Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Lonely Silver Rain (1985)

The 21st Travis McGee novel and the last. It has the bittersweet quality that all the late McGee novels have. As he ages, McGee turns more introspective, more critical of himself, more promiscuous, and more ashamed of that promiscuity. All those characteristics are in full force in this book.

It's a decent read but definitely not one of the best. The book can be divided into three sections. The first involves McGee finding an ingenious way to track down the stolen yacht of an old friend. It's good stuff, culminating in a grisly scene of murder. The second part involves a cocaine smuggling ring, and it's the weakest part of the book by far. The third section involves the reveal of who exactly is leaving McGee cats made out of pipe-cleaners. It's a big reveal and I won't say who it is, but it definitely is a game-changer in the world of Travis McGee. It's a very emotional finale and it's clear that John D. was aware that this was probably going to be the final book.

(On that note, there has long been a rumor that John D. wrote a final novel, called A Black Border for McGee, in which Travis met his end. It was supposed to be published posthumously but has never surfaced. If I had more ambition, I'd write it and then claim I found it in some attic in Florida. Are there attics in Florida?)

1 comment:

  1. The common theme of defensiveness – why is it there? Well, we most assuredly know that the literati and the cognoscenti dismissed Macdonald as a hack. Prolific beyond words, he churned out novels and stories at a mind blowing pace his entire life. In the old school reference work World Authors 1950-1970 (published by H.H. Wilson) he says that when starting out as a young writer he kept thirty to forty stories in the mail at all times. What a fine example of self confidence and determination!