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A Deadly Shade of Gold (Travis McGee Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – February 20, 1996

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett (February 20, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449224422
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449224427
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #839,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

MacDonald, whose 21 Travis McGee novels represent arguably the best U.S. mystery series of the past 50 years, died in 1986, leaving behind a legion of fans. Sadly, Travis McGee seems lost amid today's hip, violent, and politically correct private eyes and series detectives, so much so that most of today's younger mystery readers may never experience this National Book Award-winning series. Yet audio producers seem committed to keeping the series alive for a new generation of readers and audiobook fans, as this example proves. Bright Orange for the Shroud tells of a dangerous confidence scheme that traps one of McGee's friends. Soon, McGee infiltrates the group and takes on its sexy operative, with explosive results. In A Deadly Shade of Gold, McGee comes into possession of an evil-looking, solid gold Aztec icon that leads to a perilous fortune. Reader Darren McGavin, who narrates the entire series for Random Audio, employs a world-weary, laid-back voice that is perfect for the enigmatic McGee. Recommended wherever good mysteries circulate. Random Audio offers the entire Travis McGee line in abridged format; libraries seeking unabridged versions should look to Books on TapeR.?Mark Annichiarico, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

From Booklist

It tends to be later in the Travis McGee series when the tales turn significantly darker (say, after The Tan and Sandy Silence), but this early installment, number five, displays a strong hint of what is to come. It starts, as so many of the 21 novels do, with the appearance, on the deck of McGee’s houseboat, The Busted Flush, of a friend in trouble. This time it’s Sam Taggart, a fellow adventurer committed to living by his wits; unfortunately, Sam’s wits aren’t quite as quick as Travis’, and he has landed in a serious jam south of the border. But if he can just peddle the Aztec idol he has lifted from serious bad guys, Sam should be able to start a new life in Ft. Lauderdale with Nora, the girl he foolishly dumped before leaving for Mexico. There are no new lives to be had. McGee and Nora find Sam dead on the floor of a sleazy motel, his throat professionally slashed from ear to ear. The two of them set off for Mexico to extract several pounds of flesh and, hopefully, salvage the profit that would have been Sam’s from the sale of the idol. So far, so good. We’re on familiar McGee ground here: the salvage operation is afoot; the wounded dove, Nora, is ensconced on a beach in Mexico, prime for some psychic and sexual healing, which Trav delivers with his usual aplomb. And, of course, MacDonald has ample opportunity to rail against the absurdities of American tourists on display in Mexico. But then the wind changes. The bad guys are hard to find, being both too numerous and too ambiguous; the wrong bodies start to pile up; and Travis begins to feel the most unlikely of emotions: intimations of vulnerability. And, finally, a very curious thing happens: our beach-bum hero transforms into the novel’s real wounded dove, a teeth-chattering, head-hanging wreck of a man, in desperate need of rejuvenation. The Aztec idol plot gets a little messy, requiring too much explication to sort out who did what and stole what and from whom, but for committed series readers, this novel offers the first good look at just how shrewd MacDonald can be. Through four books, he has eased his readers into letting the comforts of formula fiction roll over us like a gentle wave: we’re grown accustomed to the rhythms of watching McGee work and play; we’ve chuckled at MacDonald’s sociopolitical commentary; and, best of all, we’ve found little bits of our fantasy selves in Travis’ nonconformity and his unshakable savviness. Now, suddenly, the wave is no longer gentle, and we’re tossed onto the rocks of ugly reality. We bounce free, of course, just as McGee’s teeth eventually stop chattering, but the warning MacDonald has issued is clear: get comfortable, that’s what formula fiction is for, but don’t take comfort for granted. --Bill Ott

Customer Reviews

The books are dated in the sense that they use language and mannerisms common to the time.
David J. Gannon
If you are a serious literature reader and tend not to delve into mysteries and detective procedurals then this is the author to read should you be seeking a change.
adam bronson
I first discovered John Macdonald when I was in my teens and fell in love with all the Travis McGee books.
T. Scott

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Homunculus on October 23, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's curious to read some of the other opinions written about this incredible yarn. Obviously most other reviewers enjoy MacDonald and the McGee series. But the concerns posited by others represent some of the nuance and fabric of MacDonald's genius which yield his works of fiction, and the McGee series in particular, for what they are: GREAT LITERATURE. I believe MacDonald is the best novelist of the twentieth century.

The Deep Blue Goodbye, the first of the series, is typical of the first efforts of genius. The next books leading up to Gold are shorter stories with less convoluted, though quite satisfying story lines. Gold is my favorite (along with The Green Ripper for totally different reasons) because of its detailed and deeply diverse story line.

As in the entire McGee series Trav is narrating the adventure from his first person perspective with wit, self-certain insight and all-knowing and sometimes humble introspection. Yet overlaying his views is his basic flaw; the 60's existential man's man. Travis believes in himself, his abilities and the basic correctness of his philosophy for living. He lives and dies by them and they serve him well personally, though the dying always rubs off on those around him.

In one book he states he is 'wary of all earnestness'. That is a theme of his early and mid years. Later in the series he becomes more open to examinng his shortcomings, his mortality and wonders about his own self-serving motives in a way that suggests change is ultimately on the way, if he lives that long. His buddy Meyer is instrumental in moving Trav toward a more realistic and longer view of living and reality. The story of Travis ends aptly in the Lonely Silver Rain with real change unavoidable and much life still looming ahead.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By sweetmolly on April 11, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"A Deadly Shade of Gold," the 5th in the Travis McGee series is bawdy and brutal; a bloody chase novel taking McGee from Florida to Mexico to LA. MacDonald has a wondrous sense of place and you can feel the sensuous breezes and see the spectacular sunsets he creates for you. There are a few creaky spots: Nora, Travis's love interest, is so `50's lady-like, you expect her to be white gloved and hatted even in the shower; -- all characters are super sun worshippers while the reader uneasily thinks about skin cancer. Be that as it may, it's a fine rousing tale with careful characterizations and Travis's philosophies served up painlessly.
Old buddy Sam Taggart, a three-year missing person, contacts Travis in dire need of his services as a salvage consultant. The deal sounds shady at best as Sam claims he is the rightful owner of 28 crude golden idols dating from pre-Colombian times. The hitch is 27 of the 28 have been stolen from him, and he wants them back. Sam is down on his luck and appears to be on the run. When he took off three years ago without a word, he left the beauteous Nora high and dry. Now he is back to redeem himself. Before Trav can get Sam and Nora together, or even decide whether he wants to accept Sam's offer, Sam is brutally murdered. Nora hires Trav to find the killer, but insists on accompanying him (natch) when the trail leads to Mexico. The action is fierce, retribution is swift and oh-so-well-described, and Trav and Nora find something more in common than Sam.
"A Deadly Shade of Gold" at 434 pages is long for a Travis McGee novel, but moves swiftly. MacDonald takes great care in setting up his locales, which makes for lovely reading. Though Sam exits early, he is with us throughout the book, and gradually an entirely different Sam emerges posthumously.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By David J. Gannon on March 23, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
McDonald was a master & McGee was his masterpiece.
I was cleaning out some bookshelves not long ago and came across this book. It's been years since I'd read a Travis McGee novel so I decided to reread this one. That proved to be one of the best decisions I've made so far this year reading-wise.
Back in the 1960's John D. MacDonald wrote 21 Travis McGee books (along with a large number of stand alone books as well). They were among the most successful thriller/suspense books of the times and remain, in my opinion, one of the very best thriller suspense series of all time.
MacDonald utilized a very Hemingway-esque writing style-terse, to the point, very abrasive and macho. His characters were first rate across the board, whether they be a series regular or a bit player. Even inanimate objects came to e serious characters, as in Travis' car and houseboat. Also the series is easily distinguishable as all McGee novels titles use the name of a color in the title.
The books are dated in the sense that they use language and mannerisms common to the time. This is an observation, not a criticism. They are authentic to their time in every way and therefore are, essentially, timeless.
A Deadly Shade of Gold is a pretty standard McGee thriller. The story involves McGee's dual purpose of finding and avenging the killer's of an old friend who suddenly reappears in South Florida asking McGee for help while trying to recover a hoard of pre-Columbian gold figurines his friend says were stolen from him. The action moves from Florida to Mexico to LA and involves the usual MacDonald elements-exotic locales, unique, dangerous characters, unleavened greed, lots of action, romance and lots of explicit violence.
If you're tired of the run-of-the-mill, politically correct factory produced mysteries that seem to proliferate these days and want an authentic suspense/thriller experience, give Travis McGee a try-you won't be disappointed.
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