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The Lonely Silver Rain (Travis McGee #21)

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  2,042 ratings  ·  84 reviews
"Travis McGee is back in action and he is in fine, fine form....What a treat. It is John D. MacDonald's 21st Travies McGee book and, without reservaton, his best."THE SAN DIEGO TRIBUNE

Searching for a wealthy friend's yacht, Travis McGee puts himself square in the center of the international cocaine trade, and finds himself the target of some of the most ruthless villains h
Paperback, 296 pages
Published April 20th 1996 by Random House Publishing Group (first published 1984)
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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
20th out of 128 books — 69 voters
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret AtwoodEnder's Game by Orson Scott CardLove in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcí­a MárquezThe Cider House Rules by John IrvingPerfume by Patrick Süskind
Best Books of 1985
41st out of 135 books — 92 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,869)
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Emilly Orr
Out of all the Travis McGee books, this one sticks with me, I come back to it, time and again. How often do we misinterpret symbols we see, how often do we act out of our own pain, not considering the pain of others? In and amongst the typical Fort Lauderdale settings of all wide-ranging McGee books, this one asks us to look at how we communicate, how we interpret what we see. How we reach those who are closed off from us. What happens when we're surprised, what happens when we hurt, what happen ...more
Fittingly, last Travis McGee: entertaining, moving story...

We only recently "discovered" John D MacDonald, one of the most prolific authors of the 20th century, via his last non-series novel "Barrier Island". Having enjoyed it immensely, we wanted to try one of his famous Travis McGee stories, and just happened to stumble upon "Silver Rain", the very last in that series before the author's death. By now, McGee is late middle-aged, but still a macho bachelor able to fend for himself. He promptly
THE LONELY SILVER RAIN. (1984). John D. MacDonald. ****.
In this episode of the adventures of Travis McGee, we find Travis being approached by a friend of his who has had his boat stolen. Since Travis makes living from salvage rights, they reach an agreement that will give Travis 50% of the market value of the recovered craft. This is not a rowboat we’re talking about, but a fifty-four foot yacht that has been custom designed and built for a very wealthy man. Travis comes up with a clever plan on
The final Travis McGee novel. All things must come to an end and that it true for fictional characters as well (unless you're a comicbook superhero/villain).

In this final chapter of the McGee story there is a sense of McGee growing older and the realization that time moves on no matter how hard we try to hold it back. There is a touch of melancholy, but it is alleviated with the revelation that awaits at the end.

There is some debate whether MacDonald intended this to be the final McGee novel.M
Harv Griffin
Jan 29, 2013 Harv Griffin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: novelists who want to up their game
Shelves: own, reviewed
pic of my copy of SILVER

What I like about John D. is that the writing in the Travis McGee series is consistently excellent from first to last. Donald Hamilton’s Matt Helm Series became disappointingly bloated mid-way through the series. Robert B. Parker’s Spenser and Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall novels became abbreviated toward the end: Robert B. would write a few words, and expect his readers to know him well enough to fill in the blanks.

Travis McGee novels are not the best or easiest “first read forget me” books but
Dave Hanna
I will admit that I would not have heard of Travis McGee were it not for Jimmy Buffett. I haven't been much of a mystery reader since I was in junior high, when I would consume Agatha Christie books, especially the Poirot ones. But I figured if Buffett was such a big fan of this character--and his author--I should at least check it out.

The Lonely Silver Rain is the 21st and, as it turns out, the last in the McGee series (MacDonald died shortly after this one was published). I have read several o
Dec 19, 2010 Jim rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: crime
Seemingly this was the last of the Travis McGee books, not that I knew it when reading the novel which was effortless enjoyment (apart from an odd coda at the end of the book when up turns a long lost relative.) I sped past the first hundred pages in one sitting, and the plot unrolled in a way that made you doubt it could have been written any better in a thousand attempts. Not that I like Travis McGee much, perhaps because the mental image I have of him resembles Dave Lee Travis, but MacDonald ...more
Travis McGee, quests was to hunt for his friend Billy Ingram's yacht "Sundowner" was stolen and missing for three months. While searching "Sundowner" owned by his multi-million friend he thrust himself into an International drug trade in Miami, Florida, and he become their target. Found three dead body on board in "Sundowner" yacht who happened to hijacked it, and was using the yacht as a carrier conveying drugs from Cancun, Mexico to Miami.

Seemingly, one of the body found in the yacht was Gigli
Aug 01, 2011 Andrea added it

In the beginning of the book, a friend comes to Travis with a problem: his boat has been stolen and he'd like McGee to recover it. It's a high-value job, one I thought would be complicated. I was expecting a long tale of island-hopping, following clue after clue to find the missing boat. But surprisingly, the boat was found early on in the book, with three bodies inside. The real story starts here.

Drugs, organized crime, intrigue, near misses, and nail-biting suspense follow. But
This is the last of the Travis McGee series and the only one I'll include here--though I've read and enjoyed them all. All the books have a color in title, "A Purple Place For Dying" and so on. These books are unlike most other detective type series books and McGee is unlike most other heroes. If they suffer a flaw it is that MacDonald liked to preach about ills of modern society, some times these digressions seem prescient, other times quaint or foolish, other times just plain annoying. They da ...more
Mickey Bell
I read a lot about John D. McDonald in a book about writing. I was pretty interested in reading a book by him, but this one wasn't that great. The plot was nothing to write home about: a veteran crimefighter gets caught up in the cocaine trade? Unless it's Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, why would that really interest me all that much. Aspects important to me in this genre like villains, narrow escapes, worrying about the fate of the characters all fell flat.

This was the 21st and last of his Travis
Back in the day, I was a big John D. MacDonald fan, even subscribing to the "John D. MacDonald Bibliophile," a JDM fan magazine edited by Jean and Walter Shine. I read all the Travis McGees and many many other MacDonald novels and short story collections.
I recently came across a used paperback edition of Lonely Silver Rain, picked it up, started reading, and was again engrossed. Not having read it in 25 years, I happily found that, while the plot was vaguely familiar, it still held my interes
3 jul 15
#54 from macdonald for me and the last travis mcgee story, #21
if you have only read macdonald's travis mcgee stories you have missed out on some great stories, a pile of them, they all rock & roll, they are as real as it gets and they are a joy to read. only the last 3-4 mcgee stories have anything in the way of "spoilers" in them, and that is the so-called liberal definition of spoiler (billy had a cow. it was purple)...for what it is i imagine it'd be best to read the la
My very favorite Travis McGee book, and unfortunately his last. This book introduced some very compelling new insight into Travis, and exciting new story lines which were cut short when John D McDonald died a short time after its publication. I am so sorry to say goodbye to some of my favorite characters, but in my disappointment at the loss, I am very thankful for the time I had with them. RIP Travis, Meyer, and especially John D McDonald and thank you.
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" to meet Travis, and get ready for some great reading!
This is Travis McGee at his most broody. The last of the series, the plot is conventional, and doesn't really depart from the structure of the other books. But more than any of the others i have read , the plot really doesn't matter here. What matters is what Travis thinks about, and it is no longer merely hooking a great fish and setting off on a short sail with a strong woman who is easy on the eyes. Here he is wondering what it all means, and if it is all over for him. Very meditative and som ...more
Chuck Fannin
Lonely Silver Rain - John D MacDonald

A good read, a couple of mysteries solved, and an upbeat ending. As usual, McGee's take on the events of the times is at least as interesting as the actual story (And, it's a pretty good story) The characters are always nuanced, nobody is completely good, and almost nobody is beyond redemption. The tie in to "Pale Gray for Guilt" was unexpected, and very well done. You just want to sit on the bridge of the Busted Flush and share a Gin with Meyer and Mcgee.

This is the last title in a 21 book series. I’m glad I saved it for last. MacDonald was working on a 22nd title at the time of his death, but this book offers such a satisfying last look at Travis McGee that I can’t imagine a better conclusion.
My father read all Travis McGee books and I read them when he was done. I was already a reader in HS but John D. MacDonald put me on the road of staying up late and ignoring important stuff, like my algebra studies in order to find out what happened next. Travis McGee is probably the reason I left the midwest and lived in ramshackle dwellings at the beach for years
Travis got a mite dark, slipping into something resembling depression here and since I'm old myself I could relate. He was aware of
Joy Hale
Dec 18, 2007 Joy Hale rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: If you like Magnum PI
I love reading these...Travis McGee is a salvager who ends up salvaging more than just boats....laid back but capable...a man's man and a woman's heartbreaker...nothing spiritual, but deep...
Nancy Vala
I like to read certain magazines and books to find out about men and what they think. Esquire, GQ, and every single one of the Travis McGee series by John D MacDonald, each book with a color in the title. This is the last book and my favorite one. It is more introverted, reflective, melancholy, even while keeping the adventure and suspense and action going strong with some genuinely funny moments.

I also re-read these books when I get in the mood to learn something about the craft of writing. On
I call this one - "Travis McGee grows up." This aging beach bum character has slowly grown up in the the series. Nothing so pathetic as someone in the latter years who has not developed deep roots in relationship and jumps from women-to-women without long term commitment. In this final book in the series, McGee sort of comes to some level of maturity. Slowly over the series, MacDonald has dropped the 'McGee as sex therapist' theme and some of the other antiquated, sexist/racist elements. Some of ...more
It’s hard not to find intimations of mortality in a novel you know was the last in a great, great series. THE LONELY SILVER RAIN came out in 1985, author John D. McDonald died in Dec. 1986. RAIN wasn’t McDonald’s last published novel, but it was the last (and 21st) to feature the incomparable Travis McGee. The plot is unexceptional. It involves McGee--who was trying to retrieve a stolen custom cruiser per his usual fee arrangement--stumbling upon three fly-swarmed corpses and getting caught in t ...more
Mike Billington
When I first moved to Florida in 1984 to take a job at the Palm Beach Post my bureau chief, knowing I was a native Northeasterner, suggested I read some of John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee books to get a feel for what it's like to live in the Sunshine State. I took her advice and quickly became hooked on the McGee novels. "The Lonely Silver Rain" was his last book - he died not long after it was published - and in my mind it is the best of his McGee stories and that's saying a lot. McGee is old ...more
One of my favorite McGee stories and sadly, the last one that John D. MacDonald wrote. I have enjoyed rereading all 21 books in this series this summer and they brought back memories of reading these 25 years ago.

The story brings McGee into the explosive world of drug trafficking in Florida in the 80's and yet it seems it could be just like that today. In a bit of a departure, McGee is on a list to be killed and many take their shot at him....but he survives!

A good story - some wonderful charact
It's not a bad book, but at this point in 2014 it's dated. For me personally, the 1980's culture that sets the background was distracting from the main story. It also seemed to continue long after you would have thought the book was over. There was a secondary story line that had nothing to do with the original one. This is the only book in the series that I have read so it may make more sense if you've been following the series.
Goodbye, Travis. Even though we can't know if MacDonald knew it was the last, he closed the series in a fitting fashion. What a pleasure it has been reading these 21 books this past year.

I'm looking forward now to dipping into the standalone books. John D. was a great thriller writer, and more. A keen commentator on America in the mid-twentieth century and brilliant at creating believable, different characters for every story.
#21 in the Travis McGee series. The final entry (1985) in this justifiably famous series.

Travis McGee agrees to look for a stolen cruiser. When he finds it, it contains three murdered young people and a supply of counterfeit cash. One of the victims is the niece of a prominent Peruvian drug lord who wants her murder revenged. The boat owner and McGee are targeted. McGee's final adventure is tinged with mortality.
Aug 06, 2013 Chuck rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chuck by: Phil Henry
John D. McDonald was the author of seventy-eight books during his writing career which ended upon his death in 1986 from complications from a previous heart surgery. He is the one most credited as an inspiration by many of today's mystery writers. Of his 78 books, he is most famous for his 21 volume Travis McGee series of which this was his final effort before his death. I have read nine of his books and have enjoyed each. When I read prolific writers like Sandford, L'Amour and McDonald, I rarel ...more
Another of my favorite authors. I picked this book to review but I've read all the books in the Travis McGee series multiple times since discovering them 20 years ago in a used bookstore. Some of the attitudes are dated--I think they were mostly written in the 60s--but get past that and you'll find wonderful characters, fast moving stories, humor, and environmentalism way before it was "popular."
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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...

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)
Cape Fear The Deep Blue Good-By (Travis McGee #1) A Deadly Shade of Gold (Travis McGee #5) Nightmare in Pink (Travis McGee, #2) Free Fall in Crimson (Travis McGee #19)

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“At times it seems as if arranging to have no commitment of any kind to anyone would be a special freedom. But in fact the whole idea works in reverse. The most deadly commitment of all is to be committed only to one's self. Some come to realize this after they are in the nursing home.” 13 likes
“When you look at pictures of people you know are dead, there is something different about the eyes. As if they anticipated their particular fate.It is a visceral recognition. I told myself I was getting too fanciful and went to bed.” 4 likes
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