The Mango Opera

Tom Corcoran, Author
Tom Corcoran, Author Thomas Dunne Books $22.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-18628-9
Mass Market Paperbound - 304 pages - 978-0-312-96988-2
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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 occur--all 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. (June)
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