. Many people might recall a movie of the book with Theodore Bickel playing a near perfect Meyer, but as usual the book is much better.

This one starts with the rescue of a girl dumped into the ocean, attached to a cement block while McGee and Meyer are fishing under a bridge. They save her, only to learn she is a prostitute named Vangie, a Eurasian beauty with peculiar colour to her eyes... a shade dark
May 03, 2016 Kurt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every spring/summer I knock off a few Travis McGee's -- don't wanna burn through the series too fast. This one involves a pretty callous bunch of operators, setting up random philanderers with high-market hookers, luring them onto small cruise vessels, then whacking them and dumping them over the side while out at sea. McGee catches some extremely lucky breaks when confronted by the psychopathic muscle of the group, and he manages a very nice round up of all the players in the end, including the ...more
Dennis D.
Oct 30, 2009 Dennis D. rated it really liked it
This is Travis McGee no. 7. If you’re just tuning in, McGee, the lead character, is a "salvage consultant", his words for a mercenary who rights wrongs, and often will recover (or attempt to recover) something that’s been taken, in exchange for a sizable cut. The premise sounds pulp-y, though the writing has been anything but. The author, the late John D. MacDonald, was prolific, but also very talented.

This time out, McGee has a case literally dropped on him. He and his sidekick Meyer are fishi
May 09, 2013 Tony rated it really liked it
DARKER THAN AMBER. (1966). John D. MacDonald. ****.
Travis McGee and his friend Meyer can’t even go out fishing for snook (whatever they are; I’ll have to check the Mrs. Paul’s section at the grocery store) without running into another adventure. As they were sitting in their skiff below a bridge, a body was suddenly hurled off the bridge into the water. Turns out that it was a gorgeous young woman who sank like a stone – mostly because a cinder block was wired to her foot. McGee had to do his re
May 15, 2013 DR rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
To be blunt, this 7th novel in the series isn’t an adventure at all worthy of the iconoclastic knight errant, Travis McGee, and the hirsute economist Meyer (possessor of the ineffable “Meyer Magic” and non-founder of the new religion, “Meyerism”). Fishing together one night during another installment of McGee’s swag-funded retirement, a cement-block-weighted beauty is thrown off a highway bridge almost onto McGee’s and Meyer’s small boat. Upon learning that the rescued young woman is no lady and ...more
Sep 13, 2009 Mark rated it really liked it
The latest in my chronological reading of the Travis McGee series, DARKER THAN AMBER is indeed dark: it's probably the toughest in the series since the brilliant opener THE DEEP BLUE GOOD-BY, and perhaps the best since that one as well. There are some changes from the formula here: the damsel-in-distress is a knockout, but not very likable; and for the first time we get to see Meyer in action in a meaningful way. (Surely the witty economist Meyer is a stand-in for MacDonald himself, who took a d ...more
Aug 01, 2011 Andrea added it
Warning... spoliers ahead!

Travis once again displays his overgrown hero complex by rescuing another damsel in distress and going after the people that screwed her over.

I was tickled by how tortured Travis was after he did away with Griff. It is one of Travis' charms that, after all he's seen and done, he still has respect for human life no matter how misspent and rotten the life in question might be.

I love the way he tortured Terry with the Vangie-double and drowned doll in his bathroom sink. D
Sep 11, 2011 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Elmore Leonard, Crime Fiction Fans
Recommended to Laura by: Ken, but PACE bus driver
My bus driver loaned me this book because of a polite and surfacy inquiry I'd made into the MacDonald novel he was reading, and I wouldn't have even started it had it not been for the Vonnegut blurb on the back, which touted MacDonald's storytelling ability. And, not surprisingly, Vonnegut was right. This is a fun, tight little crime fiction novel starring one Travis McGee, who is apparently the star of a series of MacDonald's books. The pace and characters reminded me very much of Elmore Leonar ...more
Apr 30, 2016 Noreen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: john-d-macdonald
Vidge: Short for Virginia, in wretched shape emotionally, trying to find out who she used to be before three years of a sour marriage had turned her into somebody she didn't even like anymore. In the old days she'd never been skyrockets--just a quiet, pretty, decent gal with a nice oblique sense of fun and games, and the manifest destiny of being a good wife.

Vangie: Eyesight is what you use to get around without running into things. But they find no asthetic value in what they see. Her 12 years
Jul 13, 2015 Solitairerose rated it it was amazing
Darker Than Amber is the 7th Travis McGee novel and differs from the earlier novel in having a more traditional structure and plot, but it is also immensely readable and moves quickly through the plot. The story begins with a woman being dropped from a bridge tied to a cement block. What starts as a money recovery operation quickly escalates as McGee discovers the secret behind this woman’s life.
In the McGee novels up to this point, he has been involved in the plot due to an emotional attachment
Jan 03, 2015 Linden rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Adult mystery fans
Recommended to Linden by: Luck of the draw

*** Spoiler Alert! ***

John MacDonald has created memorable characters in Travis McGee and his friend, Meyer. On a midnight fishing trip, McGee and Meyer are in exactly the right spot when a woman falls into the water from a bridge. McGee jumps in to pull her out and discovers her ankles are wired to a concrete block.

When the woman recovers, McGee finds Evangeline, Vangie, is a woman with a questionable past that she wants to stay unspoken. She asks McGee to rescue a secret stash of money, some $
Jun 06, 2015 wally rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: macdonald
#44 from macdonald for me...must be around #10 or 11 travis mcgee...have not been reading them 1-2-3 but as they come. so it goes. onward upward
just finished The Long Lavender Look: A Travis McGee Novel

5 jun 15
finished. great story. and yet another where i note that the "bad" is not on stage for any length of time...mainly travis & some meyer & the occasional other brought in to play a part. the "bad" are almost minor is their actions that take center stage...and too, yet
Dec 25, 2009 Jim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
Any book that begins "We were about to give up and call it a night when somebody dropped the girl off the bridge" deserves immortality.

Admittedly McGee is a cretinous Alpha male from the 1960's, but the action sequences are great and the villains are very evil without turning into comic book characters.

Just ignore the digressions on the role of women and blacks in American society. He is trying to come out on the side of the angels but he doesn't quite pull it off.
Nov 27, 2015 Randy rated it it was amazing
This book has greatest opening line in mystery fiction:

"We were about to give up and call it a night when someone dropped the girl off the bridge."

While I recommend that you start at the beginning of this classic series, if you are only going to read one Travis McGee novel, THIS is the one. It is true hardboiled, and it's a doozy. This novel proves that McGee is one of the great characters of mystery fiction and more people should know about him.
Mar 14, 2016 Sarah rated it really liked it
Highly entertaining!
Jan 28, 2014 Simon rated it really liked it
This is one if my favorites in the series...
Jeff Yoak
This is my favorite yet re-reading the Travis McGee novels. Meyer is not only present, but an active participant. Travis comes up with a complex, clever and memorable plan.
Carla Remy
Seven books into the series I find myself fairly bored. Maybe I've read them too fast. The writing is great, but the mysteries are too complicated and I don't care about house boats. Twenty books! I need a break... It does, however, shock and annoy me that McGee has been called misogynistic . Whoever said that was obviously someone who didn't read the books and doesn't understand what the word misogynistic means (and then other people heard it and thought it was true because, you know, it was sa ...more
Juan Carlos
Nov 10, 2014 Juan Carlos rated it really liked it
Travis y Meyer pescan cangrejos a la luz de la luna próximos a la ciudad de Marathon (Florida) cuando ven cómo una mujer es arrojada al mar desde el puente. Tras lograr liberar a la joven de la piedra que llevaba atada a uno de sus tobillos, Travis MzGee consigue izarla a su casa flotante, “The Busted Flush”. Con la ayuda de su inseparable Meyer consiguen reavivarla; al día siguiente se enteran por ella –de nombre Vangie- de los pormenores de su ocupación y de los motivos que hayan podido llevar ...more
Oct 01, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As with every Travis McGee novel, part of me is reading it for the story, which is always interesting, mostly enthralling, and sometimes genius. The other half (or should I say 90% probably) is reading for McDonald's writing. Every review so far of his books I talk about his wordsmithery, and he definitely delivers here. I always find quotes to highlight.

This story wasn't my favorite, but it was good. Out of seven McGee novels so far, there has been only one that I didn't really like.

As always,
Mar 15, 2015 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
"Κρουαζιέρες θανάτου", εκδόσεις ΒΙΠΕΡ.

Σχεδόν δυο μήνες πέρασαν από την τελευταία φορά που διάβασα βιβλίο με ήρωα τον Τράβις ΜακΓκι και η αλήθεια είναι ότι μου έλειψε. Χρονολογικά είναι το έβδομο βιβλίο της σειράς και γι'ακόμη μια φορά πέρασα πολύ ωραία.

Που λέτε, ο αγαπητός Τράβις ψάρευε ζαργάνες μαζί με τον φίλο του τον Μάγιερ κάτω από μια γέφυρα, ώσπου κάποιοι λεβέντες πέταξαν μια κοπέλα από την γέφυρα στην θάλασσα, παρέα μ'έναν τσιμεντόλιθο δεμένο στο ένα της πόδι. Ο Τράβις βουτάει στο νερό κ
Nov 20, 2012 Miki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this years ago, and when I found it at the library sale, decided to give it another try. Yes, Travis McGee is a condescending, sexist jerk, and yes, the female characters are stereotypical sex objects, which offended me greatly. However, I enjoyed the story just as much the second time around - it's a good one in spite of its faults. Sue me.

Warning: this book does have some incredibly stupid dialogue, such as when Travis says "Meyer, let us take this tub, some amiable doxies, and go BONK-CH
James Schubring
May 15, 2013 James Schubring rated it it was amazing
I wish someone had clued me into John D. MacDonald a long time ago. I just finished reading Darker Than Amber and am still blown away.

A quick plot outline for those who haven’t read the story. Travis McGee is on his boat with his friend Meyer when a woman is thrown off a bridge into the water below, a concrete block wired to her feet. She survives, thanks to McGee, but not for long. She’s a woman in a very dangerous line of business. McGee, a man who retrieves money and valuables for people who’
JoAnna Spring
May 03, 2008 JoAnna Spring rated it liked it
Shelves: travis-mcgee, fiction
Travis McGee and Meyer are fishing under a bridge very late at night when a woman with her feet tied to cement blocks is thrown off a bridge. McGee rescues her, nearly dieing in the process (of course). The woman, Vangie, is beautiful (of course), selfish, detached, and has a shady past involving high-end prostitution and an nefarious organized ring of stealing people's money and killing them. Drama and mystery ensue (of course).

Am liking this book very much so far. Much quicker beginning than
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Goodreads Librari...: How do we fix books with incorrect ISBN 2 22 May 26, 2012 05:54AM  
  • The Zebra-Striped Hearse
  • Twelve Mile Limit
  • The Green Eagle Score (Parker, #10)
  • Even the Wicked (Matthew Scudder #13)
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...

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)
  • Bright Orange for the Shroud (Travis McGee #6)
  • 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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“We were about to give up and call it a night when somebody threw the girl off the bridge.” 37 likes
“...her dark eyes were like twin entrances to two deep caves. Nothing lived in those caves. Maybe something had, once upon a time. There were piles of picked bones back in there, some scribbling on the walls, and some grey ash where the fires had been.” 1 likes
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