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Customer Review

on June 8, 2003
Of all the major "Keys" writers, Corcoran seems least frequent in publication, and this pays off in well written novels, or at least fast moving novels. He really is fun to read. Additionally, if you are "into" Key West, he's your writer. While there are actually two trips up and down to Miami, and a couple of "off island" forays, this book is centered in and plays on the ambience of that "last place in America." Alex Rutledge, Corcoran's photographer hero, tools up and down Simonton on his Cannondale or strolls the sidewalks of Duval, avoiding the overflow from Sloppy Joe's, dodging into Captain Tony's around the corner for an early beer. Certainly the Key West life style. There are many other little treasures: remembered sidewalk restaurants, cascades of bouganvillia on corners, the ocean mist, happy hour at Hog's Breath, regularly painted empty buildings. These are the observations of someone who knows the streets over time.
Dirty deeds in this novel, surprise, are linked to real estate development and illegal immigration. The two plots work, but are not systematically linked to each other. These are mingled with the unraveling of a relationship between Rutledge and his "roomie" Teresa, that not unfrequent disaster that comes about when two decide to live as one and abandon the freedom of separate apartments. As the novel drew to a close, I had the feeling that there were three distinct stories, all joined at Alex Rutledge. Still, both mystery plots are exciting, and enough to keep anyone reading the novel awake an extra hour. The romance ends, as is common in "Keys" novels with a promise of future solace.
For those who remember the days of clearing the pier of ships for sunset, or "tank" island (before the "condofying" of the island perimeter) wise contemporaries who bought Conch cottages for a song seem just a little long in the tooth. Such folk, also, have to be in their mid to late fifties and for we less lucky mortals self-knowledge forms plausability questions. One bit of K.W. zaniness, which someone eventually will seriously propose is a developer's Malory Square Dome with recorded projected sunsets to allow tourists to view the ten best in history. No mention of a guaranteed green flash, however.
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