Review: The Lonely Silver Rain by John D. MacDonald

When mega-rich Billy Ingraham hires Florida-based Travis McGee to find his stolen million-dollar yacht, the self-described “salvage consultant” finds it with relative ease — alongside the slaughtered bodies of the thieves, one of whom happens to be the daughter of a Peruvian diplomat. Further trouble rapidly burgeons in the form of some seriously lethal drug traffickers, and the elaborately staged murder of Ingraham.

Any gusto to this twenty-second (and final) Travis McGee mystery is completely undercut by the protagonist’s mellowed thoughts on mortality. The plot hits all the necessary beats, the kind of thing MacDonald could write in his sleep, and the dialogue is sharp, with a constant shadow of menace looming over proceedings — but the whole thing is mired in McGee’s crestfallen thoughts.

I’m sure if I was more familiar with the character like I am with, say, Harry Bosch or John Rebus — I’ve read half a dozen books in the McGee series, in whatever random I discover them secondhand — I would’ve found his internal struggles interesting, a fascinating texturing of a decades-old character as he gradually comes to terms with his place in the world, and discovers a new reason to persist. And perhaps “The Lonely Silver Rain” deserves to be returned to, one day, when I’ve read a few more. It’s one of those books that isn’t substandard in any tangible way, just a smidgen unsatisfactory without deep background. I can see why MacDonald’s legion of aficionados admire it — one day I hope to as well.

Publisher : Hodder & Stoughton Ltd
Publication Date: 1 August 1985
Hardcover : 232 pages
ISBN-13 : 978-0340378496

One response to “Review: The Lonely Silver Rain by John D. MacDonald”

  1. I am finding there are several books out there ‘unsatisfactory without deep background’ and I can only attribute it to the screenwriting element which seems to be trending among authors.

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