From a beloved master of crime fiction, Darker Than Amber is one of many classic novels featuring Travis McGee, the hard-boiled detective who lives on a houseboat.
A fishing trip is anything but relaxing when Travis McGee is involved. As McGee and his friend Meyer settle down to some midnight casting, a woman falls into the water from the bridge above them. Her name is Evangeline, and the hints she gives about the events leading to her near drowning suggest a less than pristine past. But McGee has saved her, and now he wants to see her make a new life—even if it means confronting a gang of murderers that makes his blood run cold.
“John D. MacDonald is a shining example for all of us in his field.”—Mary Higgins Clark
Evangeline may be the intended target in a complex scheme, but she’s no ordinary victim. Behind her darker than amber eyes is a woman who lures men onto her boat and robs them, throwing them overboard when she’s done with them. And now she’s enlisted the resistant Travis and Meyer to rescue her “savings” from her partners in crime.
When Evangeline winds up dead, McGee and Meyer must get involved. But the stakes are high—and Evangeline may not be the only casualty of her cruel game.
Features a new Introduction by Lee Child
About the Author
John D. MacDonald was an American novelist and short-story writer. His works include the Travis McGee series and the novel The Executioners, which was adapted into the film Cape Fear. In 1962 MacDonald was named a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America; in 1980, he won a National Book Award. In print he delighted in smashing the bad guys, deflating the pompous, and exposing the venal. In life, he was a truly empathetic man; his friends, family, and colleagues found him to be loyal, generous, and practical. In business, he was fastidiously ethical. About being a writer, he once expressed with gleeful astonishment, “They pay me to do this! They don’t realize, I would pay them.” He spent the later part of his life in Florida with his wife and son. He died in 1986.
Date of Birth:July 24, 1916
Date of Death:December 28, 1986
Place of Birth:Sharon, PA
Place of Death:Milwaukee, WI
Education:Syracuse University 1938; M.B. A. Harvard University, 1939
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Excerpted from "Darker Than Amber"
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I don't know that I have ever read two Travis McGee books back-to-back. Usually, one can only take so much of the guy. But the previous entry in the series, Bright Orange for the Shroud, while being terribly mean to most of its women characters, is still rather happy by McGee standards. Darker than Amber, like Bright Orange, centers on a group of con men and women--but in this case, their game is deadly. The book's opening, with McGee and Meyer pleasantly fishing for snook when a girl with her feet wired to a cement block drops into the water beside them (fouling McGee's line) is a classic. From there, this is a very dark work, enlivened by the partnership of McGee and Meyer (an economist who also owns a boat), which is far different than any alliances McGee has formed up to this point. And unlike a few of those other alliances, the author's love for Meyer is so evidently strong that you can't imagine him meeting a tragic end. (Of course, the fact that he isn't a woman gives him a better chance of surviving any McGee novel.)In any case, McGee, with a lot of Meyer's help, weaves a web of deception that is beautiful to behold in ensnaring the bad guys, and he does it with a malevolence and cold-bloodedness that is truly breathtaking. Along the way, we learn that McGee can hold his breath for a long time, resist bedding a beautiful woman if she is a prostitute, speak a few words of Italian, and all sorts of other useful skills for a "salvage expert".The character of Meyer sets this book apart, since he does most of the philosophizing and moralizing rather than it coming from McGee. Somehow, coming from Meyer, it seems a little more natural. And I subscribe wholly to Jung's theory of "The I" and "The Not I" that Meyer relates, saying he read about it in a book by a woman whose name he doesn't remember. It was Mary Esther Harding. Lots of copies available on abebooks.com.
Written in the mid 60's the book is showing its age, however it is still a nice little book to read on a snowy day when you don't want to go outside. The characters have little developement however they are interesting and the book moves at a nice pace.