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The Mango Opera (An Alex Rutledge Mystery #1)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  520 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
Although he prefers magazine work, freelance photographer Alex Rutledge won't turn down an occasional crime scene shoot for the City of Key West Police Department. But when a string of murders takes his viewfinder into strangely familiar territory, Alex's mellow island lifestyle shatters. One after another, someone is killing women who have intimately crossed Alex Rutledge
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Paperback, 295 pages
Published September 15th 1999 by Minotaur Books (first published 1998)
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David
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011, florida
I pride myself on providing useful reviews on all forms of entertainment - books, movies, music. I like it or I don't, and I can tell you why. I don't think I can be very helpful here. This book has all the ingredients of my type of book - an intricate plot, the most vivid details of Key West life I've seen in print (having been there really brings out the details), poetic writing, colorful characters - but in the end, I just didn't care for it. I can't really say why. Perhaps I just didn't take ...more
Teresa
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reading this while going through Hurricane Irma and it's aftermath made me see what a treasure is our Key West to the state. There was so much about the locale that is bet that you could wander each street mentioned. The lead character is a photographer who sometimes get a called to crime scenes and becomes wrapped up in old girlfriends being killed.
Melissa
I really wanted to like this book, but I just had a hard time getting into it. The Key West setting was great, but other than that it was a bit difficult to push myself to finish it. I had trouble keeping all of the characters (cops and ex-girlfriends) straight, the ending was convoluted, and some of the writing was hard to follow. I just couldn't get into the perspective of the main character at all. I would possibly try the second one, but it's pretty far down my list.
Martin Horner
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books
This book is the 1st book in the author's series featuring Alex Rutledge photographer, part time detective AND full fledged Key West insider/resident!! It was the author's first but it was my second novel in the series (I have previously read/reviewed Gumbo Limbo) I was as thrilled with this novel as the previous one I read.

Mr. Corcoran is a master of mixing a cast of eclectic sometimes oddball characters with an ever evolving twisting plot. He is able to blend all the ingredients into a genuin
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Dustin
May 16, 2017 rated it liked it
All the Florida details and eccentric characters of Hiaasen or Tim Dorsey, without all the zaniness. Hard-boiled, in a laid back sort of way.
Terry
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
It was like I was back in Key West!
Bernice
Dec 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Best part of the book is the key west details, i also enjoyed the main character, i will try another in the series
Andrew
Dec 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Points for: interesting characters and a reference to an obscure Michael Franks song.

Deductions for too many interesting characters, such that it was hard to keep them all straight, and a plot line that was hard to follow. I had to read the reveal slowly and carefully just to make sure I understood who was who and did what to whom and why. Plus in the end, I didn't really care a whole lot about the outcome, so I guess that would mean the story didn't drive itself too much for me. The reveal seem
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Craig Pittman
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read one of Corcoran's later entries in the Alex Rutledge series, "The Octopus Alibi," and liked it so much I decided to go back and try the very first one in the series. This is it, and it's a corker. Corcoran, who spent years living in the Keys, knows every nook and cranny of quirky "Cayo Huwso," and that knowledge informs every page of this book.

The set-up: Rutledge is a freelance photographer who sometimes shoots crime scene pictures for the cops. Meanwhile he's having trouble with his on
...more
Rick
Mar 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime, florida
I didn't realize that there was a genre of murder/mystery books that was solely centered around Florida, but alas Tom Corcoran and a host of others have profited by churning out paperback after paperback pulp centered around the Florida life. This book reeks of a debut novel - it was clearly heavily edited by a heavy handed editor. Sometimes the paragraphs lose their train of thought right in the middle or kick off without any context. The story involves too many characters and in the end the ma ...more
Pam
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-books-read
AUTHOR Corcoran, Tom
TITLE: The Mango Opera
DATE READ 06/12/16
RATING 4/B
GENRE/ PUB DATE/PUBLISHER / # OF PAGES Mystery/ 1998 / St. Martin's / 295 pgs
SERIES/STAND-ALONE: #1 Alex Rutledge series
CHARACTERS Alex Rutledge/ free lance photographer
TIME/PLACE: 1998, Key West, FL
FIRST LINES "Rutledge, I have to move back in."
COMMENTS: These books have been on my shelf for a long time. I am very fond of Florida books and did enjoy the setting of Key West. If it wasn't for the setting not sure I would contin
...more
Carolyn
Oct 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I'm not quite sure how to describe this, but Corcoran's writing style makes it very hard to understand what was actually being said - kind of jargon, euphamisitc style. Phrases like "I floated some anguish over that woman", "If I'm wrong they'll all figure I'm two degrees short of a right turn" and "The dummy got caught with a briefcase full of blow and had to go to camp". As the entire book was littered with such phrases, it became quite distracting and hard to follow the actual plot. I don't k ...more
Emily Higgins
Oct 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suspense
Freelance photographer Alex Rutledge frequently takes crime scene photos for the Key West PD. Called to the scene of a murder, he realizes the victim looks a lot like his ex-girlfriend. He also hears about a similar murder in the area of another woman who was also his ex-girlfriend. Convinced that a series of murders have something to do with his past love life, he becomes intent on uncovering the identity of the killer.
Julia DeBarrioz
Jun 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'd searched high and low for a good fiction featuring Key West, and finally stumbled on this in a walgreens on Roosevelt. so glad I did! It is colorful and vibrant as the island itself. The prose reads like poetry at times, and the whodunit kept me turning page after page. Corcoran gets people-the good, the bad, the ugly, and the weird, and his truthful insight into that odd creature called human really made this an excellent read. I look forward to continuing the series.
Mary Sue
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Key West. No need to say more. Tom Corcoran nails it. We have only visited, but Corcoran describes the geography, weather, atmosphere, and attitude so well that I instantly could feel I was back in town. We are also treated to a sampling of life on the other keys. This is a complex book with many characters including our photographer hero. The star of book was the island of Key West. Looking forward to more adventures by this author and about Alex Rutledge.
Dawnie
Sep 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
I feel kinda silly having waited this long to read these as I'm enjoying them so much. I love it even more that they're set in KW and its easy to imagine myself there with Alex as he tools around town. Though that boy never slows down and it makes me somewhat tired that we just can't stay home at his house once in a while!
Chuck
May 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Our hero is Alex Rutledge. He is a freelance, part time crime site
photographer who turns amateur sleuth when his girl friend's room mate is
found murdered. Pretty good story but not my favorite genre.
Tom Long
Jul 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Corcoran's first in the series begins to tighten up near the end but the plot seemed a bit overly complex for the genre. This slowed the pace. A good start to the series, but I'm glad to have read some of his later work. I already know things are only going to get better.
Mimi
Oct 23, 2008 rated it it was ok
I had great hopes but this murder mystery set in the Keys and Miami was a disappointment. Too much language and sex talk without purpose unless all people that live in the Keys are like that which I don't know because I've never been there.
Catnaz68
Jul 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Tom Corcoran really knows the Florida Keys, and the details of locations, trees, streets, bars, etc are so enjoyable to read while actually living in the Keys. I look forward to reading more of his stories, and exploring more local areas that he writes about
Emily
Sep 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Carl Hiassen
Recommended to Emily by: Publishers Weekly review, years ago
Shelves: mystery, re-read
First time I read this one, it made me want to visit Key West. This time, I was in Key West. Male fantasy, but still good fun. Tom Corcoran does a fabulous job of painting a place and basically making it one of the characters, and his characterizations of people are really good, too.
Angie
Oct 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Didn't like any of the characters, and only finished it to find out "who done it".
Jeffrey Hammerhead
Jun 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: florida-mystery
A good read that has a nice Key West feel.
Pattie
Mar 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, travel
very evocative of Key West - as someone else mentioned, you can picture where he is at any given time.
Chris Rollison
Dec 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: florida
Good book, lots of characters that get confusing, but if you are familiar with Key West the book places you all over the island. Makes me want to head back.
Sue
Feb 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mysteries, key-west
Really enjoyed the first in the Alex Rutledge mysteries - Key West details abound, but not so much that they detract from the story. Makes me want to go to key West sooner rather than later.
D. Norman
It was OK. I got a little confused with all the characters and the plot was way too convoluted. I'll try one more of his before I decide to continue or drop it.
Frederick
Jun 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
A really good book. Just what a mystery should be. Great charactets, great suspense, a great read.
Wanda
Aug 25, 2012 rated it liked it
A bit convaluted.
Sandie
Couldn't get into
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Tom Corcoran first moved to Florida in 1970. He has been a disc jockey, bartender, AAA travel counselor, U. S. Navy officer, screenwriter, freelance photographer, automotive magazine editor, computer graphic artist, and journalist.
More about Tom Corcoran...

Other Books in the Series

An Alex Rutledge Mystery (7 books)
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  • Bone Island Mambo (Alex Rutledge Series #3)
  • Octopus Alibi: An Alex Rutledge Mystery
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  • Hawk Channel Chase
  • The Quick Adios (Times Six)

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