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Gumbo Limbo: An Alex Rutledge Mystery

(An Alex Rutledge Mystery #2)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  602 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Alex Rutledge, freelance and part-time Key West crime scene photographer, awakes to his first day off in months. Late August, the off-season, the dog days. Everything's okay until his phone rings. His old navy buddy, Zack Cahill, now a successful Chicago banker, is in town and, at 8:00 a.m., drunk in Sloppy Joe's. Zack demands that Rutledge join him for a celebratory beer. ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 293 pages
Published November 2000 by Minotaur Books (first published September 13th 1999)
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Showing 1-30
3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  602 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
Slow start.... took a long time to get into.... but once it got going was pretty face paced.
May 17, 2016 rated it liked it
This book was so enjoyable because it portrayed a slice of authentic Key West life; however, there were too many characters who were too similar, and I had a hard time telling them apart. The premise of the story was rather convoluted and not fully explained: I won't give anything away by saying it all hinged on some sort of trust agreement among drug dealers to dole out their ill-gotten profits many years after the fact - a rather silly basis for the storyline, I thought. Nevertheless, Corcoran ...more
Craig Pittman
Jun 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
When I was younger, any time I read a thriller what stood out to me was the plot. If it moved like an express train, it was great. Taking time to set up characters or create a mood or set a scene seemed like a waste of time. But now that I'm older, I really treasure the thrillers that work hard to build a world. Ace Atkins does a superb job of it, and so does Lee Child. The master, I think, is Tom Corcoran. His portrait of Key West makes you really feel like you're there, and the characters he d ...more
Jeffrey Hammerhead
Jun 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: florida-mystery
One of my favorite of the Alex Rutledge series. I love the beginning, "This time I had good intentions." Haven't we all thought that.
Hal Brodsky
Mar 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: collection, own
My first Corcoran book (and his second). The writing is Sam Spade Hard-boiled ummm Key West Beach Bum photographer tough. (Well, it is.)
Corcoran can write and the action moves along and the reader really gets a feel for what living in Key West year round must be like. .....
.... And then about 2/3 of the way through I totally lost track of who was who because Corcoran introduces more characters per 100 pages than Charles Dickens. Then the bad guys begin acting like good guys and the good guys br
Nancy Wilson
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
While not my normal "genteel" mystery this was cool. A bit violent but set in Key West which makes up for a lot. Rutledge makes an interesting hero. This particular story was a bit challenging to follow with lots of twists and turns and humidity. In the end it settled out. I think I'm up for more.
Jul 10, 2017 rated it liked it
This series is a supremely satisfying summer read. Corcoran really puts you in the Florida Keys with the laid back, boozy atmosphere. I'm not sure I entirely followed the plot of this one, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
a good read
Jun 26, 2018 rated it did not like it
I should have abandoned this book after the first couple of chapters.
Julia DeBarrioz
Nov 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I love love LOVE the way Tom Corcoran writes about Key West, and his characters are wonderful. Flawed, real, and still mostly the type of people you'd like to sit down and have a drink with in Louie's Backyard. That said, this book didn't really grab me the way his first Alex Rutledge mystery, The Mango Opera, did. The plot was super convoluted, especially towards the last fifty pages I kind of found myself tuned out. However, I will continue on to #3, because I love the main hero Alex and Corco ...more
Apr 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Not sure if I would have enjoyed this book as much if I wasn't visiting so many of the sites he mentions as I read it. But the writing was good, the characters interesting, and the descriptions vivid, so what the hell. And he's a long-time personal friend of Jimmy Buffett (he shot the covers of many of his albums), so he's earned a pass on his sly dropping of lines from Buffett songs into the text.
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
Hard to follow with all of the underground and cop slang.
Sprinkled liberally with undeveloped characters and old/local? language which caused lack of understanding and interest on my part.
It was work just to try to figure out what all of the seedy, dying off characters were saying and doing to each other.
Sep 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Gumbo Limbo An Alex Rutledge Mystery by Tom Corcoran Gumbo Limbo by Tom Corcoran - I liked this book quite a bit. It had a really good story, it kept me guessing all the way through. I'll be looking forward to reading the next book in this series.
Feb 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Because I am so familiar with Key West I loved reading about Louie's Backyard, Duval St. Sloppy Joe's and could picture everything. However the plot was confusing and so many characters that I was usually lost.
Mar 12, 2016 rated it really liked it

Great mystery set in Key West, Florida. There are a lot of weird/eccentric characters. Alex spends most of the time trying to figure out what's going on, who are the bad guys or good guys. Really good descriptions of Key west.
Kay Wright
Mar 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Any story taking place in Key West is guaranteed to be stuffed with atmosphere, lots of references to famous places. Everything to make the reader relate. But the story is interesting, the puzzle intriguing, the solution a little confusing but acceptable. The hero is pretty neat.
Aug 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Good mystery - and the Keys - this man is a HUGE fan of Jimmy Buffett - and you'll feel the island breezes as he writes.

Some mysteries have characters that aren't human - in this case, the Keys themselves are the non-human character. Straight up mysteries - wonderfully done.
Jun 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
If you are looking for a great beach read, I love this. Having lived in Florida, I love how he writes so that you experience Key West through your senses. I highly recommend brewing a pot of Cafe Bustelo and enjoying this summer!
Mike Oconnor
Apr 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
The plot is thin with too many characters that have nothing to do with the story. The description of Key West is good but IT IS HOT AND STICKY IN THE SUMMER, got it, I dont need it written in every chapter.
Feb 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Oh, YES! I needed a good murder mystery. This one might have been too convoluted to follow every plot twist but I liked the characters enough not to care. Oh, and it was set in Key West in the summer and I can relate
Nov 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
why i even bothered to finish this one, ill never know. the ending wasn't worth it. did like it was set in key west. unique characters.
Dana Lenza-spies
May 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love the Alex Rutledge series by Tom Corcoran. Makes you feel like you are actually in Key West.
Aug 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed the story. I read them out of order, and really liked the first & third books...
Feb 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: key-west, mysteries
I probably should stop reading Corcoran's books because they make me miss Key West, but then I would be missing out on some good mysteries and lovely mental connections to a beautiful place.
D. Norman
Feb 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liked the atmosphere and characters. Plan to read the whole series.
Nov 17, 2012 marked it as to-read
I registered a book at!
Nov 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Key West with Sloppy Joe's and the Conch Train and a great mystery.
Aug 12, 2010 rated it liked it
Really like the way Corcoran captures the feel of old Key West. I can see how I'll like reading this series during the cold Indiana winter.
Rick Taylor
Nov 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
Love Key West and the location writing, but as a mystery it's cluttered with too many undeveloped characters and confusing and uninspired plot lines.
Mar 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
A fun read while in Key West for a few days.
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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.

Other books in the series

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