Bone Island Mambo (Alex Rutledge Series #3)

Bone Island Mambo (Alex Rutledge Series #3)

4.5 9
by Tom Corcoran
     
 

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A pleasant Key West Sunday in January turns into a tropical nightmare.

It's early. The tourists are still asleep. Freelance and part-time crime photographer Alex Rutledge bicycles near-vacant streets, taking pictures for his own enjoyment. But he's challenged at a restoration district construction site, accused by a developer of snapping photos for an expose.

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Overview

A pleasant Key West Sunday in January turns into a tropical nightmare.

It's early. The tourists are still asleep. Freelance and part-time crime photographer Alex Rutledge bicycles near-vacant streets, taking pictures for his own enjoyment. But he's challenged at a restoration district construction site, accused by a developer of snapping photos for an expose.

An hour later, the city police request Rutledge's forensic photo expertise. A murder victim has been found - at the same work site. Detective Dexter Hayes, Jr., is caustic and inept, and Rutledge is dismissed before he completes his work. An hour later, the county sheriff, Chicken Neck Liska, asks Alex to photograph another murder victim, this time on nearby Stock Island.

Rutledge soon suspects that the murders are linked - illogically, through him. He can't divulge the link to his lover, Teresa Barga, for fear of compromising her police media liaison job. Alex questions the detective's blundering, while the cops begin to link him to the crimes. A powerful real estate broker offers Rutledge an odd, lucrative job. Friends are threatened. He and Teresa dodge gunshots. Yet there is no identifiable antagonist, no motive, no reason for Rutledge to be a hub for evil. To protect himself and his friends, to avoid arrest - unsuccessfully, at first - he must scratch for information on an island where few tell the truth.

At the core of Bone Island Mambo is betrayal, retribution, and revenge. The plot twists in surprising directions, and Corcoran's characters are true characters, never as laid-back as they first appear. Visit Key West, and hang on for dear life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Brilliantly written"—Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Tom Corcoran means business...You won't think of Key West as quite so laid-back again."—Miami Herald

Janet Evanovich
Bone Island Mambo starts fast and never lets up. Key West's crazies are a hoot, and Tom Corcoran's plot and range of characters add to a series that won't quit. Treat yourself to an exotic setting, laughs, and suspense.
Steve Hamilton
Tom Corcoran knows the human heart, sure as hell knows how to write a good book, and knows Key West - a setting so real you'll get a sunburn.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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. (May 21) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Freelance Key West photographer Alex Rutledge (Gumbo Lindo, 1999, etc.), who keeps his Kawasaki tuned and his beers lined up by filling in for the police department's regular crime-scene photographer when he's unavailable, is called on to document two different corpses who not only share the same death-day, but the same birthday, the same vital statistics, even the same name: Richard Engram. How can that be? It all ties in with Key West's leading criminal enterprise: construction rip-offs, with side excursions to a stolen-car depot, several drug-distribution centers, the backseat of local reporter Marnie Dunwoody's car, her brother Butler's building site, and setups too numerous to mention, which not only make ill-tempered, money-loving Heidi Norquist look bad but make her fancy Jag disappear. Bodies go down quicker than the margaritas at Jimmy Buffett's place. Alex is tailed (natch), pummeled (of course), and loved (this is the sex-drenched tropics, after all) by the queen-sized Teresa Barga. By the time sunset rolls around, Alex has fought his way through zoning irregularities, permit fixing, and smart-mouthing from ex-girlfriends—not to mention as many clues as six-packs. Corcoran's staccato riffs (who needs nouns anyway?), mildly entertaining rejoinders, and Key West setting (which he gets dead-on, the chickens scratching under the tables at Blue Heaven to the traffic upheaval on Caroline Street) make this prime hammock-fodder, and about as logical as your average conch's thought processes.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312980085
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
08/28/2002
Series:
Alex Rutledge Series, #3
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
341
Sales rank:
748,635
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.78(h) x 0.94(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Brilliantly written"—Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Tom Corcoran means business...You won't think of Key West as quite so laid-back again."—Miami Herald

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