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The Lonely Silver Rain

(Travis McGee #21)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  3,836 ratings  ·  192 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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Average rating 4.21  · 
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Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I was in my early fifties, I DEVOURED the Travis McGee series!

You all know the routine - making the rounds of ALL the downtown and local used bookshops in your mid-life urge for a Great Escape - in search of ONE jewel of a book you haven’t yet read by your lately-discovered New Favourite Writer.

Or maybe you’ve always have had a NUMBER of names up there on your mental back-burner.


But picture this.

Suddenly, There - never mind how dilapidated and ragged its condition might be - The
John Culuris
May 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Black Border for McGee. That’s the title of the famed, lost, almost mythical final Travis McGee novel in which John D. MacDonald kills his hero. I understand the avid interest. For one thing, we don’t want the ride to be over. If we like something, we want more--even if it’s just one more. And then there’s the color. Black, the color most associated with death; it would be easiest of colors to work into a series needing a different color for each title. There must be some reason MacDonald hadn ...more
Jul 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
They say you can’t take it with you, but when author John D. MacDonald died in 1986 it seems like he took Travis McGee to the grave with him despite rumors of a final novel stashed away somewhere.

McGee’s final gig involves him trying to find a very expensive yacht that was stolen from a rich buddy of his, but what seems like a straight forward job of tracking down some small time boat thieves ends up with Travis getting on the wrong side of a bunch of angry South American drug dealers. The attem
"If innocenec could keep us alive, my friend, we'd all be saints."
- John D. MacDonald, The Lonely Silver Rain

"The small things are lasting things."
- John D. MacDonald, The Lonely Silver Rain

This might not be my favorite, but it is the last and I enjoyed it. It made me cry. That isn't a small thing, but perhaps it isn't a big thing either. I typically cry at the end of every one of Charles Dickens' novels. I cry at commercials. I cry at a good story that isn't too sentimental, but that creates te
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Lonely Silver Rain is the final volume in the 21-book Travis McGee series and it matches the extremely high quality level of the rest of the series. Absolutely terrific read.

This volume is not all about McGee riding off into the sunset. It, however, has a slightly different flavor than other McGee books. Here, McGee is not the hunter so much as the hunted and he doesn't exactly find it to be the most comfortable feeling. Someone wants him dead for slightly off kilter reasons having to do wit
Jerry B
Jul 05, 2010 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
May 21, 2016 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
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've officially read all 21 McGee novels. I cannot wait till I read them all again for the second first time.
This was another fine one penned by the great John D.
The thought of this being the last McGee was pulsating in my mind the entirety of the book but I still managed to enjoy it , as always it was a captivating mystery with good ole McGee and the brilliant Meyer (one of my favorite fictional characters in the history of world) running the show..
Sadly , we will never know what the intended
Apr 15, 2013 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
Harv Griffin
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
A ruminative novel in which the suspense element takes a backstage to character. Of course, there is action, quite well done, but it is the hero’s sense of aging that provides the backbone, The ending is surprisingly poignant, too,
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The final episode of McGee is 5 Stars. MacDonald pulled out the stops here. He almost certainly knew this would be the last McGee, and it shows. The ending is poignant and hopeful.

We will surely miss him.

Even only 20% in, and you feel MacDonald rallying all of his gifts and attention to providing a (possible) last McGee. Extraordinary.

The care and prose of this final outing for MacDonald and his McGee is clear. Every word is in perfect order and meaning. The spectre comes closer with each page
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Travis McGee is an aging Florida beach bum. He makes a living by recovering lost or stolen items for clients who either do not want or cannot have police involvement. A businessman has his custom, expensive cruiser stolen. Travis finds it with 3 dead bodies on board. Travis wants nothing to do with it, but finds himself blamed for the deaths by violent and ruthless drug criminals who were using the stolen boat for drug running. He must get involved to save himself. He ends up precipitating a dru ...more
Noah Goats
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a solidly entertaining detective story. I liked it a lot better than the one other McGee novel I’ve read (the first in the series).
Oct 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, owned
3.5 *

A fitting way to end the series.
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Words fail. I'll make a review of the whole series later. Suffice it to say you need to read them in order and there's a big payoff in the evolution of the characters over time. ...more
Dave Hanna
Jul 09, 2012 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
Nov 29, 2011 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
Oct 19, 2007 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
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
Dec 19, 2010 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
Jul 03, 2015 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 last 3
John McCarthy
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I went back in time and found this gem in the used book store. I never knew about the Travis McGee series. Travis lives on his boat in Florida and does some detective work between relaxing to pay the bills. He does a favor for a wealthy friend and finds his stolen yacht with some unwanted things on board. Events spin out of control and Travis discovers that he is the target of a contract hit. He dances around to save his own life and to solve the mystery. He contemplates his decision to live an ...more
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-books-read
Travis McGee always wants out. He is content living on his trawler, moderating his drinking, and consolidating his music on the latest technology, cassette tapes. But some old alliances draws him in, in this case some brutal South Florida drug murders, and he is back to looking over his shoulder while he figures out how to convince the drug cartels he's is the solution, not the problem, to the equation. ...more
Bob Box
Sep 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Read in 1985. The 21st and final novel in the Travis McGee series. The book was published a year prior to the authors death. MacDonald finishes with a crackerjack mystery thriller. One of my favorites that year.
P.S. Winn
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you haven't read a Travis McGee adventure, you are missing out and there are several to choose from. The author knew how to write an intense story and each book is definitely a good read to grab. ...more
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
An excellent McGee mystery. Always fun to read. A good plot with some nice turns.
Aug 01, 2011 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
MacDonald's keen eye for human behavior is fun and educational.
pg 131 As quarry, I was acting much like the persons I had hunted. Aware of pursuit, they do not become more sly. They become careless, random and disheartened. Easier to bring down. They seem to welcome the end of the play, just to find out what is going on. So I was being precisely that kind of horse's ass. Out of control.

pg 155 Communication is a process of interpreting symbols. Words are symbols. In any life we misinterpret more
David Ward
Jan 28, 2010 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
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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. Aft ...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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