The Dreadful Lemon Sky by John D. MacDonald
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
If you've been reading through the Travis McGee series sequentially—and this is probably my third time through—you can't help but notice, in this the 16th (of 21), that McGee's brushes with death are more frequent and more narrowly avoided. McGee is on his game in this one, however, and there is less talk of feeling his age and losing his step. He mentions luck a few times and he praises the skills of his opponent. MacDonald is sowing more seeds for the end of McGee. But not yet. As usual, plenty of good action scenes and the climactic sequence involving a jeep with a blade and some fire ants is top notch. This book also features, at least up to this point in the series I think, the best tag-team investigating by McGee and Meyers as MacDonald makes full use of their different skill sets to completely unravel the mystery of what happened to Carrie Milligan. One of the things I like most about MacDonald's approach is that he doesn't rely on the mystery trope of wrapping things all up in some final scene that solves the whodunnit. McGee and Meyer are incrementalists using con, smarts, sneakery and thuggery to put the puzzle together piece by piece. They toss out theories and test them. They poke and prod to see who gets squirrelly. It's a fun process to follow and makes this one my top McGee's.
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