John D. MacDonald Books In Order

Publication Order of Travis McGee Books

The Deep Blue Good-by (1964) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Nightmare in Pink (1964) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Purple Place for Dying (1964) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Quick Red Fox (1964) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Deadly Shade of Gold (1965) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Bright Orange for the Shroud (1965) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Darker than Amber (1966) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
One Fearful Yellow Eye (1966) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Pale Gray for Guilt (1968) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper (1968) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dress Her in Indigo (1969) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Long Lavender Look (1970) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Tan and Sandy Silence (1971) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Scarlet Ruse (1973) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Turquoise Lament (1973) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Dreadful Lemon Sky (1975) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Empty Copper Sea (1978) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Green Ripper (1979) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Free Fall in Crimson (1981) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Cinnamon Skin (1982) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Lonely Silver Rain (1984) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Brass Cupcake (1950) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Ballroom of the Skies (1951) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Weep for Me (1951) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Judge Me Not (1951) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Planet of the Dreamers (1951) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Murder for the Bride (1951) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Damned (1952) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Cancel All Our Vows (1953) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Neon Jungle (1953) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Soft Touch (1953) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dead Low Tide (1953) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Area of Suspicion (1954) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Contary Pleasure (1954) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
All These Condemned (1954) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Bullet for Cinderella (1955) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Cry Hard, Cry Fast (1955) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Border Town Girl (1956) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Murder in the Wind (1956) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
You Live Once (1956) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
April Evil (1956) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Death Trap (1957) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Man of Affairs (1957) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Empty Trap (1957) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Cape Fear (1957) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Price of Murder (1957) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Deceivers (1958) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Clemmie (1958) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Crossroads (1959) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Please Write for Details (1959) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Beach Girls (1959) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Deadly Welcome (1959) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Only Girl in the Game (1960) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Slam the Big Door (1960) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The End of the Night (1960) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
One Monday We Killed Them All (1961) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Where is Janice Gantry? (1961) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Flash of Green (1962) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Girl, the Gold Watch and Everything (1962) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Key to the Suite (1962) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
I Could Go On Singing (1963) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
On the Run (1963) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Drowner (1963) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Last One Left (1967) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
No Deadly Drug (1968) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Condominium (1977) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
One More Sunday (1984) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Barrier Island (1986) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

The Good Old Stuff (1961) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
End of the Tiger and Other Stories (1966) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Seven (1971) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Other Times, Other Worlds (1978) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
More Good Old Stuff (1984) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Death Quotient and Other Stories (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

John D. MacDonald wrote many crime novels (for which he is known and remembered for), some of which were part of a series about his character Travis McGee, and he wrote many other stand alone novels and short story collections. He has also written non-fiction books and some science fiction novels. He was born in Sharon, Pennsylvania on July 24, 1916 and died in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 28, 1986 after an earlier heart operation did not go well. MacDonald was in the Army, he served in World War II, and when he was discharged, made it to rank of lieutenant colonel. He married Dorothy Prentiss in 1937 while attending Syracuse University, and graduated the next year. He had an MBA from Harvard, making use of his understanding of business and economics to use in his novels.

He got into the writing business by accident when his wife submitted a story he wrote and sent her while he was in the Army, in 1945, that she turned around and shipped to two magazines, Esquire magazine and Story magazine, the latter (and the second she sent to after Esquire rejected it) of which bought the story for $25. Then he got heavily into writing once he got out spending fourteen hours a day everyday for four months, producing roughly 800,000 words in this time. After hundreds of rejections, he sold another story for forty dollars to a pulp magazine called “Dime Detective”. After his writing career took off, he sold almost five hundred stories to detective, adventure, mystery, sports, science fiction, and Western magazines. Many times only MacDonald would have a story published in the magazine, but it was kept a secret with the use of pseudonyms.

Once paperback novels started to become popular, he started writing them, focusing mainly on crime thrillers. His work between 1953 until 1964 are considered classics in the hardboiled genre.By the time he honed his voice, he became the most distinct voice in suspense fiction. He was praised and inspired by many authors for his work. Some of these authors include Carl Hiaasen, Spider Robinson, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Kurt Vonnegut.

After a recommendation by his publisher, he titled all the books in the Travis McGee series with a mnemonic device and a color to show readers the books in the series they had not yet read. He would title two other, stand alone novels with colors.

“The Deep Blue Good-by” is the first book (of twenty-one books) in the Travis McGee series. The book introduces Travis, a veteran, and all of his character traits. He lives on his boat “The Busted Flush”, a 52 foot houseboat that is docked at Slip F-18 Bahia Mar marina, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The boat is named after the hand that started him on the hot streak that enabled him to buy the boat. He is a salvage consultant, or so his card reads. He charges half of the value of the lost item (to help fund his retirement), but only if the item is recovered. His clients are those who have had something taken from them, and cannot get it back by themselves in a legal manner. McGee’s sidekick is an economist known throughout the world with a PhD, who is known only by the name “Meyer”. This book also shows the change, on the part of the villain, from a simple thief to serial rapist to murderer.

This book is the introduction to the series, as MacDonald would repeat a lot of the themes and structure found in the book. The villain, more often than not there is a woman for Travis, and a lot of people have a hard time saying whether or not Travis’s getting the object back was worth all that it cost him to recover it, in any of the books. He will go through a lot to recover these objects. As the series goes on, the character does evolve, and the more books you read in the series, the more you learn about the character. Travis is an ex-professional football player at the tight end position, he has a custom Rolls Royce that was turned into a truck and was later painted an ugly color, and a Purple Heart and Silver Star. He was also Honorably Discharged from the Army, and he is believed to have served in the Vietnam War rather than in the Korean War.

“Nightmare in Pink” is the second book in the Travis McGee series. Travis is called upon by an old Army buddy to look into the death of his sister’s (Nina) fiance, and there is also a large sum of money is involved. The book takes McGee out of his home territory of Florida, to New York. The police believe that it is a typical mugging, that they see all the time, but Nina knows that it is because he was digging around into things that some people wanted to keep quiet inside the real estate firm that he worked at.

This series (as well as the other books he wrote) is beloved for John’s ability to write good characters, his storylines, and his social commentary- like when he talks about the effects of the building boom had on the environment. Stephen King called him “the great entertainer of our age, and a mesmerizing storyteller”. Fans also like the timeless quality that books have; they say that even though the books came out in the 1960s, they are still relevant today.

One of the books from the Travis McGee series was adapted into a movie starring Rod Taylor as McGee called “Darker Than Amber” that was based off the seventh novel in the series that was co-written by MacDonald. Another movie was made called “The Empty Copper Sea” that starred Sam Elliot. Many other adaptations of his stories have made their way into film. These include “A Flash of Green”, “Linda” was made twice for TV, “Condominium”, “The Girl, The Watch & Everything”, and “Cry Hard, Cry Fast”. Another adaptation has been planned for awhile, passing from different directors and lead actors, without much headway being made on the movie.

John D. MacDonald’s work will be remembered for being a cross between literary fiction and popular genre fiction. His McGee book “The Green Ripper” won the National Book Award in 1980. He set the standard for writing about Florida, that they even named an award after him; it is to recognize authors who excelled at writing about the state.

Book Series In Order » Authors » John D. MacDonald