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Free Fall In Crimson (1996)

Free Fall in Crimson (1996)

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4.12 of 5 Votes: 5
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0449224821 (ISBN13: 9780449224823)

About book Free Fall In Crimson (1996)

27 jun 15#52 from macdonald for me, the 19th travis mcgeee story. check out macdonald's other stories a rich lode of story well worth the read. before this i read The Green Ripper, a so-so story28 jun 15finished. good story. i liked it. in this one, mcgee is asked to discover what happened to ron esterland's father...and from that point the story follows a number of iowa, to los angeles, to a biker hangout called the oasis, and there is also a sideline, annie over in naples running a hotel now. there's some linkage to another mcgee story or two. The Quick Red Fox, for one and another story in which a hidey-hole behind a mirror on the busted flush plays a part...can't remember the name of that story. anyway, call it 3.5 stars. there's been a growing sense that mcgee is ready to hang up his cleats, the past few stories, the idea is expressed, questioning his ability to react, his timing...and in this one, he enlists a couple baddies to make the day. also, in this one, there is the first instance of mcgee referring to a stewardess as a "flight attendant". all other stories where a plane figures in the setting, it has been "stewardess". perhaps mcgee is becoming as politically correct as the rest of us! alas! high karooombugga! also...mcgee does not refer to his old blue rolls as "miss agnes" as much as he had done so in the past. and also, mcgee considers working for another, going to ron brown's boat yard. there is also a 40' leap from a balloon and all we get is a bum knee. ummmmmm. feel the force...ummmmmmm. this story beginswe talked past midnight, sat in the deck chairs on the sun deck of the busted flush with the starry april sky overhead, talked quietly, and listened to the night. creak and sigh of hulls, slap of small waves against pilings, muted motor noises of the fans and generators and pumps aboard the work boats and the play toys."i don't really know how the law works," ron esterland said. "but i would think that if you arranged someone's death, even if he were dying already, you shouldn't inherit."time place scene setting* april, the busted flush, travis mcgee's 52' barge-like houseboat, slip f-18, bahia mar marina, fort lauderdale, florida* a rest stop along the highway, seldom used, somewhat remote, where ellis esterland was beat to death* eden beach, a hotel in naples, florida, 2nd floor single* a motel west of the city limits, groveway motel* beef 'n'* river county sheriff's office...macdonald creates his own florida, at times using real names, real places, other times creating new counties, river county, although there is a real, indian river county, i don't think he means i.r. county...possible...ummm.* annie rensetti's cabana, where travis and her meet, do the bump and grind* the caper, ellis esterland's boat where annie & ellis spent time* palmer hotel, naples, where esterland was last seen alive* a dark bar of the palmer called the office* dining room of the palmer* a hospital where tim passes* time's passage is noted with phrases, "friday morning"...a "fine april saturday"* eden beach, 2nd floor single, naples, florida* des moines, iowa, late monday night* rosedale station, iowa tuesday morning* the rosedale lodge, room 39 for mcgee, rooms 24-25 for some of the movie making folk* rented pasture land near rosedale for the balloon launches* coldwater canyon drive, near los angeles, home of lysa dean, the famous movie star* the oasis, biker bar/restaurant, parts store, tattoo parlor* the john meynard keynes meyer's cruiser* sunday, june 21st...wednesday the 24th, thursday the 18th* a twenty-four hour chicken* a burgerboy* sneads funeral home, bonahatchee, florida, everglades* an el-1011, miami to los angeles* story ends on an august afternoon snake river below naples, annie and travis, taking the long talked about cruisea quote from the story* the primary objective is to laugh.characters major* travis mcgee, 1st-person eye-narrator, our hero, salvage consultant, bachelor, veteran of a war* meyer, friend of travis, neighbor at bahia mar* ron esterland, painter, 34-year-old* anne rinzetti, in naples, running a hotel, one of travis's women, and she had been ron esterland's father's secretary and spent time with the old man on his boat* lysa "lee" dean from The Quick Red Fox...the former lee schontz, 1610 madison street, dayton ohio, now a big movie star* dirty bob (and the senator) outlaw bikers, actual name, desmin grizzel...the senator is curly hanner* joya murphy-wheeler, one of the balloonists, from ottuma, iowa* preach...outlaw biker turned businessman, amos wilson by name, has a business called karma imports* josephine laurant, movie star, in the balloon epic* peter gerard kesner, made a couple biker films that were a smash but has failed since, is doing it all now genius that he is, on a balloon epic* tim blaylock, travis mcgee's war-time friend, in poor healthy, runs owns operates manages the oasis, a biker bar-restaurant-parts store-tattoo parlor* mits, female friend of tim blaylock, helps run the oasis, some seminole this that the other, full name, millicent waterhawk* freaky jean, a dark-haired young girl, jean norman, on the scene of the balloon moviecharacters minor, with names, without names, scene/setting type characters* ron esterland's father, ellis esterland* the wives of the father* gavin and donnie, two bikers sent by preach to assist travis* alpha, joya's sister, alan, her husband* bruno the dog...walked jogged by joya* the esterland wives of ron's old man:* connie, ron's mother, wife #1, died when ron was 11* judy prisco, the dancer, father married when ron was 12, divorced in 6 months* josephine laurant, also a major figure, married when ron was 13* daughter of the old man and one of the wives, josephine, romola* sloane gallery, ron's paintings make a splash* sarah issom, travis bought one of her paintings, she'd told ron that travis did a favor for her* a man tending the plantings* four fat women in shorts* a very pretty lady behind the reception desk, marie, at the eden beach hotel that annie manages now, where travis stays* mr luddwick, previous manager of eden beach hotel, annie was secretary to him* his replacement was in an accident, annie covered, kept the job* dr prescott mullen, ellis esterland's doc* marcie jean mullen, prescott's wife, used to be marcie jean sensabaugh* river county sheriff, milford "fish" hampton, who replaced the previous:* dave banks, previous sheriff of river county* the tourists were booming down the big roads* a thin, middle-aged, weather-worn woman behind the desk* a female dispatcher (her voice)* a fat girl in a pale blue uniform, zelda* a sallow man in baggy yellow slacks & a polynesian shirt, barner "barney" odum* rick tate, a river county sheriff deputy* debbie, rick tate's wife, middle daughter of dave banks, six years dead, previous sheriff of river county, they have four kids* debbie's sister karen* tidy ladies behind the desk/palmer hotel* bearded bald bartender/palmer hotel bar, the office* a young couple off in a corner* three new customers* a glum heavy woman* aggie sloane, owner of byline, comes to florida, cruises with meyer in tow, or on board...and this is how macdonald dispatches meyer to other tasks so travis can get on with the show this is it!* bellhop* an angry fellow with a sharp knife* men were working in the cement floor shed* three of the brotherhood were on bar stools* a doughty broad-faced young girl lay on the cot, lissa, getting a tattoo at the oasis, and the tat will blast ol ray right out of his skull* big bess, previous bartender for time, job now held by mits* scooter, whisker, stoney, biker names used by potsie, one of the three at the bar* a very very flashy colombiano pistolero, has big bess stashed down at the hotel mutiny* the corsairs, another biker gang in florida* mike, knucks, two bikers at the oasis* a group of fourteen-year-old ladies* walter lowery, san francisco attorney, travis knows, uses him to get phone number for lysa dean with whom mcgee had a previous story see link aobe* forty million dollars from almost for lysa dean, his name louie* the big money's wife...who developed leukemia and put the keebosh on any plans for the money and lysa dean, her name muriel* dana holtzer, lady lysa dean & travis know, now dana maguire, 4 kids one in the oven* annie fired an assistant manager, hired a new guy* romola was using the house of a woman who was temporarily in london* cal, a thin brown indian-looking fellow standing by it, smoking, leaning against a tree...provides mits with a ride to hospital, a biker* cal speaks of a "squad captain"* past, ted helping a medic slide a wounded man onto a litter...when wounded to become paraplegic* daviss gudd, a lawyer in west palm, lawyer for tim blaylock* a nice little old lady in duluth (scamming the system)* magoo, a biker who appears on scene with preach* an oriental korean gardener for lysa dean* a korean maid for lysa dean* sam...hollywood man* a tall thin old lady behind the oak registration the rosedale lodge, rosedale, iowa* puss, skeeter, glory, cindy, pidge, cathy, heidi, gretel, annie, lysa...travis mcgee's women* resident faa spook* townie girls, townie dudes...rosedal, iowa* eight balloon teams left...30 teams at one time* a godawful little ferret-faced man to watch every cent spent* chief cameraman, second unit director, script girl, lighting technician, some actors, some balloon people* kitty, josie with tiger, fellow from joya's balloon, jake, mercer, linda...mercer is a camerman, linda harrigan is a stunt double lesbian, walter with the flu brought to des moines...all on the balloon movie set* people trotting back and forth from chore to shore* two men hopped out* george (balloon crew)* another man climbed into the basket* david and ed, joya's balloon crew* children ran & waved at us* little sue...the balloon search/chase car* fifteen-year-old karen hatcher, the rape movie sideline of the minions, killed in a car accident with another:* james revere, seventeen-year-old* forgan, f.b.i. agent sent to investigate the balloon movie minions...doesn't do much, acts stupid, leaves apparently* a plump girl gave me the paper bag (burgerboy)* lady at the lodge, only sister's grandson was jamie revere* a member of that team who had broken his hand* the pilot was a lean man with a deeply grooved face* fifty or so young men came piling out* two beefy blonde men cam running* ted/search car guy* benny, wicker killed a little old guy (mercer), davis--one of the high school guys, len* a rumpled old man with a harelip...gave travis a ride* a very fat woman in a van, gave travis a ride* a young officer (cop), billy, his brother one of the high school seniors, in jail* twelve high school seniors locked up, two dead (good/bad/ugly) in field, three in the hospital* vennerman, a doc travis sees about his knee* anthony allen...score* diana fossi, girl from team of balloonists from shenandoah* distributor of the rape tapes, x-lips label* an attorney woeking on a pardon for grizzel* a gaggle of lanky pubescent lassies on the beach/meyer...expounding on lives of a cell, a book apparently, that they read* a lanky lady stalked by wearing a string bikini* demon grizzel's mother, killed in a midnight brawl* boone waxwell...seen his name in another story...and in this one, his size is compared to grizzel's sizereal people, famous, fictionally famous* laurens van der post, the night of the new moon, a quote before story begins.* john leonard, private lives in the imperial city, a 2nd quote before story begins* red baron* hell's angels* bandidos, western motorcycle gang* fantasies, floridian motorcycle gang* green bay packers (macdonald was a cheese-head!)* fred allen* amos & andy* l.l. bean* donquixote, implied* gary bang pistons* weber carb* bergman/taylor* manson (murders)* charlie manson* lord god* sellers (being there)* j edgar hoover* jung (jungian)* miss piggy* bob hope* jesus christ* bogart* ben franklin* hefner* jesus jumping h christ* lord god* burt reynolds* disney elf* muhammed ali* mother of moses* tom wolfe* jay gould, diamond jim brudy, john ringling* jimmy hoffa

I'm coming to the end of my run of the McGee series: FREEFALL IN CRIMSON is the antepenultimate (how often does one get to use that word?), and so I'm somewhat disappointed to say, having just finished it, that it's probably my second-least-favorite in the series. (My least favorite, as noted in other reviews, is NIGHTMARE IN PINK: the story seemed contrived and the psychedelic drug references have really not aged well.)The set-up gave no indication that the book would fail to please: the estranged son of a wealthy businessman suspects his father was murdered, and locates problem-solver McGee through some old mutual connections (including a femme fatale from #4, THE QUICK RED FOX).Sounds like a typical kickoff for Travis, but the book fails to deliver the goods, at least by the standards JDM has set for himself. I have a few thoughts on what's "wrong" with CRIMSON:1- After the emotional intensity of THE GREEN RIPPER, JDM may simply have been set for a let-down. (GREEN is far from my favorite, but it's a massive step in a different direction from the series's trajectory--an exhausting experience for the reader and, I expect, for the author as well.)2- JDM is a master of storytelling and pacing, and both seemed a bit left-footed here. The chapters and "story chunks" felt disproportionate, and the "mystery" didn't really hang together: a quick pivot from tracks discovered in the bushes to deep undercover with motorcycle gangs; some amateur porno stuff that seemed like an afterthought and lazy; and a mob scene that advances the plot in a clunky deus-ex-machina way. Even the "economics" didn't hang together as credibly as they do in so many of the other mysteries--and that's an area JDM loves.3- The violence was a bit much--and more egregious than thrilling. Part of that was because it was rushed through (the main baddy Grizzel's rampage was quick, and much of it "off-screen"), and part was that the bad guy didn't have the deep intensity of some of the other major psychologically broken bad guys Trav has faced before. (My points 2 and 3 actually cross here--the last 30-40 pages of the book felt like they had been written in a single draft, and not polished up and filled out.)I also wonder if, and this may be a reach, JDM wasn't also having a sort of change-of-heart as he wrote this book--hence the strange rough treatment of Meyer at the end. As Trav the protagonist has started to get weary of the world and its changes, has MacDonald the author also grown weary of the mystery/thriller genre? To some extent GREEN and CRIMSON seem to criticize the genre itself by the way they yank us out of the comfortable mood we've gotten used to getting into, in a comfortable chair with a McGee in our hands. I'll need to think more about this angle as I make my way through CINNAMON and SILVER. I can't believe there are only two McGees left. I have sometimes thought it would be great to have someone else take a crack at a new McGee--but it would have to be a very careful choice, and I don't like Stephen King (who has apparently offered) as a candidate. I'd choose a more "literary" writer, much as the Fleming estate has been doing with the James Bond series. Just like, as I've often thought, I'd love to see Garry Disher write a new Stark/Westlake "Parker" novel.One final problem with CRIMSON: it's oddly lacking in the sorts of poetic writing I've come to love in a McGee book. There were a few pages I dog-eared, but the passages were short and lacked the usual elaborate internal monologue:"That is one of the great troubles, I thought, after I hung up. The people you have great empathy with are never conveniently located nearby. Many are, but the rest are scattered far and wide. You see them too seldom. But you can always pick up right where you left off. You know who they are. They know who you are. No reintroductions required."and"Once in a great while, like once every fifty miles, I even got a look at a tiny slice of the Gulf of Mexico, way off to the right. And remembered bringing the Flush down this coast with Gretel aboard. And wished I could cry as easily as a child does."(If you've read THE GREEN RIPPER, that last one should make you choke up a little.)

Do You like book Free Fall In Crimson (1996)?

In this 19th novel, McGee is tasked with finding out who murdered the millionaire and cancer-riddled Ellis Esterland. His enquiries take him into the macho world of outlaw bikers, the crazy lives of film producers and actresses, and the dangerous pursuit of hot-air ballooning. This time around, his female companion is the luscious Anne Renzetti, ex-secretary of the murdered tycoon. Sometimes, his prose is hard-nosed and at other times, it’s lyrical, viz: ‘… moving in that sweet silence across the scents, the folds, the textures of the soft green April country’ when describing McGee’s first air-balloon journey.MacDonald’s McGee crime books are hardboiled. Along the way, his first person narrative reveals the flawed American Dream. Surprisingly, times haven’t changed – some 31 years later. As one character says, ‘But lots of terrible things are happening everywhere, I guess. Why is everybody getting so angry?’Today, lack of driving standards is bemoaned. Nothing new there, then: ‘growling traffic, the trucks tailgating, the cowboys whipping around from lane to lane, and the Midwest geriatrics chugging slowly down the fast lanes, deaf to all honkings.’Craftily, MacDonald uses Meyer to write about things that irk him, such as declining literacy. The Mayer speech is too long to reproduce here, but this is a taster: ‘In a nation floundering in functional literacy, sinking into the pre-chewed pulp of television, it heartens me to know that here and there are little groups of younguns who know what an original idea tastes like, who know that the written word is the only possible vehicle for transmitting a complex concept from mind to mind, who constantly flex the muscles of their heds and make them stronger… Nor will these children be victimized by the blurry nonsense of the so-called social sciences. The muscular mind is a cutting tool, and contemporary education seeks to take the edge off it.’Yes, he breaks the rule about characters spouting long swathes of speech, but he seems to get away with it. Because he’s good, very good.
—Nik Morton

Travis McGee is approached by a young artist whose millionaire father was beaten to death in a lay-by a couple of years before. The old man had been dying of cancer, with only a couple of months left to him, and there’s a suspicion that he might have stopped in the lay-by to buy illicit drugs to help him through his last weeks. Travis is hired to find out the truth.His search takes him into the world of motorcycle gangs, and to a film director who made a couple of cheap cult biker movies years before and is now engaged on a seemingly doomed project making a film about hot air balloons.Travis spends a lot of time weaving between bikers, druggies and a long-clawed Hollywood sex-kitten; and a new lady comes into his life in the shape of the lovely Anne Renzetti. We don’t see too much of Meyer after the opening chapters, but there’s a lot going on here all the same, and the final confrontation with the killer is truly frightening. I liked it.
—Rog Rog

Mystery fiction, I've noticed, took a turn for the worse beginning around the mid 60s. I guess the breakdown of so-called barriers let entertainment, including detective fiction,as well as movies, use lazy sniggling references to dope and sex as deep thought and plot devices. Nothing really raunchy, more of a prurient PG-13 view of the world that looks and reads pathetically dated.This book, despite a publication date of 1981, falls into the category. The collection of short stories I just read by MacDonald, from the mid-50's were much much better.Very thin plot, cardboard characters, that polyester culture background, it all adds up to a Waste of Time.
—Todd Stockslager

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