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The Quick Red Fox

(Travis McGee #4)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  4,063 ratings  ·  234 reviews
Quick Red Fox (Travis McGee, No. 4)
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 27th 1995 by Fawcett (first published 1964)
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Greg Azeem, given that, imo, "The Quick Red Fox" is MacDonald's worst work, MacDonald (through McGee) has no right in any sense of the word to criticize…moreAzeem, given that, imo, "The Quick Red Fox" is MacDonald's worst work, MacDonald (through McGee) has no right in any sense of the word to criticize other writers. And I don't think McGee would have ANY opinion on Uris, Wouk, or Rand. McGee doesn't bother to read, but if he does, it's the newspaper, blackmail letters, and such. So, I disagree completely because McGee himself would not ever have read these authors anyway. It's just MacDonald showing a bit of jealousy.(less)

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May 31, 2016 rated it liked it
John MacDonald’s 1964 contribution to the post-modern mythic Florida legend that is Travis McGee (the fourth in the series) is more of tough guy with a mind McGee taking care of business and doing a “favor for friend”.

This episode finds our salvage consultant hero covering the backside of a Hollywood vixen with some indiscretions and some film. Sex, Lies and Videotape in 1964 does come across as somewhat dated in our Reality TV Blurred Lines morality, but as in most of these novels, the real
Mar 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I missed the fox in this. I really thought Travis McGee would either be helping out or partnering with an actual fox. Or maybe just hanging out on his houseboat with one. You know sort of a Disney-esque entry into the series.

There is very little Disney-esque in this book.
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars, a delightful and complex noir.

Wow, this is fabulous. A time-machine back to 1964, not just physically but mentally and spiritually. MacDonald truly is a philosopher here, and a good one. The prose and pacing are superb.

One thing that's clear: MacDonald loves women. A lot, in all of the right ways, and respects them. Kind of like me (only McGee is better written). So I very much enjoy the relationships he has, and the bit of reserved chivalry I feel too. Wonderful.

The mystery is
Jul 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
This is a pretty good book, not truly outstanding but enjoyable. My first in this series and probably by this author.

Travis makes an interesting and complicated hero. He could be more developed, but I am generally okay with him. He is smart and most of the time he didn’t annoy me. At the same time, I think that Dana's character is not entirely successful. Something is missing. Some consistency of personality. Consequence in actions. This inconsistency seemed strange to me most of the time. There
Oct 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2015, american, crime
"The world is shiny and the surface is a little too frangible. Something can reach out of the black and grab you at any moment. Everybody wears a different set of compulsions. You can be maimed without warning, in body or in spirit, by a very nice guy. It is the luck of your draw. I did not feel like a nice guy."
- John D. MacDonald, The Quick Red Fox


A solid, early addition to the Travis McGee series. All the cynical, hard John D. MacDonald prose I could ask for. Part of what I love about
Feb 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, fiction
A friend loaned me a paperback he had found at the library annual sale. It was published in 1964. The title is “The Quick Red Fox” by John D. MacDonald. I have not read a MacDonald book in years, so I sat down and devoured it.

MacDonald (1916-1986) was a prolific writer of novels and short stories. He wrote crime and suspense novels many set in Florida. This book is a Travis McGee novel one of his more popular series characters. MacDonald was named a grandmaster of the Mystery Writers of America
Anthony Vacca
Ah, the 1960's--back when a man could fend off a pack of "butch" lesbians with whacks to the ass from a golden putter.
Cathy DuPont
Nov 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
My "go-to" place for everything Travis McGee is D.R. Martin's blog Me and Travis McGee.

When I discovered D.R.'s site, I had read the entire 21 book series twice so I wasn't (and didn't) worry about spoilers. But going through some of D.R.'s entries (a synopsis of each book) and related comments, I noticed that readers had a 'takeaway' from the books that I had never thought of and in all sincerity, rather shocked and frankly annoyed me.

There were some comments about Travis being a misogynist
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have mixed feelings about John D. MacDonald. First, there is his prose. I don't as a habit underline passages in books. I often admire the words but I move on, to absorbed in the story to slow down. Sometimes with MacDonald though, I reread the passage, maybe even twice, then I think about highlighting the passage and then finally I move on. Later I might regret not having preserved a particular passage or two with a highlighter. I tip my hat. The man could write.

The mixed part begins and ends
Carla Remy
Feb 11, 2013 rated it liked it
I liked this the least of the Travis McGee books so far (it's # 4). The mystery started intriguingly but ended convolutedly. it seemed slapped together. But how many books did the man write in 1964? I can forgive.
Maggie K
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series-challenge
So far, Ive been quite taken with this series....McGee is a man who comes off as simple, but is anything but...and when he goes to the deep place you dive right in with him!
After the last 2 books, I was starting to see a little bit of a formula, and was concerned that as a series, McGee was going flat. But this installment was actually different and darker. Sordid is probably the best word.
Here, McGee reluctantly takes a job from a beautiful movie star to track down her blackmailer. Except he
I finished The Quick Red Fox this morning during a quiet period at work.. shhhhhh, don't tell anyone.. ;0) I think this one was a bit grimmer in subject matter than the others, even though so far they are all have a bit of an edge to them. I do like McGee's character, he's thoughtful, cynical, old-fashioned, treats women with respect and tough. It's a series I will continue. I'm glad that I was introduced finally to such an excellent series.
Feb 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m, 2013
From a beloved master of crime fiction, The Quick Red Fox is one of many classic novels featuring Travis McGee, the hard-boiled detective who lives on a houseboat.

She’s the opposite of a damsel in distress: a famous movie star, very beautiful, very much in control of her life. She’s just made one little mistake and now she needs Travis McGee to set it right. The money is good and Travis’s funds are in need of replenishing. But that’s not the only reason he takes the case.
Jul 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
This book written in the sixties has scattered nuggets of McGee's (or MacDonald's) philosophy. Trav says ' I get the feeling that this is the last time in history when the offbeats like me will have a chance to live free in the nooks and crannies of the huge and rigid structure of an increasingly codified society. Fifty years from now I would be hunted down in the street.'

Well fifty years have passed and I think McGee would be safe in the street, but he was right on the money about a codified
Apr 24, 2008 rated it it was ok
What I learned? Never turn your back on a homicidal nymphomaniacal 18-year-old from Iceland, especially if she's carrying a handbag with a murderously heavy stone rabbit inside.
Benoit Lelièvre
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this one more than I actually did.

It's far from bad and John D. MacDonald really nails his characters and Travis McGee's evolving relationship to his loneliness and to women, but the investigation takes forever to pan out and there's not that second gear the first couple books that that shift perception in the second half. Great era piece in many, many way, just not that great a mystery.
Koen Kop
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
Way too much pillow talk. Highly unlikely denouement. Mmm ...
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another truly excellent Travis McGee saga. McGee is Ma knight in tarnished armor who champions lost causes. If something has been taken and there is for a variety of reasons no legal recourse, he will if he feels like it attempt a rescue for a fifty percent share. Otherwise, he camps out on a 52 foot houseboat,The Busted Flush, in the Bahia marina where there is an endless party always going on.
This caper involves a fabulous Hollywood star and some risqué photographs. A touch of blackmail and
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
This time McGee refers to himself as 'the authentic man' and generally made me sad that he was a proud homophobic sexist pig. Since it was written in 1964, I expect this kind of bs and make allowances because these are good mysteries and the writing is great. I could have managed to look past the usual comments on the drudgery of the average schmuck's life in the suburbs (and his vastly superior life as an off-the-books opportunist and authentic man), if there was a good book to read, but not ...more
Jeff Yoak
This is Travis McGee as I remember him. In starting this series over again, I thought it wasn't going to appeal to me. It turns out it just took a few novels for MacDonald to hit his stride.

The plot of the Quick Red Fox, like all the McGee novels is almost silly melodrama. The thing that makes these novels so captivating is the sense of time and place that MacDonald creates. I love the typical poetic musing. I love the characters... not just McGee, though he is wonderful. In this one, he creates
May 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: macdonald
26 may 15...#40 from macdonald for me, the 7th travis mcgee story. just finished Bright Orange For The Shroud. onward & upward

28 may 15
finished. good story...not great, good. why? maybe because there are a number of deaths, some related to the larger scheme of wrong, some not related, and in the end the antagonist makes a short sweet appearance, people get slapped with a rock rabbit, and the other dames in the story seem to follow suit. cue fleetwood mac. go your own way...lalalalala. some
Daniel Sevitt
My first Travis McGee in a few years. They haven't aged nearly as well as other contemporaneous stuff. Trav is a big lunk, and this was a bit of a plod. It reminded me most of the worst aspects of Fleming's Bond books, but at least there the dubious sexual politics was handled with a little more panache.
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Makes you feel slimy and uncomfortable. It is a book, however.
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-books-read
In Travis McGee's world, sometimes he gets the girl, and sometimes he gets the goods. His process works well, and sometimes he gets the girl and the goods. No process is fool-proof, and even McGee gets fooled, and he gets neither. McGee has met his match here with the actress being blackmailed.
Dec 08, 2014 rated it liked it
The old meme of there being two types of people in the world holds true with John D. MacDonald as well--there are those who have already made up their mind about Travis McGee and those who haven't been introduced yet. I wouldn't try to convince anyone who has already decided they dislike MacDonald's viewpoint that they should give it another try--the last McGee novel I read was probably twenty years ago, and I'm left with many of the same impressions of MacDonald's writing now as I was then. ...more
Benjamin Thomas
The 4th novel in the 21-book Travis McGee series finds our self-professed lazy sleuth at the point of needing some dough once again so he welcomes a visit to his houseboat, “The Busted Flush” by one Dana Holtzer who has been sent by a potential client to engage his services. The client, as it turns out is a sexy and famous movie star named Lysa Dean who has been paying blackmail to prevent the release of raunchy photographs taken at the scene of a multi-day orgy. While she thought she had ...more
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fine Travis McGee tale, centering on helping a Hollywood actress who has displayed more than she likes and has been blackmailed.
Our protagonist is part shining knight and part scoundrel, with the wits of a sleuth and con man.
May 25, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Travis McGee fans
My second Travis McGee book. The first one was The Dreadful Lemon Sky. This one wasn't that bad, but not as good as Lemon Sky. McGee is hired to track down a blackmailer by a Hollywood actress who participated in a four day orgy. There was no Meyer in this book and he was missed. Instead McGee is given the personal assistant to the actress to help him in his investigation. Of course they fall for each other. It's a little different in that their relationship is rather domestic and Dana (the ...more
Jay Fusco
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Once again I realize how good of a writer John D. MacDonald was. There is a reason why Travis McGee is so familiar to readers of mysteries and thrillers. MacDonald's stories are tight, well written, extremely interesting and intriguing, action packed. Even though the book was written in the early 1960's, it is still a great read. The only thing that annoys me, and it is miniscule, is that MacDonald has his characters calling each other "dear" after they know each other for about 5 minutes. ...more
Terri Weitze
May 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
I started reading John D. MacDonald books because he is the type of author that other authors I like refer to in their books. And up til now, I have really enjoyed reading his books. But HOLY CRAP - I had no idea what a homophobe this guy is. I ran right into a scene about lesbians that was so full of hate and vitriol that I just can't get past it. Sorry, Mr. MacDonald. I'm done.
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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. ...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)
  • 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)
  • Dress Her in Indigo (Travis McGee #11)
“This was not some pretty little girl, coyly flirtatious, delicately stimulated. This was the mature female of the species, vivid, handsome and strong demanding that all the life within her be matched. Her instinct would detect any hedging, any dishonesty, any less than complete response to her - and then she would be gone for good.” 10 likes
“By noon, in a gray February world, we had come down through snow flurries to land at Albany, and had taken off again. When the snow ended the sky was a luminous gray. I looked down at the winter calligraphy of upstate New York, white fields marked off by the black woodlots, an etching without color, superbly restful in contrast to the smoky, guttering, grinding stink of the airplane clattering across the sky like an old commuter bus.” 7 likes
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