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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
I am not sure why this author does not get more buzz in the Florida contingent of mystery writers - I find his stories very entertaining and always look forward to the next Alex Rutledge

mystery. This one is another interesting story - and it disappopints me that Corcoran gets no press. I checked out of curiosity and saw that the Borders near my house did not carry this book nor did any Borders in St. Louis - you could order it and get it in a week. Obviously the published is not doing much to promote - and I believe the release of this book was delayed for some time - not sure what is going on but I encourage the writer to keep up with this story line.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Air Dance Iguana is absolutely wicked. The twists and turns of the plot along with the unsual and intriguing cast of characters makes it impossible to put the book down. Corcoran has an eerie knack for weaving a tantalizing tapestry revealing the unexpected. A "who done it" that shouldn't be missed.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Another indication that Harriet Klausner does not read all of the books she posts about is her description of Air Dance Iguana as "zany." Despite the uniquely Floridian manner of murder and the title, in tone, the Alex Rutledge books are far closer to John D. MacDonald and Steve Hamilton than Carl Hiaasen and his countless imitators-- which is what someone who only looked at the COVER of this book might mistake it for.

Like Travis McGee, Alex works when he needs to, and enjoys his lifestyle, like Steve Hamilton, the cases are an imposition on his real life. At the heart of this book is Alex's attempt at rescuing his derelict brother. Sure there's humor, but this book is anything but "zany." Check it out if you like MacDonald and Hamilton, and would like something set in Florida that's not a cheap rip-off of Hiaasen like FAR too many other series.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
This was my first Alex Rutledge mystery and I've gone on to buy the rest of Corcoran's catalog. These are great books -- some of the best and most nuanced mystery novels I've ever read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2006
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Alex Rutledge actually gets into action out of Key West, albeit it is just across the seven mile bridge. Maybe it is that Corcoran's soul is in Key West more than most of the many writers based there, but this latest of his tightly plotted and well written novels has a sense of the spirit of the place that I find in few of the others. The author knows his setting and characters (with Alex Rutledge the sometimes crime photographer, sometimes freelancer, pal of "Chicken Neck" - former Key West city detective, now Monroe County Sheriff, Alex's past and present lovers, associates and now rogue brother, Tim) there is a cast appropriate to the Keys. The actual strange mix of legal jurisdictions - Monroe County, State of Florida, City of Key West and other Keys' cities, the Feds with immigration, shore patrol, coast guard and FBI - has made for the sort of tangle of ambitions, secrets and confusions which a crime novelist of Corcoran's skill can exploit to create a great read.

The everpresent signs spotted by every tourist describing the Keys: "A quaint little drinking town with a fishing problem!" are at work here. We first see Tim in custody, outside the Bull and Whistle after a few of their very cold draft beers. The mysterious coincidences of the Keys: lookalikes, chance meetings, odd meetings of e spouses and old friends in saloons or walking along Smathers beach, which all Key residents know happen, may be the greatest stretchers of readers' credulity, but spend a month in Marathon sometime and the reality of such unrealities will sink in. And then there are Keys' jokes. "jackalope" would not stand a chance there. We wonder throughout about the murders by davit that start the novel off - are they some ironic joke. Only at the end will you learn. And it will be worth it. A word of caution Do not skip ahead and spoil it .
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2006
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I have read all of the Alex Rutledge series and if you love Key West these are the books for you. If you do not love Key West get ready to.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2009
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
This time you don't need a relationship chart. But why are all the killings in the Keys related to our hero? A more or less straight ahead hunt for the killer helps the reader turn the pages. The local color is still a big plus. Well done.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2009
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
My wife and I both keep reading Tom Corcoran's novels and they are always great. If you've ever been to Key West his novels take you right back. These are by far the best modern novels set in Key West.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
#1 HALL OF FAMEon November 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
His on and off lover Monroe County Sheriff Department Detective Bobbi Lewis hires freelance photographer Alex Rutledge to take shots at the Little Torch Key crime scene where Kansas Jack Mason was murdered hanging from a davit. Twenty miles away in Marathon another corpse that of Milton Navarre perhaps of Pensacola was hanging from a davit too.

Alex is a bit confused as he is the only person to have seen both apparently related crime scenes; he wonders why Sheriff Liska had two different cops checking each homicide. The prime suspect is Alex's brother Timothy, who he has not seen in seven years, but has now returned. He now has to peel him off the streets of Key West. Though Alex believes Tim is a loser, he refuses to accept that his sibling would kill anyone; not even the mean streets of Cleveland Heights could do that to him. He begins to make inquiries poking for the connection between the victims, which soon leads him back to a 1970s scam from around the time he first arrived to live in Key West.

The latest Rutledge mystery (see OCTOPUS ALIBI) captures the essence of life (and in this case death) on the Keys not just Key West. Alex drives the story line from the moment he ignores the first o'dark call, visits two related murder scenes, picks up his brother, and finally confronts the killer who has a gun aimed at him. Like Alex, fans will wonder what's going on as Tom Corcoran provides a zany solid investigative tale.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Photographer Alex Rutledge thinks he's finally going to have some down time. He's rented his house on Key West to a friend and will housesit at another where he'll have peace and quiet and can kayak all he wants. The problem is that the night before he's due to leave, the phone rings in the middle of the night bringing trouble. Alex's brother Tim is in town, drunk, and unruly. The cops are doing Alex a favor by letting him pick him up rather than throwing him in jail. Eight years earlier Alex had kicked Tim out of Key West for all the trouble and people he'd pissed off. Now Tim has a roommate who drinks just as much and isn't much better off than Tim.

In the meantime, Rutledge is called to photograph a crime scene: a man known as Kansas Jack is hanging from a davit. As soon as he finishes, Sheriff "Chicken Neck" Liska sends Alex with another cop to another scene miles north where a man known as Milton Navarre is also found hanging from a davit. This scene is supervised by Detective Millican who doesn't want a civilian on his crime scene, yet he allows Rutledge enough access to give Liska what he wants: a feel for the crime scene. The only difference Rutledge notices are that the noose knots are reversed from each other.

I appreciated Tom Corcoran taking a moment here to describe how everyone on Key West gets a nickname. For instance, with the two men hanging and known by their nicknames, Corcoran easily works in their origins and importance.

In Kansas Jack's meager possessions is a photo of Pokey Fields, daughter of Horace "Weedy" Fields who sold Alex his home on Dredger Lane years ago. Pokey was standing in front of Alex's home, so why would Kansas Jack have it? Another clue is a silver Zippo lighter with the date 1/12/73, Nevada, R.I. and four sets of initials.

In a strangely unusual way Sheriff Liska is nervous. Liska is not suspicious, not angry, not sluggish or depressed, but his voice quivers with anxiety. He really doesn't want Alex to leave on vacation and deal with these murders away from the scenes. He even asks Alex to be his eyes and ears, on the payroll no less.

Alex declines, and as he drives to his new digs on Little Torch Key, he literally drives by an accident and is waved down the road by a deputy. Yet one more body hung from a davit. The rope was not knotted to a true noose. Lucky Haskins was not lucky hanging from his davit. Alex is even more curious when a new detective shows up at the scene, hired just that week. What was up with Liska that he didn't want to be involved with these crime scenes?

Later the next day Detective Millican drove up to Alex's temporary home and tried to beat answers out of him. Seems there was some funny credit card shenanigans at a gas station a couple of nights ago caught on tape, but it was Tim not Alex, who did the dirty work. Millican wouldn't buy it, and in questioning Alex cuffed in the backseat of his car, Millican causes an accident.

Alex was bruised pretty badly and put up in a local hotel rather than the hospital at his insistence until he could heal enough to return home to climb the steps on the Little Torch Key residence. When he was well enough to wander out of his room, he found an open air bar with the widow Haskins drunk as a skunk who was then escorted home by a "sportman."

His current girlfriend and cop Bobbi Lewis and Alex seem to mix their professional and personal lives fairly well, but even that was tenuous right now. Alex ends up dealing with several of his past girlfriends in this volume, sometimes all at once along with his best friend Sam's live in mate, Marnie, who is a reporter. There is no time for it to feel awkward because by then, they have solved the mystery of the davit hangings and the lighter with the initials and are covering each other's backs.

This book only covers one case yet it is multi-faceted with several deaths connected to it. Many people are involved from years past with the hopes that those facts would stay buried in the past, yet they are bubbling back up all around Key West right now. The book is intricate with many clues and twists turning over each other and tying one to the next. Rutledge takes us along with him every step of the way explaining each clue as it is revealed to him.

I especially enjoyed the ride as one clue revealed the next and that revealed the next and so on until the ultimate conclusion is reached, one I never expected yet one that made perfect sense.

This book truly represents a big step forward in Tom Corcoran's writing. The book is tighter, better, and more complex. I hope Alex continues his Key West antics but finally gets that rest and relaxation he so deserves.
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