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Nightmare in Pink (Travis McGee, No. 2) Mass Market Paperback – December 30, 1995

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett (December 30, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449224147
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449224144
  • Product Dimensions: 4 x 0.9 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #579,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

After debuting his soon-to-be iconic hero Travis McGee in The Deep Blue Good-by—a novel that, in setting, style, and mood, cut the mold for what would become the series’ winning formula for the next 25 years—MacDonald took a flyer with number 2, one of the series’ definite oddities. The majority of McGee novels begin with a friend arriving at Travis’ Fort Lauderdale houseboat with a problem. This one starts with the self-styled beach bum walking down Park Avenue. Be wary whenever McGee strays above the Mason-Dixon Line. He’s in New York, it turns out, to do a favor for an army buddy, whose sister is floundering after the death of her fiancé. First on the agenda: nurse Nina Gibson, the buddy’s sister, back to health, one of Travis’ specialties. We learned in Blue Good-by that our boy’s special combination of sensitivity, savoir faire, and animal magnetism does the trick for getting “wounded doves” back in the air. But he does his best doctoring aboard The Busted Flush, on which a little cruise to the islands is always the perfect antidote for whatever ails a troubled heart, mind, and body. This time, though, confined to the four walls of a Manhattan brownstone, McGee needs to work a little harder. But not that hard. Soon enough, the flush of healthy sexuality has been restored to Nina’s cheeks, but the problem of figuring out why her fiancé was murdered and what happened to the money he had apparently been stealing from his investment-bank employers proves considerably more difficult. The money, we learn, was stolen not for personal gain but to help expose the gigantic scam being run by a greedy bank vice president and his femme fatale secretary. Here’s where things get very weird. The bad guys are bilking the son of the bank’s pater familias out of millions by dousing him with psychedelic drugs, provided by a crazed medical researcher ensconced in a psychiatric hospital, where anyone who causes trouble has his or her brains turned to mush. Naturally, Travis quickly winds up a patient at the nightmare hospital, but the McGee brain doesn’t go mushy quite as quickly as that of the average guy. If this is all starting to sound very Raymond Chandler—poor Philip Marlowe stumbled into more than one evil hospital, where he was routinely pumped full of something bad from a syringe—you’ve done your hard-boiled homework and deserve to pour yourself a gimlet, Marlowe’s favorite beverage. Let’s clarify: this is by no means a bad novel, or even a bad trip. McGee fighting his way back from psychic oblivion is good fun, to be sure, and when he makes his escape by spiking the hospital’s coffee urn with psychedelic bug juice, well, you just have to smile. Still, series readers will soon learn that Park Avenue, brownstones, and Chandlerian druggies are not McGee’s milieu. MacDonald was clearly trying to keep things loose early in the series. Give him credit for quickly figuring out where and how his hero could do his best work and that Plymouth gin over ice, not in a gimlet, was McGee’s signature drink. No help needed, either from Chandler’s old plot devices or from his liquor cabinet. --Bill Ott --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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

Customer Reviews

Such good fun to read.
Amazon Customer
The Travis McGee series is the best I have ever read and the only books I have been willing to read again.
Beautifully written, complex characters.
James Hooper

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Traven on November 22, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the second in the Travis McGee series, though it doesn't place itself chronologically -- ie, it doesn't refer to the events of the first book, and it does refer to other adventures, as if it's just another in McGee's long life. However, the next book in the series, "A Purple Place for Dying," does take place right after this one, so there is an advantage to reading them in order.

In "Nightmare" Travis goes to New York. If you can't deal with that, then this one's not for you, but otherwise it's a knockout. The suspense is great, the philosophizing feels amazingly current, and MacDonald clearly knows New York. The book is great mix of retro setting and modern-feeling plotting and characterization. If anything, it's smoother than "The Deep Blue Good-By," since it doesn't need to introduce anything.

The Travis McGee series is terrific. I'm still reading my way through it, but I haven't found any reason not to go in order. "Nightmare in Pink" is great.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia K. Robertson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 24, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Nightmare in Pink is my second Travis McGee (and the second in the series), and it is even more riveting than the first.

McGee gets a call from an old war buddy who is in a VA hospital. Mike Gibson is blind and disabled, and when he asks McGee to check something out for him, McGee acquiesces-mostly out of guilt. Mike's beautiful and younger sister, Nina, is engaged to be married when her fiancé is mysteriously killed in a mugging. While cleaning out his things, Nina discovered $10,000 (we're talking 1960's here) and thinks he was in on something shady. The police haven't been able to solve the mugging and they haven't been told about the money, so McGee agrees to snoop around. Unfortunately, the case is in New York City and this Florida boat-bum is literally a fish out of water.

Mike and Nina quickly join forces (in more ways than one) and uncover a complicated financial scam to rob the fiancé's former boss of millions. Of course, the closer they get to solving the crime, the more they expose themselves to danger. At one point, McGee is even drugged, kidnapped, and held against his will in a mental hospital, where he is subjected to experimental hallucinogens. How he escapes will have you on the edge of your seat.

McGee again continues with many profound observations. One that I especially liked is "A good listener is far more rare than an adequate lover."

Nightmare in Pink had only two drawbacks that I could see. As with The Deep Blue Good-By, this book is a bit light at 143 pages. Also, while the plot was riveting, it was also unbelievable in spots. But John D. MacDonald has a new fan, and I have A Purple Place for Dying up next.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Marc Ruby™ HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 23, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the official 'second' in John D. MacDonald's series about Travis McGee, the slightly tarnished knight from Lauderdale, whose chosen steed is a 52 foot houseboat. Second also in setting the general pattern of McGee books - a friend convinces McGee to take the case of another friend, usually a beautiful woman, and McGee grudgingly comes to the rescue - sometimes out of a sense of honor, and sometimes just for the money.
This time the 'asker' is Mike Gibson, a war buddy of McGee's who now lives as a permanent resident of the veteran's hospital. The 'fixee' is Nina, Mike's sister - distraught when her boyfriend (Howard Plummer) dies in a mugging. Nina finds a large bundle of money in a closet and becomes convinced that Howard was up to no good. Now Mike wants to help her out of her depression, even if she is unwilling. McGee, as usual, to the rescue.
As you might expect, Plummer's death was not what it seemed, and McGee finds himself enmeshed in a spectacular fraud that is bilking a company of millions while sending its victims to a mental ward. Which is where McGee winds up as well, in a nightmarish twist that plays like 'On Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.' Dropped into a hole from which there is no way to escape, McGee must fight for survival against a medical staff determined to steal his mind from him.
Perhaps the beauty of this story, other than MacDonald's powerful writing, is that it turns the 'tough-guy detective' genre on it's ear for a bit as McGee struggles with induced insanity, falls in love, and barely survives by the skin of his teeth. This is a tough-guy with plenty of weaknesses and soft spots.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rocco Dormarunno on October 25, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If there is a weak link in the chain of Travis McGee novels, I have yet to find it. MacDonald's "Nightmare in Pink" is yet another great tale in the long list of books of the McGee cycle, and I have read more than a dozen of them. This one has the same driving pace, magnetic and realistic characters, and acerbic wit as any other in the series. What makes it personally enjoyable is that it is set in my hometown of New York City! He seems at home here, in spite of what he says. I wish he'd hung around for a few more novels
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By sweetmolly on April 14, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This 2nd of the Travis McGee series takes place in New York City where Travis fits about as well as Crocodile Dundee. John D. has not quite found his way with Travis yet, and it shows.
Travis is enjoined to look out for a buddy�s little sister in the big bad city. Little sister is a babe (surprise!) and has her share of troubles. Her fiancé has just been murdered, and she has found a stash of $10,000 that she fears he scammed. Nina is distressingly a �will you respect me in the morning� type of young lady that rings no truer now than it did in the early �60s, and Travis� famous philosophizing is really put to the test, however enchanted he is.
�Nightmare in Pink� is worth the price of admission just for the middle third of the book where Travis is captured in a private mental hospital and loaded with psychedelic drugs. His hallucinatory terrors are brilliantly and horrifyingly described, and the after-effects linger through the entire book.
The plot is a convoluted financial scam that MacDonald loves, but doesn�t suit Travis too well (Meyer is not yet on the scene). Also cold, urban settings are not kind to a knight errant beach bum. Grade C-
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