"Triple in Paradise" by Tom Corcoran (Dredgers Lane, LLC, Kindle, $2.99)
Full disclosure: Tom Corcoran is one of my favorite mystery writers. Only a few notches below James Lee Burke and Elmore Leonard.
Corcoran's tales featuring a Key West photographer who solves crimes have captured the panache of our southernmost city in books ranging from "The Mango Opera" to "The Quick AdiÃ³s (Times Six)."
So I was particularly delighted to stumble across a collection of three short stories by Tom titled "Triple in Paradise." Not featuring his usual character, the freelance photographer Alex Rutledge, these are a trio of stand-alone stories that take place from Key West to South Florida.
In one, a man seeking revenge for his brother's death takes a cruise with the killer. The stopover in Key West offers a chance to even the score.
In another, locals in a Key West bar discuss a robbery, perhaps with more inside knowledge than they should have.
In the third, an ex-con meets up with the ex-cop who put him away.
Although Corcoran now lives on the mainland, he obviously left his eyes in Key West. The prose has the visual style of a true-life photographer. Whether writing that "storms in the Keys blow in fast, hit hard and fade quickly," or "under the flickering beer sign, oily rainwater crested the curb and spread across the fissured sidewalk," or "a hokey tourist shop ... rubber alligators, batch-priced postcards, shell necklaces, authentic Key West ashtrays," you know the author has seen it with his own lens.
As a Key West resident, I can attest to the camera-like authenticity of "Triple in Paradise."
As a reader, I can attest to its satisfying entertainment.
by Shirrel Rhoades
"Green to Go" by John H. Cunningham (Green Street Publishing, $3.99 eBook)
What do stolen treasure, Cuban secret police and Jimmy Buffett's old plane have in common?
All are part of the plotline of Key West writer John H. Cunningham's latest Buck Reilly Adventure, "Green to Go."
Readers have, we're told, come to love John H. Cunningham and his Buck Reilly adventure series, which also includes "Red Right Return." In the latest, "Green to Go," good news turns to bad real fast and the bad just keeps coming.
Unexpected contents of his parents' Swiss bank account offer Buck a chance to dig himself out of a hole he's been in since this recession first bit. All he has to do is recover the treasure maps and clues he lost at sea.
Those plans get put on hold when a friend is accused of orchestrating the biggest theft in Key West's sordid history and the FBI uses Buck's past against him to demand he search for the thieves who fled aboard a 100-year-old schooner.
No good deed goes unpunished and Buck is dogged by greed and double-crosses from the Keys to the Bahamas and points south. His hunt for the missing treasure pits him against a crazed mercenary, Peruvian rebels, rogue Cuban secret police and a beautiful woman torn between turning him over to the authorities or succumbing to his easy charm.
Locals and visitors both will relish the appearances of Blue Heaven, La Concha, Pepe's, Margaritaville and more.
Cunningham will host a series of signings in Key West during the Meeting of the Minds' meet-the-authors event in early November. On Nov. 1: from 9 to 11 a.m. and from 1 to 3 and 5 to 7 p.m. at Casa Marina. On Nov. 2: from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at Casa Marina; and from 1 to 3 p.m. at Smokin' Tuna, 4 Charles St. along with authors Michael Haskins and Andrew Forsyth. And on Nov. 3 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Casa Marina.