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Publisher's Summary

Travis McGee is the strikingly handsome and ever resourceful invention of John D. MacDonald. Born in the author's imagination in 1964, McGee drifted into the world on a 52-foot diesel-powered houseboat, the Busted Flush, which he has used as a base of operations through many adventures. In this book, the private eye outwaits and outwits a deranged killer as he searches for a missing wife on a remote Caribbean island, where he also tangles with a baby-faced businessman with a taste for murder.

©1971 John D. MacDonald Publishing, Inc. (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about A Tan and Sandy Silence

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Doesn't want the job, but doesn't mind the money.

John D. MacDonald's pulp novels are a perfect beach read. They are unassuming, consistently over-deliver, produce better one-liners than a George Carlin set AND seem to have captured perfectly a very American, libertarian ethos of the mid-60s to late 70s. Travis McGee is consistently drawn into scrapes that he would rather avoid, beds girls he would prefer to ignore, and kills men he without relish. He perfectly fits Morrell's reluctant hero archetype:

"a tarnished or ordinary man with several faults or a troubled past, and he is pulled reluctantly into the story, or into heroic acts. During the story, he rises to the occasion, sometimes even vanquishing a mighty foe, sometimes avenging a wrong. But he questions whether he's cut out for the hero business. His doubts, misgivings, and mistakes add a satisfying layer of tension to a story"

MacDonald has perfected using the reluctant hero's questions, doubts, misgivings, and mistakes to add heft to his novels. McGee isn't a dime-store hero. He doesn't want the job, but doesn't mind the money, and it seems no one else is qualified to fix the huge mess that has fallen into his lap and seems destined to take him away from the bikinis, boats and beaches for a season.

18 people found this helpful

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This one was odd... But good

This one was all over the map, but the bad guy is truly evil and keeps out-smarting poor Travis. Meyer takes his lumps and almost pays the ultimate price as Travis confronts his own mortality.

1 person found this helpful

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I first read this on 45 years ago

I first read this one 45 years ago, just as enjoyable the second time around

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Petkoff IS Travis McGee

I've made my way through the 21 Travis McGee novels in print not once, but twice and in some instances three times – clearly, I love them and their creator, John D. MacDonald. I've been working my way through the audiobook versions, and just finished "A Tan and Sandy Silence" a day or two ago on (yet another) self-isolating walk. I quite enjoyed it, with two quibbles, one about the story and one about one voice from the always reliable Robert Petkoff.

Story first: It has some of the most chauvinistic and sexist scenes in the whole canon of Travis McGee. The way McGee treats the woman in Grenada, even though she's suspect, is so despicable that it was hard to swallow, especially given McGee's generally enlightened way with the opposite sex. It's really painful to read or hear McGee doing those things (even while making allowances for the period; the book was published in 1971).

Narration second: Petkoff is generally a great mimic, playing all the parts in these novels with seeming ease and effectiveness. But his voicing for the rich English widow who wants McGee to become her partner is just terrible. She sounds like an old biddy; possibly 65 or 75 years old, and when you hear their interchanges, it's hard to imagine the two of them together at all. Otherwise, Petkoff is in top form and very good with accents: like the West Indies characters and the villain of the piece.

Not one of MacDonald's best, but even his not best is very good, and I'm glad I listened to it. This series is a high-water mark for genre fiction.

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Travis McGee in the Caribbean

After reading the book and 1972 and collecting all of John McDonald’s works. It was great to revisit this nautical trip of Travis McGee.
I particularly like his description of the islands and Fort Lauderdale. Since I also had a boat at Bahia Mar marina, I take particular delight when Travis is aboard his “Busted Flush”.

John McDonald’s books are a very economical way to travel the world. All aboard?!

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travis mcgoo

like the story, but cant they pay some female readers to play the role, I feel like I m in a gay McGee novel

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A journey to the Caribbean

McGee gets backed into those particular adventure. As usual his has a couple of brushes with death and bounces between a few women. It ours worked put cleverly and with finesse.

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Not his best

Still pretty good, though. The rant about the 24 hour news cycle was amazing. This was the first McGee I ever read, so it's a sentimental favorite

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  • ML
  • 05-19-17

Storyline not my favorite

The story was not my favorite of the 13 books in the series so far. The author tried to make Travis vulnerable in this story, which is a nice twist, but it seemed too much so. Almost depressingly so. Also, the story was disjointed in its plotline, the timing felt off continually. And I missed him having a real love interest. Of course, it was still better than most non MacDonald books (he's an amazing author), I am just spoiled by how great the other 12 books in this series were so far.

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Disappointed by plot

Reconsideration: Forget what I wrote three years ago. I have since listened to every single Travis McGee novel. It is an acquired taste, but once I got into the swing of it, I found them irresistible. The secret to enjoying Travis McGee is to suspend judgment and preconceptions. Once this is done, the series takes on a life of its own and grows on you like a guilty pleasure, like movie popcorn. that is hard to stop once started.
First review: I chose this book because I am a fan of noir detective fiction and this one was rated so highly. I was disappointed by a tired, plodding, and thin plot and a writing style that alternated between ersatz profundity introspection and comic book wham-bam action. In reading through Amazon reviews I noticed that some readers say that this is one of McDonald's weaker Travis McGee books. I certainly hope so, but I'm not sure I want to risk and more money and time on this series. As in all matters of taste, others may disagree.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mr. C. G. Moore
  • 08-10-19

Takes alittle while to get started but solid McGee

A bit flabby at the start but turns up the heat by the end. After book 11 and 12, this one takes a while to get started. Still a solid McGee novel with some great diatribes as usual. If you are new to McGee then start with book 1 then 11 and 12 for the best. But this is a sturdy effort for completists.