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Travis McGee books in order: the complete series

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Looking for John D MacDonald’s Travis McGee books in order? Look no further!

Travis McGee isn’t a clean-cut, all-American hero, and he’s the first to admit it. But what Travis does have is a sense of adventure, the skills to get out of sticky situations, and a willingness to get his hands dirty to help his friends.

MacDonald’s great writing means Travis toes the line between hardboiled hard-ass and lovable rogue, keeping readers coming back for more. If you love detective fiction with a bit of bite, then this is the series for you.

Here are all John D MacDonald’s Travis McGee books in order!

John D MacDonald’s Travis McGee books in order:

The Deep Blue Goodbye by John D Macdonald

1. The Deep Blue Goodbye (1964)

Travis McGee isn’t exactly strapped for cash, but how can anyone say no to Cathy, a sweet girl whose manipulative ex-boyfriend Junior Allen was abusing her? What Travis isn’t anticipating is just how many lives Junior has already ruined.

As Travis hunts for the ruthless Junior, he’s plunged into much more violence than he’d anticipated when first taking the job…

A Nightmare in Pink by John D MacDonald

2. A Nightmare in Pink (1964)

Travis McGee’s old army buddy needs some help. Nina, his sister, has just lost her fiancé in what the authorities claim was nothing more than a standard Manhattan mugging gone wrong. But Nina knows better.

Her soon-to-be husband had been looking too closely at his firm’s books, and he’d found that the numbers weren’t adding up. Travis is determined to get to the bottom of things, but just as he’s closing in on the truth he finds himself taken captive. Some people will go to any lengths to make sure their secrets don’t get out …

A Purple Place for Dying by John D MacDonald

3. A Purple Place for Dying (1964)

Mona is in love with a poor, young college professor, but is trapped in her marriage to a supposedly wealthy businessman. However, she’s convinced he’s stealing from her trust fund, and tries to hire someone to steal her money back so she can run away with the man she loves.

Travis McGee isn’t sure he wants to help out…until he sees Mona shot dead on the cliffs near her cabin. But when he arrives at the scene, her body is gone – and there’s no trace of them ever having met. Will Travis be able to unravel a complex murder web in time to save his own skin?

The Quick Red Fox by John D MacDonald

4. The Quick Red Fox (1964)

Hollywood starlet Lysa Dean didn’t reach the pinnacle of showbiz by making mistakes. But a night involving a debauched party and some naked photos changes all of that. If the pictures get out, Lysa’s engagement to her rich, strait-laced fiancé won’t stand a chance, so she hires Travis McGee to find whoever took them and make sure the photos never see the light of day.

Travis finds himself led on a wild chase across the country, trying to track down everyone associated with that fateful evening. But just when he thinks he knows exactly where things are headed, something happens that shakes him to his core…

A Deadly Shade of Gold by John D MacDonald

5. A Deadly Shade of Gold (1965)

When Travis McGee has the chance to reunite Sam, his reckless, restless old friend, with an old childhood sweetheart, he can’t help but meddle. After all, it will be good for his sometimes wild friend to settle down.

But the case takes a sinister turn when Sam is found lying in a pool of his own blood, barely clinging to life. Travis, desperate for answers, follows a trail of violence to Mexico. But when the truth is as terrifying as this, does he really want to uncover it?

Bright Orange for the Shroud by John D MacDonald

6. Bright Orange for the Shroud (1965)

When an old friend is conned out of his life savings by his ex-wife and unexpectedly turns up at Travis McGee’s door, Travis finds himself pursuing a twisted hustler to get the money back.

What starts out as a simple job soon turns into a dangerous mission when he comes face-to-face with the violent, quick-witted criminal responsible for the theft. To beat him, Travis is going to have to play the thief at his own game – but will he be able to win?

Darker Than Amber by John D MacDonald

7. Darker Than Amber (1966)

A relaxing fishing trip goes wrong for Travis McGee and his friend when they see a woman being tossed from a bridge into the open sea. Travis rescues her and finds out her name – Evangeline. But she’s no ordinary victim. Behind her darker-than-amber eyes is a seductive woman with her own agenda.

Now that he’s saved Evangeline, Travis wants to help her make a new life. But to do so he must confront the gang of murderers she was running from, and in the process put himself in danger…

One Fearful Yellow Eye by John D Macdonald

8. One Fearful Yellow Eye (1966)

Travis McGee’s ex-girlfriend is convinced she’s being watched. Her late husband, a world-renowned neurosurgeon, converted his considerable estate into cash before he died – but nobody can find the jackpot, including the recent widow.

As Travis tries to untangle the mess and protect his terrified ex-lover, he discovers that the doctor’s enemies are far more determined than he could have ever imagined …

Pale Grey for Guilt by John D MacDonald

9. Pale Grey for Guilt (1968)

When the body of Travis McGee’s old football buddy, Tush, is found, it’s ruled a suicide – but Travis suspects foul play. Tush had just discovered that his small home was sat right in the middle of a highly profitable parcel of land – and plenty of powerful interests wanted him out of the way.

Proving he didn’t kill himself becomes a lot more difficult when Travis discovers a note from Tush’s wife saying she wants to leave him. An increasingly paranoid Travis has to scramble desperately to uncover the truth if he’s going to save what’s left of his friend’s family…

The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper by John D MacDonald

10. The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper (1968)

When Travis McGee enters the prosperous town of Fort Courtney, he quickly realises that something’s not right. Here to rescue the depressed daughter of a deceased friend, Travis is shocked by the string of murders and suicides that’s taken over the town.

Just when it seems that things can’t get any stranger, Travis becomes the lead suspect in the murder of a local nurse. To save the his friend’s daughter, he’s going to have to prove his own innocence first…

Dress Her in Indigo by John D MacDonald

11. Dress Her in Indigo (1969)

Travis McGee could never turn down a request from his old friend Meyer. So, before Meyer can even say please, Travis agrees to go with him to Mexico to investigate the mysterious last months of Meyer’s wealthy friend’s daughter.

Expecting to find out that the young woman had fallen in with the usual petty criminals, they soon realise they’re in the midst of something much stranger, and far more deadly than they’d initially thought. The deeper Travis digs, the less accidental the death starts to seem…

The Long Lavender Look by John D MacDonald

12. The Long Lavender Look (1970)

A young woman wearing little more than a determined look sprints out of the darkness and into Travis McGee’s headlights. Travis swerves to miss her, landing upside down in ten feet of water – and right into the heart of a violent mystery.

It turns out a local thug has just been killed, and Travis and his friend Meyer are suddenly promoted to lead suspects. To clear their names, they must gather their resources to fight against a deeply corrupt system that would rather see them dead than innocent…

A Tan and Sandy Silence by John D MacDonald

13. A Tan and Sandy Silence (1971)

Harry Broll shows up outside Travis McGee’s house brandishing a weapon and claiming that Travis is hiding his missing wife. The irate, unwelcome guest gets a shot in before Travis can wrestle his gun away. Worried that he’s losing his touch, Travis decides to help Harry with his case and prove he’s still in top form in one fell swoop.

McGee’s search for the missing woman takes him to Grenada, where tangles with con artists and killers. No longer wallowing in self-pity, Travis has more pressing concerns – like saving his own skin.

The Scarlet Ruse by John D MacDonald

14. The Scarlet Ruse (1972)

An expert stamp collector is left frantic when he misplaces the extremely valuable collection of an important and shady client. But fortunately for him, he’s got a friend in Travis McGee.

It’s not long till Travis is hot on the trail of the missing collection. But he’s going to have to play this game carefully – the thieves are some of the most dangerous he’s ever seen, and his friend’s client is liable to break some fingers if he doesn’t get what he’s owed…

The Turquoise Lament by John D MacDonald

15. The Turquoise Lament (1973)

When Travis McGee does favours, he often finds himself in strange situations – and when he agrees to help out his friend’s daughter, who is convinced her husband is trying to kill her, it’s no different.

They go to Hawaii to try and unravel the mystery, but Travis can’t find a single thing wrong and puts her paranoia down to anxiety. It’s not until he’s back home that he realises he may have overlooked a clue or two, and that she might be in very real danger…

The Dreadful Lemon Sky by John D MacDonald

16. The Dreadful Lemon Sky (1974)

Around four in the morning, Travis McGee is jolted awake by his old flame Carrie, who needs a place to stash a package full of cash. He agrees to help, but two weeks later she’s dead.

Left with a hundred grand in bills and a nagging conscience, Travis goes to a seedy little town to look into Carrie’s previous life. But what he finds only pushes him further into the corrupt world she was trying to escape…

The Empty Copper Sea by John D MacDonald

17. The Empty Copper Sea (1978)

As a boat captain, Van Harder’s reputation is his most valuable possession. But his wealthy employer has gone missing, presumed dead, and people are pointing the finger, claiming he was drunk at the helm when his boss went overboard.

But Harder insists he doesn’t drink…at least, not any more. But his only friend seems to be Travis McGee, who needs to do the impossible to get to the truth – prove that a dead man is actually alive.

The Green Ripper by John D MacDonald

18. The Green Ripper (1979)

True love always seems to pass Travis McGee by – until he meets Gretel. But the woman who stole his heart suddenly dies of an unidentified illness. Convinced she’s been murdered, McGee finds himself pursuing the less-than-noble cause of revenge.

Obsessed with his crusade, he becomes more and more unhinged. He’s spent his life saving other people, but now he’ll need to find the strength to save himself – before he loses everything.

Free Fall in Crimson by John D MacDonald

19. Free Fall in Crimson (1981)

Ellis Esterland was rich, mean and slowly dying of cancer – until someone sped along the process by beating him to death. The ‘why’ seems obvious – his hotly contested, multimillion-dollar estate. And Ellis’s son wants Travis McGee to find out who did the deed.

McGee’s quest takes him from Hollywood to the Midwest, where he embeds himself into prostitution rings and witnesses drug deals gone wrong. In the midst of all this chaos, McGee is in danger of losing himself, but one thing remains crystal clear – he’s on the trail of a killer like he’s never seen before.

Cinnamon Skin by John D MacDonald

20. Cinnamon Skin (1982)

A houseboat explodes on the Florida Keys, instantly killing those on board. The boat belonged to Travis McGee’s friend Meyer, but it’s not Meyer who’s the victim. He’d lent it to his just-married niece, Norma, and her husband, hoping to give them the perfect honeymoon.

When a group of Colombian terrorists take responsibility for the brutal act, Meyer and McGee travel south to seek justice. And Meyer, normally content in McGee’s shadow, is determined to avenge the one family member he had left…or die trying.

The Lonely Silver Rain by John D MacDonald

21. The Lonely Silver Rain (1984)

McGee knows the dangerous link between Florida boatjackings and the drug trade, and he’s vowed to not get involved in them. But when self-made tycoon Billy Ingraham asks McGee to locate his $700,000 custom cruiser, he decides to break his own rules to help out, sensing a handsome reward for his efforts.

After a friend leads him to the stolen vessel, McGee immediately regrets not going with his gut. The yacht is no longer an ordinary boat – it’s become a slaughterhouse. As he uncovers more and more about the theft, Travis realises that this case may be his last…

There you have it – all John D MacDonald’s Travis McGee books in order! How many have you read? Let us know in the comments below…

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