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A Tan and Sandy Silence

(Travis McGee #13)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  2,994 ratings  ·  113 reviews
Being accused at gunpoint of hiding another man's wife is a rude shock. But it's an even bigger shock when Travis McGee discovers that the woman in question is Mary Broll, a dear old friend. Now she's disappeared, vanished without a word to anyone.
Paperback, 308 pages
Published March 9th 1996 by Fawcett Books (first published January 1st 1971)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  2,994 ratings  ·  113 reviews

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Joe Valdez
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-suspense
Spring is finally here and it's time to work on my tan. John D. MacDonald published twenty-one Travis McGee mysteries (between 1964 and 1984) narrated by his weary "salvage consultant" who often agrees to locate missing persons or items, 52-foot houseboat the Busted Flush docked in Fort Lauderdale serving as McGee's office. MacDonald was one of the earliest authors to use themed titles for their series and his brilliant use of color not only offered a visual motif to help readers distinguish eac ...more
James Thane
Had I rated this book when I first read it twenty-five or thirty years ago, I no doubt would have given it a solid four stars plus. I loved this series when I first discovered it and couldn't devour the books fast enough. But the times have changed, and so have I, no doubt, and these novels no longer appeal to me nearly as much as they once did.

The story at the core of the book is fine. As it opens, Travis McGee is in something of an emotional slump and fears that he may be losing a step or two
When rereading one of these Travis McGee novel, I have to weigh the parts I like against the terrible sexism inherent to the books. Usually this balances out fairly evenly, but this time the old Sea Cock* dropped the equivalent of a cartoon anvil on the wrong side of the scales.

*(Sea Cock McGee is the fabulous nickname Amanda coined in her great review of Darker Than Amber.)

This one had a lot of promise starting out. McGee is having a personal crisis after a misjudgment nearly gets him killed, a
Mar 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, american, 2015, fiction
"We're all children. We invent the adult facade and don it and try to keep the buttons and the medals polished. We're all trying to give such a good imitation of being an adult that the real adults in the world won't catch on." - John D. MacDonald, A Tan and Sandy Silence


John D. MacDonald's pulp novels are a perfect beach read. They are unassuming, consistently over-deliver, produce better one-liners than a George Carlin set AND seem to have captured perfectly a very American, libertarian ethos
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars
Not the best of the McGee series. Somewhat uneven pacing and plot.

As usual with my reviews, please first read the publisher’s blurb/summary of the book. Thank you.

Not keen on the first 12% of the book: Clichéd angry husband with a gun wrongly coming after McGee and then high pressure attempts to domestic/marry McGee by a rich girlfriend, almost nagging and whining. (view spoiler)

30% MacDonald is now 7 years into T
A Tan And Sandy Silence

A Tan and Sandy Silence is the 13th book in the Travis McGee series and it too features beach bum McGee, retired economist Meyers, and the Busted Flush. McGee is never quits on his game in this novel and knows it from letting a jealous husband with a gun on board the Busted Flush to letting a psychopath get two steps ahead of him in the Caribbean. But, McGee knows his head’s not quite right, that his reflexes have slowed, and he’s scared that he can’t pull it all together
Well this one wasn't as impressive. It's actually a rather ugly and sordid story thanks to the middle part when McGee tracks down a suspect hiding out on the island nation of Grenada. Though it did have some good points.

It's my third Travis McGee novel and it's definitely a product of it's time - late sixties/early seventies. As has been pointed out by another reviewer this novel smacks of the Macho Man mentality that was very popular at the time.I have encountered a few men who are big believe
Victoria Mixon
Oct 14, 2010 rated it it was ok
Huh. I guess MacDonald was getting pretty sick of Travis McGee.

As much as I like MacDonald's careful plotting and meticulous writing, I'm not recommending this one. It smacks far too much of the hysterical shock-value bullshit of 1970s he-man culture.

How does MacDonald fail to see the parallel between his psycho serial killer torturing victims to get information out of them and McGee spending a lackadaisical afternoon repeatedly choking a young woman to the point of black-out to get information
Mar 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
The 13th in the Travis McGee series is a solid entry into the canon, with yet another "salvage" case for problem-solver McGee(this one's not money) and a memorable sociopathic baddie Ian Fleming would have loved. I'd rate this an above-average McGee, with a few new twists: travels around Caribbean islands; lots of Meyer; and Trav struggling with his life philosophy in the face of a novel proposition for "retirement." Someone once noted that the book titles always allude to the way the lead femal ...more
Tom Vater
May 15, 2012 rated it really liked it

I’ve had a sad and happy week. I just finished reading John D. MacDonald‘s A Tan And Sandy Silence, one of the celebrated crime writer’s 21 stories featuring charismatic, extremely likeable boat bum, amateur philosop
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
My Grade = 85% - B

First Published 1971. 306 pages.

This is at least the third time I have read this one.....

In the early Autumn of 1982 I took a travel sabbatical from teaching high school English. I gave up my apartment, put my furniture and stuff in storage, packed the car, especially with books, and took off to drive around the country visiting, among other things, The Alamo and the Fountain of Youth.

Ironically, at some point that fall, I found myself in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with two Travi
Henri Moreaux
I found myself feeling a little disappointed in the direction the character took in this book. Initially it seemed good, a bit of personal reflection, questioning of self motivation and life direction then a little later in the novel Travis is repeatedly choking a woman to get information out of her.
It sort of takes the evilness away from the character whose torturing and killing people too when the main good character is happy to choke people for information and threaten them.

Just found this o
Jan 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, owned
Not the best entry in the McGee series imo... Less humor & more gritty than those I like better. ...more
Text Addict
Ay ay ay, some serious nightmare fodder in this one.
Mar 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Nice quote that fixes this novel in 1971: Trav is lightly undercover: "A guard moved in from the side and asked if he could help me. I said I was meeting the little woman here because she had to cash a travellers check, probably to buy some more of those damn silly hotpants, and where would she go to cash a travellers check."
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thirteen books into the series, and old Travis McGee seems to be slowing down. This story is filled with Trav doubting his abilities, reflexes and motivations. Like the earlier books, there is plenty of philosophizing, jabs at the human condition and modern life, but in this one there seems to be a more existential focus, with a middle portion that really has McGee struggling with all. And he comes closer to dying in this one than in the other previous books, as I recall.

All of this ruminating
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
John MacDonald's Travis McGee is not a good man. He is certainly not a man you would want your son to emulate. But, like Joab in the story of David, he is loyal to his friends and sometimes necessary in difficult times. MacDonald put a different color in each title so the reader could remember if he had read the story before. The stories are formulaic: McGee is lounging around his houseboat when a friend or a friend of a friend comes by needing help. McGee gets into the mix. There are dead bodie ...more
MisterLiberry Head
Travis McGee, our “tinhorn Gawain,” is changing. He hasn’t been a smoker (not even of manly pipes) for half-a-dozen books now, although no mention is ever made of Trav quitting. Since THE DEEP BLUE GOOD-BY, our hero has been shot several times, cut with a knife and punched silly by an ex-prizefighter. The first queasy stirrings of doubts about his instincts and reflexes that began in THE LONG LAVENDER LOOK have grown to alarm bells. The Lauderdale boat-bum who steals from thieves, often at the r ...more
JoAnna Spring
May 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: travis-mcgee, fiction
It's probably not John MacDonald's fault I didn't finish this book. I tried to read it in little pieces and kept losing the story.

One of Trav's friends is missing and he goes to Mexico to check it out. Lots of money shenanigans and real estate blah blah.

As I have come to expect, however, I love McGee a little more with each book:

"The sun bleaches my hair and burns it and dries it out. And the salt water makes it feel stiff and look like some kind of Dynel [I have no idea what that is....:]. Wer
Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2014, hardboiled
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 01, 2011 added it
Definitely not the best in John MacDonald's Travis McGee series. I was thrilled to see Meyer playing such a large role in the story - I'd missed him! - and was curious to read about Grenada, an island I have not been to yet - but the story as a whole dragged quite a bit, and I nearly fell asleep many nights right in the middle of a chapter, something I almost never do. And some of the language in the book was off-putting, but considering that the book was written nearly 40 years ago, I'm not sur ...more
Harv Griffin
Dec 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, own

This is not one of my favorite Travis McGee novels, although it is competently constructed, and has some good moments. Any McGee will do if I’m bored, and there’s nothing else around to read. This puppy didn’t really grab me until about page 66; even then, I could pull free anytime I wanted. TAN is a serviceable Hunt-For-A-Girl story. Maybe I don’t much like TAN because Trav gets tied up and almost killed twice! @hg47
Aug 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
#13 in the Travis McGee series.

Travis McGee is visited and shot at by Harry Broll, a real estate developer who insists his missing wife would have fled to McGee. Something doesn't ring true and Travis and friend Meyer look for the missing Mary and encounter a web of high finance deception and murder stretching from Lauderdale to Grenada.
Terry Graap
Aug 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Another excellent book in the Travis McGee series by John D MacDonald. McGee investigates an ex lover's disappearance. He doesn't find her but another woman is impersonating her in Grenada. He unveils her murder and a financial scheme.
Oct 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Damn. I had forgotten how good this stuff was.
Jul 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
This is a memorable one, for sure. McGee comes very close to dying here.
Jun 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: macdonald
12 jun 15
#48 from macdonald for me and this is the 14th travis mcgee story. if you only read the travis mcgee stories you are missing out on some fine story-telling. i've read 34 non-travis-mcgee stories and they rock and roll. macdonald rocks the casbah. just finished Dress Her in Indigo onward and upward.

15 jun 15
finished. good story! worth a read. the bad guy in this one gives me the heebie-jeebies, more so when one realizes there are people...too that in the world. they walk amo
Lindsay Boitnott
I am the type of person who takes a book with me everywhere; going grocery shopping, going to work (lunch break!), and of course I have at least one when on vacation. So it was somewhat of a shock when I found myself staying at a friend’s beach condo without something to read. I’m an early riser and I like to spend a quiet morning with a nice cup of coffee and a good book. Thankfully, the best thing about beach condos is there is almost always a shelf of second hand books for guests to peruse. A ...more
Jerry B
Jun 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Having found Travis McGee in “Nightmare in Pink” somewhat lackluster, it may not have been the best idea to immediately read another – this time “Tan”, #13, so mid-series in MacDonald’s 21-book McGee set. Now McGee’s buddy Meyer, who frequently supplies brainpower to the difficulties at hand, is a featured helper; and he comes in handy in analyzing the financial shenanigans of the bad guys in this tale.

Early on, McGee narrowly avoids being shot when a jealous husband, a big-time real estate deve
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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. He served in the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.) in the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations. A ...more

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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