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The Lonely Silver Rain (Travis McGee #21)

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,482 Ratings  ·  109 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
24th out of 144 books — 77 voters
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret AtwoodEnder's Game by Orson Scott CardPerfume by Patrick SüskindLove in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcí­a MárquezThe Cider House Rules by John Irving
Best Books of 1985
42nd out of 139 books — 100 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Emilly Orr
Sep 09, 2009 Emilly Orr rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 05, 2010 Jerry rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 07, 2013 Tony rated it really liked it
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
Apr 18, 2013 Checkman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 30, 2016 Derek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
The story has an autumnal quality. McGee fiddles with little projects, ends a little romance of convenience, tinkers with his boats, and thinks idly of earning more money, not that he needs it. The crop of beach bums du jour--a generation younger than he--are garish and repellent, and his social circle attrites from the natural process of aging. In particular, friends and associates have started dying off. He is tired and worn out or nearly so, and all he has to look forward to is more of the sa ...more
Harv Griffin
Jan 29, 2013 Harv Griffin rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: novelists who want to up their game
Shelves: reviewed, own
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
Oct 13, 2015 Canavan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dave Hanna
Jul 09, 2012 Dave Hanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 really liked it
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
Jun 14, 2012 Jenna rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
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
Oct 20, 2007 Craig rated it really liked it
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
Jun 25, 2012 Mickey Bell rated it liked it
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
David Ward
Mar 13, 2016 David Ward rated it really liked it
The Lonely Silver Rain (Travis McGee #21) by John D. MacDonald (Fawcett 1985)(Fiction-Mystery). This is the last Travis McGee novel that John D. wrote before he passed away. There's a huge surprise inside! Travis looks for a friend's stolen yacht and finds the boat with three South American bodies inside and evidence of drug smuggling. One of the South American victim's families was drug connected, and the family comes after Travis to make things square. Travis must find the real killer to get h ...more
Mar 19, 2016 Corey rated it liked it
3 1/2 stars. He was really good at what he did.
Pete Hoetjes
Jan 14, 2016 Pete Hoetjes rated it it was amazing
The last Travis McGee novel I read was number six in the series. This time, I was compelled to skip ahead. So far ahead in fact, to number twenty-one, the final novel MacDonald wrote before his death in 1983. This and, I'm assuming other late entries into the series, was just slightly different than the stories I have read from the mid to late 1960's. MacDonald's smooth as butter writing is still present, and no one can string together words quite like him. But he is somewhat subdued now. I foun ...more
Aug 22, 2015 Toni rated it it was amazing
Travis McGee is hired by a self-made millionaire to find his boat which was stolen from under him while he was on his honeymoon. The boat is found, with the bodies of the thieves on board and Travis is again plunged into murder, Shortly afterward, the millionaire is killed and attempts are made on Travis' life. One of the victims was the niece of a Peruvian drug kingpin and her uncle wants revenge. Travis puts the word out that he and his late friend weren't involved in the deaths and is assured ...more
Jun 20, 2014 Megargee rated it really liked it
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
Jul 06, 2015 wally rated it really liked it
Shelves: macdonald
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
May 05, 2013 Harold rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 09, 2011 Nancy Moore rated it really liked it
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!
Dec 08, 2014 Aguess rated it really liked it
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
Aug 11, 2014 Chuck Fannin rated it it was amazing
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.

Mar 24, 2008 Joseph rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
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.
Jul 16, 2014 Bubba rated it really liked it
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 really liked it
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...
Jun 14, 2016 Brian rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this. This is the second Travis McGee I've read by MacDonald; the first being The Deep Blue Good-by (another one that the title doesn't have much to do with the story). I had a little trouble with the plot at times. It got a little convoluted but, it straightened out later. I like MacDonald's style; it's smooth and flows well. I liked the character developments. The variety of characters kept the story twisting and interesting with out me questioning, "Why was that person in the ...more
Nancy Vala
Apr 06, 2014 Nancy Vala rated it really liked it
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
Apr 17, 2014 DR rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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  • Find a Victim
  • A Ticket to the Boneyard (Matthew Scudder, #8)
  • Deadly Edge (Parker, #13)
  • Dancing Bear
  • Recoil
  • Murderers' Row (Matt Helm, #5)
  • Taming A Sea-Horse (Spenser, #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)
  • 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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“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.” 16 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.” 5 likes
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