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One Fearful Yellow Eye (A Travis McGee Novel) Mass Market Paperback – February 26, 1996

4.2 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews
Book 8 of 21 in the Travis McGee Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Travis McGee goes to Chicago? In December? It seems so wrong, but what can the beach bum do, in this eighth in the series, when one of his former wounded doves calls asking for help. The dove in question, Gloria Geis, whom Trav found homeless and starving on a Lauderdale beach, nursed back to health with a cruise on The Busted Flush, and eventually married off to a Chicago doctor, has a problem: before her husband died, he secretly converted his assets to cash, all of which is now missing. A perfect assignment for a salvage consultant who recovers missing stuff and keeps half the take. It’s a tricky one, though, involving feuding in-laws (including an ice princess who will eventually require her own cruise aboard The Flush), several layers of bad guys, and a melancholy realization by McGee that he may have let a good one get away. All standard McGee fare, competently put forth, and thoroughly entertaining, as always, though this time, MacDonald allows his hero a little too much time atop his soapbox, discoursing on, among other things, Chicago’s failures as a restaurant town (“strictly hinterland, strictly hick”), the despoiled environment, abstract expressionism, the “race problem,” etc. Typically, these rants from the determined contrarian and anticonformist McGee provide enjoyable interludes, and it’s remarkable how often, at a distance of 40 to 50 years, the opinions proffered seem right on the money. This time, however, Trav is wrong more often than not: Chicago, of course, has become a world-class restaurant town, and Lake Michigan didn’t suffer the fate of Lake Erie. It’s odd, too, how, despite MacDonald’s cranky but thoroughly liberal attitudes on social issues, his views often sound vaguely offensive by contemporary standards. His protofeminist slant, for example, can drift quickly into condescension, as can his views on the “Negro question.” Still, neither MacDonald nor McGee should be faulted out of context. Let’s leave it at this: poor Trav was a little off his game in Chicago, soured by the cold. --Bill Ott


Praise for John D. MacDonald and the Travis McGee novels
The great entertainer of our age, and a mesmerizing storyteller.”—Stephen King
“My favorite novelist of all time . . . All I ever wanted was to touch readers as powerfully as John D. MacDonald touched me. No price could be placed on the enormous pleasure that his books have given me. He captured the mood and the spirit of his times more accurately, more hauntingly, than any ‘literature’ writer—yet managed always to tell a thunderingly good, intensely suspenseful tale.”—Dean Koontz
“To diggers a thousand years from now, the works of John D. MacDonald would be a treasure on the order of the tomb of Tutankhamen.”—Kurt Vonnegut
“A master storyteller, a masterful suspense writer . . . John D. MacDonald is a shining example for all of us in the field. Talk about the best.”—Mary Higgins Clark
“A dominant influence on writers crafting the continuing series character . . . I envy the generation of readers just discovering Travis McGee, and count myself among the many readers savoring his adventures again.”—Sue Grafton
“One of the great sagas in American fiction.”—Robert B. Parker
“Most readers loved MacDonald’s work because he told a rip-roaring yarn. I loved it because he was the first modern writer to nail Florida dead-center, to capture all its languid sleaze, racy sense of promise, and breath-grabbing beauty.”—Carl Hiaasen
“The consummate pro, a master storyteller and witty observer . . . John D. MacDonald created a staggering quantity of wonderful books, each rich with characterization, suspense, and an almost intoxicating sense of place. The Travis McGee novels are among the finest works of fiction ever penned by an American author and they retain a remarkable sense of freshness.”—Jonathan Kellerman
“What a joy that these timeless and treasured novels are available again.”—Ed McBain
“Travis McGee is the last of the great knights-errant: honorable, sensual, skillful, and tough. I can’t think of anyone who has replaced him. I can’t think of anyone who would dare.”—Donald Westlake
“There’s only one thing as good as reading a John D. MacDonald novel: reading it again. A writer way ahead of his time, his Travis McGee books are as entertaining, insightful, and suspenseful today as the moment I first read them. He is the all-time master of the American mystery novel.”—John Saul

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett Crest; Later Printing edition (October 26, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449224589
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449224588
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #976,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Travis McGee, sometimes modern Robin Hood and most-times beach bum, can't resist a pretty face or an old friend. So when an old flame calls and needs some help, McGee quickly leaves balmy Ft. Lauderdale for the colder climes of Chicago in John D. MacDonald's One Fearful Yellow Eye.

Glory Geis is the widow of renowned neurosurgeon, Fortner Geis. When Geis dies after a long illness, Glory discovers that his $600,000 inheritance (much bigger money in the 1960's) has gone missing. It turns out that Dr. Geis liquidated all his assets over the course of the last year of his life. Glory is left without very much money and her stepchildren accuse her of foul play. So Glory begs McGee to find out what happened to the inheritance. Of course, Travis discovers that the good doctor has more than a few skeletons in his closet, and there are a number of suspects.

The plot in this 8th book is a little thin, and I figured out fairly early who the blackmailer was. But I still gave One Fearful Yellow Eye four stars as the writing is sharp and crisp and as good as any previous McGee. Two favorites include:

"Take her home. Boat her, beach her, bake her, brown her, and bunk her. You too are a sucker for busted birds, starving kittens, broody broads."


"There was no color in the world. Gray sand, gray water, gray beach, gray sky. I was trapped in one of those arty salon photographs of nature in the raw, the kind retired colonels enter in photography contests."

In terms of philosophizing, this book is MacDonald at his best. Also, while I tend to like McGee better in his native Florida, Chicago is rather a good setting for him.

This is my 8th Travis McGee and I'm a long way from being tired of him. I'm anxious to start number nine-Pale Gray for Guilt.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Travis McGee leaves Florida to help a friend in wintry Chicago in this brisk, economic adventure that's no shorter than the other installments but still feels more compact.
The classic MacDonald asides are all here: McGee offers up commentaries on Christmas, modeling, art, homosexuality, toilet paper and sex, among other things.
And there are some really good scenes -- Trav's extremely unsettling visit to the Farley farm, an ominous encounter in a windstorm, a creepy moment in which mysterious figures get the better of McGee (though MacDonald fumbles this by underplaying it afterward), and one seriously wacked-out climax in a retirement community.
This isn't great McGee -- it just doesn't have the complexity, level of menace or vivid characters of yarns like "Bright Orange," "Amber," "Pink" or "Lavender." But if you're looking for a quick MacDonald snack, "Yellow" is where it's at.
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Format: Paperback
I was away from home and I ran out of reading material. The one bookstore close by sold only schlocky used books. So for the plane trip home I decided to revisit John D. MacDonald with ONE FEARFUL YELLOW EYE, a title I don't believe I read thirty-five years ago when John D. was a preferred mindless diversion.

In ONE FEARFUL YELLOW EYE, knight errant Travis McGee goes to frigid Chicago in dead winter in response to the cry for help from Glory, a woman he once rescued from a suicidal depression (sex, of course, being part of the therapy). Shortly afterwards, she had married a famous neurosurgeon. When the doc died, Glory discovered that his estate of $600,000 had somehow vanished -- a job made to order for salvager extraordinaire Travis McGee. As he goes about unraveling the mystery, he turns down three opportunities to boff attractive females, including the recently widowed Glory. But then there is Heidi, the doc's daughter, who is buff and gorgeous but even more frigid than the weather - the result of a childhood psychological trauma of which she was wholly unaware but which McGee ferrets out. Ever the gallant one, McGee decides to cure Heidi of her frigidity, with him of course doing the honors. Oh, yes, he also figures out where the money went and recovers most of it.

The writing is better than in most works of the genre. The plot, however, is strained well beyond plausibility. (The Israeli assassins who end up saving McGee's life more or less in passing constitute the proverbial straw that broke that camel's back.) Moreover, in ONE FEARFUL YELLOW EYE MacDonald, through McGee, plumbs the psyches of virtually everyone. It is far more psychological than I recall other MacDonald/McGee novels being. That may be why, in addition to finding the virile yet sensitive male shtick irredeemably lame and hackneyed, I cannot muster more than two Amazon stars. Still, it sustained me until I returned home to much better fare.
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By A Customer on March 20, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I really enjoy the Travis McGee series and especially like this book. Much as I enjoy reading about his exploits in Florida, the change of scene to Chicago is an interesting change of pace. Perhaps more than average number of twists and turns in this plot, and a little more "cringe factor" from the violence than some of the other McGee books.
As the title of my review indicates, I really like this series as a whole. They're among the books I go back to again and again when I'm restless and want something fun to read. I always learn something, whether it be about how to maintain a houseboat or how to kick someone's hide in a fight. :-)And I have some laughs doing it.
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