Travis McGee, aging and mellowing, is ready to settle down at last with the lusciously tall Gretel (The Empty Copper Sea)--who may just agree to marry him. But--alas and alas--her boss at Bonnie Brae, a fat farm and real estate development, has a fatal bicycle accident one morning, and two days later Gretel is dead of a strange and devastating fever. The autopsy brings Government agents to question McGee and crony Meyer--and McGee soon realizes that his lover was murdered, innocent victim of some Dark Force. Revenge! Following his only real lead to the derelict camp of a religious sect deep in the California mountains, he discovers a terrorist cell of ten with an awesome arsenal. And, using a characteristically solid cover story (he says he's a recently widowed fisherman looking for a lost daughter), McGee lulls the suspicions of the group and then, in a taut few hours, wipes them out, one by one. Revenge is sweet--and here, utterly convincing; so we leave McGee savoring life once more, soon ready, we hope, to give us more of the preaching and poetry, action and introspection, that make up the storytelling bravura of the splendid John D.