Bright Orange for the Shroud : Travis McGee

  • by John D. MacDonald
  • Narrated by Robert Petkoff
  • Series: Travis McGee
  • 8 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Travis things he's in for a quiet summer until a walking zombie of a man, Arthur Wilkinson, stumbles aboard The Busted Flush. He's the latest victim of a fragile-looking blond sexpot who uses the blackest arts of love to lure unsuspecting suckers into a web of sordid schemes. Gone, suddenly, are the lazy, hazy days of summer as Travis becomes embroiled in one of the most dangerous, dirtiest cases of his career.

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What the Critics Say

"[T]he great entertainer of our age, and a mesmerizing storyteller." (Stephen King)
"[M]y favorite novelist of all time." (Dean Koontz)
"[W]hat a joy that these timeless and treasured novels are available again." (Ed McBain)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Finally, unabridged!

I read these all in print, then listened to them as abridged versions with Darrin McGavin narrating. Robert Petkoff is a fine narrator, but I miss McGavin. He caught the ironic quality of Travis McGee perfectly. However, he has passed away .... and Petkoff is good. Very good.

The story is classic MacDonald. There's lots of action, violence, sex, angst, and diatribes consisting of highly astute and unfortunately, very accurate observations of what we were then doing (and have now done!) to the ecology of the area. MacDonald was fanatical about ecology before it was fashionable.

Travis McGee is unique and most interesting: a violent man who abhors violence which sometime means that he hates himself, too. He kills, but he is ashamed of it and it brings him neither joy nor satisfaction. He cannot excuse his own guilt.

Travis McGee is complex and contradictory ... one of the great fictional "detectives" (he's not exactly a detective, by the way ... but it's as close as I can get to a one word descriptor).

You don't have to read them in order. However you read them, they are complete stories.
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- Marilyn "I read all the time, or nearly. I always have, I guess, since I was very young ... and now, getting older, more audio than any other medium."

Perfect Authentic 1960's Period Noir

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

John D MacDonald was an extremely prolific writer of mysteries and thrillers during the 50's through the mid 1980's. His popular Travis McGee series always placed a color in the title. Hence the Orange reference here. This story was copyrighted in 1965.

The value of this series is that it is written in its time with spot-on dialog, technology, prices, values, contemporary culture and morals. It was a wild and reckless time that this novel is set in. So essentially you have a master writer creating a novel in his time with a perfect pitch. Contrast this with contemporary writers trying to set crime novels in WWII, the 50's etc. and you get a story told through the prism of a 21st century writer, a big difference. People in the 1960's thought and acted quite differently.

The story is interesting, the characters developed and real. You care about all of them. John MacDonald takes the time to let you get to know the characters are real functioning people with strengths and weaknesses. He sets you down the pathway of the plot and you become an observer. The story reveals itself through logical, clever detection by Travis McGee, a stalwart knight that seeks to redress financial wrongs for a 50% cut of the recovery.

The story is set in the seedy Florida of the 1960's where land scams abounded and the innocent like the alligators were both skinned. This novel is crisply written, the run time on this Audible book is a little over 8 hours, just enough to tell a full story and not too much. The story unfolds fast. A feature of Travis McGee novels is that things work out in the end for the right people. So you find yourself cheering for the mistreated victim and share the redemption at the end. We have a first class villain and a cast of con-men that ring true. I place this series in the pantheon of historic crime masters like Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and Ross MacDonald (no relation) where perfect characters and plots are immortal.


What was one of the most memorable moments of Bright Orange for the Shroud?

It would be unfair to give up too much of the plot, but the search of the villain's property was a classic. McGee has a gift for the theatrical.


What about Robert Petkoff’s performance did you like?

Excellent rendition of male and female characters. Good accents and a nice energy level to the reading. A very pleasant voice to have a story read to you.


If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Scams don't pay and beware of your spouse!


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- Brad

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-13-2012
  • Publisher: Audible Studios