| | ALEX RUTLEDGE MYSTERY SERIES
| || Mango Opera (1998)|
From Publishers Weekly
Southern Florida keeps turning out mystery writers. Corcoran's colorful Key West debut shows that there's room for at least one more. Alex Rutledge, longtime Key West resident, earns a precarious living as a photographer whose work includes some crime-site picture taking for the police. Rutledge's laid-back routine is disrupted when estranged girlfriend Annie Minnette shows up with some hastily gathered belongings after her roommate has been found murdered. Rutledge's involvement becomes more direct when additional murders and attempted murders occurAall aimed at women who are part of his somewhat promiscuous past. Rutledge's familiarity with the victims seems to be at the center of a mystery as snarled as a mangrove clump. Untangling the twists proves dangerous and exacting as a parade of memorable characters send Rutledge on a trip down memory lane that includes flashbacks to the Cuban boatlift and dubious characters on both sides of the law. With its sure feel for the Key West that resides beneath the tourist facade and a quirky, hard-edged rhythm pulsing beneath the surface calm, this debut deserves a wide and welcoming audience.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
| || Gumbo Limbo (1999)|
From Library Journal
Key West freelance photographer Alex Rutledge (The Mango Opera) hurries to meet a long-time banker buddy visiting from Chicago, but when he reaches the bar, his friend has disappeared. Alex grows worried when he subsequently recognizes a murder victim as a thug he saw at the same bar. The bad vibes continue after the banker's ex-mistress shows up asking for help: some apparently shady "investment" deal has gone bad. Alex dodges dangerAe.g., arson, burglary, and attempted murderAto find his friend. The colorful Florida background, a laid-back protagonist, and Corcoran's easy-to-read prose provide a welcome escape.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
| || Bone Island Mambo (2001)|
From Publishers Weekly
Key West crime scene photographer Alex Rutledge (The Mango Opera; Gumbo Limbo) returns for his third fast-paced adventure. Someone is recreating a number of bizarre murders dressing victims in drag, making off with heads and our hero is tapped as a main suspect. In clearing his name, Rutledge leads a fine tour of the area, from the Green Parrot bar to fishing flats in the mangrove forests. The best aspect of this novel is summed up in the line, "Key West used to be a quaint drinking village with a fishing problem." Corcoran captures this local atmosphere extremely well he clearly knows the turf (his photographs have appeared on several recordings by Key West mainstay Jimmy Buffett). But the style he uses to make this novel exciting invests every action with the same weight, from opening a beer ("I took the bottle, twisted the cap, spun it into the trash") to Rutledge being chased in his Shelby Mustang by gun-wielding assassins. Corcoran often seems almost postmodern, sitting outside his narrative and noting, "Instead for want of an action word they had messed with us." Or, regarding the convoluted and not very believable solution to the mystery: "`You missed your calling,' I said. `All these cable networks are looking for script writers.' " Sure to please fans of the series and folks who enjoy lightweight Florida crime novels.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
| || Octopus Alibi (2003)|
The murder of a long-missing woman, the death of a mentor, and the suicide of Key West's mayor are revealed on a warm April day. Alex Rutledge, a freelance photographer with ties to city and county law enforcement, first must help friend Sam Wheeler identify a body in Ft. Lauderdale. Hours later, in Key West, Rutledge documents the mayor's demise. He also is forced to confront the death of Naomi Douglas, who encouraged his creative photography. All this on the day before Alex's departure for a big-dollar photo job on Grand Cayman Island.
Home-front troubles compound his dilemmas. Teresa Barga, his housemate, is absorbed by Whitney Randolph, an old college friend with cash, bent morals, and more alibis than an octopus has suckers. Randolph, he learns, has slithered into the suspense, linking himself to both scam and murder victims. The police see no crimes. Only Alex senses foul play. And when out-of-character friends, duplicitous officials, and violence take him to labyrinths of corruption, he is faced with the most dangerous encounter of his life.
| || Air Dance Iguana (2005)|
Lately, Key West is not quite the laid back place that occasional freelance crime-scene-photographer Alex Rutledge prefers. It’s bad enough that the discovery of two dead ex-Navy men one morning?both found swinging on boat lifts twenty miles apart?means grisly work at the indecent hour of 7AM. It’s worse that Alex’s run-in with a chest-thumping new deputy turns out to have ominous consequences when his wayward younger brother turns up in town...and becomes the prime suspect.
Alex knows Tim has messed up his life, but he just can’t believe his brother isn't a killer. As Alex digs deeper, he starts to make connections the cops have missed?but he’s baffled when he finds one of the deceased owns a picture of a young girl who turned to Alex for help many years ago. And when a third man is found swinging on the docks, he knows time is running out for his brother. But what he doesn’t know is that facing the killer may turn out to be the least of his problems...
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