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The Green Ripper (Travis McGee #18)

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  2,306 Ratings  ·  106 Reviews
"McGee has become part of our national fabric."SEATTLE POST INTELLIGENCER

Beautiful girls always grace the Florida beaches, strolling, sailing, relaxing at the many parties on Travis McGee's houseboat, The Busted Flush. McGee was too smart--and had been around too long--for many of them to touch his heart. Now, however, there was Gretel. She had discovered the key to McGee-
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 20th 1996 by Fawcett Books (first published 1979)
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When Travis McGee goes undercover it’s usually in a bed with some cute beach bunny, but this time McGee has a more serious reason. REVENGE!

The series has reached 1980 and with the free love and disco days gone McGee has settled down and is in a relationship with Gretel Howard. Just as he’s getting ready to sail off into the sunset with his lady love, Gretel tells McGee about having a chance encounter with a man she’d seen in an odd situation years before. Suddenly, Gretel dies of a mysterious il
Nov 25, 2016 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I was in college in the late eighties and the Iron Curtain was swaying in the changing wind, I had a political science professor who had ideas about clandestine groups sharing an underground network of training and weapons. He liked to talk to a few of us and said once, chillingly, about how he had proof that South American drug cartels were associated with Middle Eastern groups, their only connection seemingly their pledge to chaos and a new world order under new rules. Then he said the ...more
The pinnacle of the Travis McGee sequence?

That is my question mark added to the statement made by HRF Keating in his Crime and Mystery: The 100 Best Books; he goes on to compare the latter MacDonald and McGee novels to none other than Charles Dickens.
It is not unfair to compare MacDonald to Dickens the novelist of feelings, of sentiment, and of sentimentality

I quite happily admit to never having read a Dickens novel despite my education in the English school system but he has a fair point in a
Okay now this was more like it. After the disappointing A Tan and Sandy Silence I was glad to see that Mr. McGee was capable of being one of the great Last Action Heroes. I'll keep this one short. Once again Mr. McGee loses his ladylove (If I was a lady I would run away as fast as I could from Travis. The life expectancy is not good)and he goes looking for the culprits. He finds a group of terrorists posing as a cult in California. They have plans for mayhem, but instead McGee deals out some may ...more
Carla Remy
Sep 03, 2012 Carla Remy rated it it was amazing
This is the 2nd John D MacDonald book I've read, and I'm in love. The thriller aspect of it was fine and bloody, but that wasn't the reason I couldn't stop reading it. It was just so interesting. SO interesting. Which I did feel about the other one too. The details and the observations are remarkable and plentiful. I suppose I was also carried away by the suspense, but it wasn't obvious cookie cutter thriller suspense. I really like how MacDonald doesn't ever seem to be trying too hard. He was ...more
Michael Sorensen
May 19, 2008 Michael Sorensen rated it it was amazing
Taking off from the end of The "Empty Copper Sea", the "Green Ripper" marked what I consider the significant high point of the series. Certainly Travis is forced to endure emotional torment beyond what most of us would ever want, but he comes out of it with a belligerant intensity that makes this book the "Die Harder" of the series. The looks on the FBI and Intelligence guys faces at the end when they look at all Travis has wrought in seeking his vengence is priceless. If you liked any of these ...more
Joe  Noir
Jan 27, 2014 Joe Noir rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Full disclosure: this is one of my all-time favorite novels, one of my all-time favorite thrillers, and my favorite Travis McGee novel. Maybe I’m biased, but I don’t think so.

You could begin the series with this book, and many people have. However, doing that gave some readers the wrong impression of Travis McGee. You should really start with other books in the series: The Scarlet Ruse, Pale Gray for Guilt, The Turquoise Lament, and Dress Her in Indigo to see how the events in The Green Ripper c
Harv Griffin
Jan 17, 2013 Harv Griffin rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: novelists who want to up their game
Shelves: reviewed, own
pic of my copy of THE GREEN RIPPER

This is the darkest of all the Travis McGee novels. Trav infiltrates a group of terrorists on a mission of revenge. My favorite parts are where Travis does a Rambo; kicks ass, takes names…and anyone who manages (excuse me, womanages, see DAUGHTER MOON) to survive gets tied-up & turned into the Feds.

I don’t quite buy the build-up, with McGee mooning over lost love, but John D. is the consummate professional, the top notch craftsman; even if the spark of early John D. MacDonald genius is miss
Feb 12, 2014 Mr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seeking to understand why his True-Love-of-the-Moment, Gretel Howard (introduced in THE EMPTY COPPER SEA), was murdered with what had to have been an assassin’s tool, the generally genial Travis McGee goes deep under cover as not-quite-bright commercial fisherman “Tom McGraw.” Bloody revenge is on his mind, and the only lead points to a guarded California encampment of the cultish Church of Apocrypha. Insinuating himself into the group, which has a strangely militaristic bent, McGee fully ...more
Nov 22, 2015 Jerry rated it liked it
“Green Ripper” is a strange title – and turns out to just be a wordplay (malapropism) on “Grim Reaper”, a comment Travis McGee in this his 18th novel (of 21) in the set overheard from a young child. It gives no clue to a plot in which Travis sets out to avenge the death of Gretel, a woman he apparently discovered in the just prior “Empty Copper Sea”, and for whom he has finally fallen hard enough to maybe marry or at least commit to an atypical permanent relationship. His search for the perps ...more
Rob Kitchin
May 29, 2012 Rob Kitchin rated it liked it
The Green Ripper is the 18th McGee novel in a series of twenty one. Macdonald writes elegantly in an easy and engaging style. His characterisation is excellent, and he has a keen eye for observing and commenting on different social phenomena. The first half of the story is well plotted and paced, unfolding in a way that draws the reader in. The second half though lacked any real credibility. Whilst how the religious cult operates and the motivations behind their actions seemed realistic, how ...more
I'll put this book as one of my favorite Travis McGee adventures. It's fast and furious!!!

While Gretel (Travis McGee's girlfriend) was working at "Bonnie Brae" she was abruptly inflected with a mysterious illness at her job...... a bugs bite, and died suddenly. McGee was suspecting that they're untruthful, and she was murdered.

When Travis was informed by the government agent that Gretel's cause of death was poison a chemical structure was developed by Kamera a section of Dept. V of the KGB. Whic
Dec 15, 2010 Percy rated it really liked it
Wow, this is the one in the series that is a must read. The Green Ripper serves as a significant sign post in the overall character arc of Travis McGee. The level of writing in the last chapters and epilogue really spoke to me and where McGee was mentally. The story is captivating enough and considering this was written in the late '70's and first published in 1980, the content is as timely now as ever.

It's not necessary to read the entire McGee saga, but if you have to read just 3 or so, this
Apr 15, 2009 John rated it really liked it
McGee has decided that maybe, at last, he's found the Real Thing with Gretel, but then she's ruthlessly murdered -- worse, he and Meyer discover this is just one of a long series of killings involved with the plans of anarchistic revolutionaries hiding behind the mask of a religious cult, the Church of the Apocrypha. Except that, of course, the revolutionaries are actually being run by far more sinister forces . . . In due course, McGee infiltrates one of their armed training camps, and after ...more
Elisa Paige
May 09, 2011 Elisa Paige rated it really liked it
John D. MacDonald and his Travis McGee books will always hold a special place in my heart. I discovered this series in 1987, just after I'd graduated from college. At the time, I was living alone in Washington, DC, and feeling very out-of-place as I rode the metro 45 minutes each way to/from Alexandria, VA. I was a small-town girl, out in the big city, and feeling every see-sawing emotion you'd expect: a bit overwhelmed, hopeful, anxious, confident, quavering... But I could always count on ...more
Jeff Bach
Aug 10, 2012 Jeff Bach rated it it was amazing
John D. MacDonald and his character Travis McGee, for me, are at the same level as Robert B. Parker and Spencer. Except it took me awhile to really like RWP. With JDM, however, I liked the writing and the style after just one read which was the Green Ripper.

Good first person writing and storytelling. Good introspection. Good action. Good good good. Looking forward to all the other many Travis McGee books.
Jan 05, 2016 Randy rated it it was amazing
Bam. This is the one. 17 novels get you in the groove with a character, and then . . .

Do not read this if you have not the others, preferably in order and close together.

Simply breathtaking. One of the true classics of American Hard Boiled mystery fiction.
Jul 16, 2008 Charles rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
The entire Travis McGee series is excellent. This is one of the more brutal of the stories, and one of the best.
Nov 17, 2015 wally rated it liked it
Shelves: macdonald
24 jun 15
#51 from macdonald for me and travis mcgee #18
this is the first of 18 that begins like a continuation of the previous with gretel, a female lead in The Empty Copper Sea with travis aboard the busted flush in florida. gretel is the one, mcgee tells meyer, his economist friend and neighbor. we'll see but to date travis is decidedly and unabashedly a bachelor and unattached. just finished with the empty copper sea, three more left after this one, mcgee stories.

27 june 15
finished. good sto
Nov 30, 2016 Jay rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned-read
It was okay, though not very much like a Travis McGee novel. The protagonist infiltrates a cell of religious extremist terrorists to avenge a woman who is fridged early in the story, culminating in an action sequence more befitting a Rambo movie than a mystery novel. It's unbelievable how quickly the terrorists accept him into their ranks, and the tone of the book suffers whiplash near the end.
Aug 02, 2014 Mark added it
I noted in my review of the previous entry in the Travis McGee series, THE EMPTY COPPER SEA, that the overall tone of the books seemed to be changing--and with THE GREEN RIPPER the change is really palpable. To start, this book follows directly from the prior: one lovely lass in danger in COPPER actually lived through that book's climax ("Travis Girls" have even less likelihood of survival than "Bond Girls"), and by the beginning of GREEN Trav's starting to think "she's the one." Of course, that ...more
Feb 15, 2015 Shuriu rated it really liked it
In the meanwhile, poor Herm had succumbed to the age of the jock. The mystique of pushing yourself past your limits. The age of shin splints, sprung knees, and new hernias. An office-softened body in its middle years needs a long, long time to come around. Until a man can walk seven miles in two hours without blowing like a porpoise, without sweating gallons, without bumping his heart past 120, it is asinine to start jogging. Except for a few dreadful lapses which have not really gone too long, ...more
Aug 30, 2016 Terry rated it did not like it
Some books from earlier eras age very well, every bit as readable as when they were written, some even find a more appreciative audience many years after the first publication. But while looking through a few books in the Travis McGee series, I became worried that this highly regarded series would seem dated. I looked for one of the more recent books, one that was also mentioned in places as one of the best. I picked up this one, not sure if it met the second criteria, but it met the first.
I sus
In other detective stories the characters are either good or bad. Most of JDM's characters are in the grey zone, neither all good or all bad. Are loopy people evil? So far the JDM books have at least one great description of a grey zone character and their driving forces. Travis self-awareness makes him nobody's fool.

Anna married to a rich dying old man is anxious to move on to her next man. She picks Travis. ..."I had seen the greed behind the tears, the impulse to break into laughter. Everythi
Mike Jensen
Before trashing it, I should note that MacDonald writes in a very readable prose style. That is all I have nice to say about this book.

After abortive attempts to read this author in the past, I forced myself to read this one because the book was recommended as one of the best, which is to say that it has fewer of MacDonald's annoying traits, and indeed it does. It may have not been the best place to begin because the protagonist has an emotional crisis at the start and supposedly works it out th
James Schubring
Jun 06, 2013 James Schubring rated it it was amazing
The first half of this book is among the best things in the English language about grief and mourning. It deserves 10 stars out of five.

The second half is an interesting strong-guy caper/thriller worth about 4 stars out of five.

Average the two together and the book is definitely worth more than five stars.

For a more complete review, let's try this: Travis McGee as usual gets told something unusual by a woman he knows. Some strange dealings at her place of business. Next thing he knows someone up
Sarah Sammis
The Green Ripper by John D. MacDonald is the 19th Travis McGee mystery book. It was on my wishlist, on their early enough and for long enough I don't remember why I added it. But that's part of the fun of reading through the list.

The book follows on the heels (from what I've read) on The Empty Copper Sea where Travis had fallen in love with a woman named Gretel. She though dies mysteriously in the first chapter and sends Travis into a rage. First he wants revenge and then, coming to his senses,
Jan 17, 2013 Dave rated it really liked it
This is one of the later Travis McGee books by John D. MacDonald. One of the cool things about McGee is that over the course of 21 books, Travis grows and becomes a different man. I'm not sure if the reader will find him a better or worse person, but you will find him different.

As with the case of all of the books, Travis McGee is a salvage consultant based out of Bahia Mar in Ft Lauderdale.

Unlike most of the other stories, the event that drives this story isn't one where Travis is looking for
Ronald Koltnow
Jul 12, 2016 Ronald Koltnow rated it liked it
Dashiell Hammett's period of activity was five short years from '29 -'34, in which he published five books, four of which are undisputed classics. He never seems dated to me. John D. MacDonald published twenty-one Travis McGee novels in as many years and they seem to be trivial relics of a distant past. It is not the references to Betamax machines that date the work, it is the smug 1960s attitude of cooler than thou McGee that gets me. In 1980, The National Book Award Foundation decided to ...more
Aug 01, 2011 Andrea added it
The 18th installment in the Travis McGee series is absolutely not the usual Travis story. Yes, there's a girl - the same one from the last installment - and yes, there's danger and intrigue, but it's not the type I've come to expect from Travis.

In an effort to find the people responsible for the murder of Gretel, Travis takes off - without Meyer! - to find the mysterious Church of the Apocrypha. When he finds them, he masquerades as a man who is trying to find the daughter he lost to the cult.
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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)
  • Bright Orange for the Shroud (Travis McGee #6)
  • 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)

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