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Tom Corcoran books in order

Tom Corcoran is an American author of suspense and mystery novels, most notably the Alex Rutledge Series.

He has also written a number of non-fiction titles, most of which are about muscle cars.

A resident of Florida, Corcoran first moved to The Sunshine State in 1970, and lived in the Lower Keys for more than fifteen years.

As such, it comes as no surprise that his books are primarily set in the Florida Keys.

Prior to becoming an author, Corcoran worked as a disc jockey, taco vendor, bartender, AAA travel counselor, U.S. Navy officer, screenwriter, freelance photographer, and graphic artist.

He also worked as an editor for “Mustang Monthly,” a magazine for automotive restorers.

Corcoran is the owner of Dredgers Lane, LLC, which has published several South Florida related books, including “The Young Wrecker on the Florida Reef” by Richard Meade Bache and “PAPA: Hemingway in Key West” by James McLendon.

More about Tom Corcoran

Genres: Mystery, Non-fiction, Suspense

United States


Non Series

  • Crime Almost Pays (2015)

Alex Rutledge

  1. The Mango Opera (1998)
  2. Gumbo Limbo (1999)
  3. Bone Island Mambo (2001)
  4. Octopus Alibi (2003)
  5. Air Dance Iguana (2005)
  6. Hawk Channel Chase (2009)
  7. The Quick Adios (Times Six) (2012)
  8. Guava Moon Revenge (2018)
  9. The Cayo Hueso Maze (2020)
  10. A Step Beyond Chaos (2022)


  1. Triple in Paradise (2012)


  1. Shelby Mustang (Muscle Car Color History) (1992)
  2. Mustang 1964 1/2 - 73 Restoration Guide (Motorbooks Workshop) (1992)
  3. Hoofbeats: The Pulse of the Mustang World (1994)
  4. Key West Collection (1999)
  5. Ultimate Muscle: GTO Shelby Mustang Hemi (2002)
  6. Muscle Car Legends (2002)
  7. Jimmy Buffett: The Key West Years (2006)
  8. Key West in Black and White (2007)

Detailed book overview

Non Series

Crime Almost Pays

Key West has new private eyes on its streets, and Tom Corcoran returns with his eighth novel, a spin-off from his popular Alex Rutledge mystery series. Both longtime fans and newcomers to Corcoran are sure to enjoy Crime Almost Pays, starring an offbeat pair of private eyes. 

Dubbie Tanner, a man of substance who used to live in his car, and Wiley Fecko, who once drank and slept in the weeds, are now Southernmost Aristocratic Investigations. While they call themselves The Aristocrats, certain members of law enforcement have been heard calling them the Bumsnoops.

The rookie investigators have a case in their tropical in-box—and they are over their heads from the start. Rutledge plays no part here—but his friend Key West Detective Beth Watkins must deal with murders, street fights, an attempted kidnapping and a flaky federal agent.

The Aristocrats—who now live in and work out of a home bought by Tanner—are hired for a simple task, but the pay is far too generous and the job goes haywire. By helping a stranger, Tanner draws Fecko and their lovely friend Kim Salazar, a Key West cab driver, into a crossfire of intrigue, dirty tricks, scams and potential double-cross. It gets worse. It gets ugly.

Cuban tourism, island crazies, typical greed, wealthy fathers, good cops, fearful cops and—okay—there’s a car chase…

Author: Tom Corcoran
First Release: 2015
ISBN: 978-1940214047
Publisher: Dredgers Lane

Alex Rutledge

The Mango Opera

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's path. Maybe it's a coincidence. Maybe it's a conspiracy. Or maybe he's crazy. But the connection marks Alex as the prime suspect in a case so hot it's drawn in the county sheriff, the FBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

Author: Tom Corcoran
First Release: 1998
ISBN: 978-1250077516
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Gumbo Limbo

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. When Alex arrives at the bar, eight minutes later, Cahill is gone.

The day continues downhill. A high-noon murder in the tourist district, the ransacked apartment of a local bartender, and the chance encounter of Abby Womack, Cahill's ex-mistress, combine to convince Alex that Zach Cahill's disappearance may be linked to all of these events. An overnight fire and a drive-by shooting the next morning amplify the strangeness and danger.

By calling in favors from a crew of Key West characters, stepping aside of law enforcement, and traveling to New Orleans in an attempt to help his friend, Rutledge will fall deep into a mysterious range war, a fight for the profits from a twenty-year-old smuggling deal.

Author: Tom Corcoran
First Release: 1999
ISBN: 978-1250062529
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Bone Island Mambo

A pleasant Key West Sunday in January turns into a tropical nightmare.

It's early. The tourists are still asleep. Freelance and part-time crime photographer Alex Rutledge bicycles near-vacant streets, taking pictures for his own enjoyment. But he's challenged at a restoration district construction site, accused by a developer of snapping photos for an expose.

An hour later, the city police request Rutledge's forensic photo expertise. A murder victim has been found - at the same work site. Detective Dexter Hayes, Jr., is caustic and inept, and Rutledge is dismissed before he completes his work. An hour later, the county sheriff, Chicken Neck Liska, asks Alex to photograph another murder victim, this time on nearby Stock Island.

Rutledge soon suspects that the murders are linked - illogically, through him. He can't divulge the link to his lover, Teresa Barga, for fear of compromising her police media liaison job. Alex questions the detective's blundering, while the cops begin to link him to the crimes. 

A powerful real estate broker offers Rutledge an odd, lucrative job. Friends are threatened. He and Teresa dodge gunshots. Yet there is no identifiable antagonist, no motive, no reason for Rutledge to be a hub for evil. To protect himself and his friends, to avoid arrest - unsuccessfully, at first - he must scratch for information on an island where few tell the truth.

Author: Tom Corcoran
First Release: 2001
ISBN: 978-1250062499
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Octopus Alibi

The murder of a long-missing woman, the death of a mentor, and the suicide of Key West's mayor are revealed on a warm April day. Alex Rutledge, a freelance photographer with ties to city and county law enforcement, first must help friend Sam Wheeler identify a body in Ft. Lauderdale. Hours later, in Key West, Rutledge documents the mayor's demise. He also is forced to confront the death of Naomi Douglas, who encouraged his creative photography. All this on the day before Alex's departure for a big-dollar photo job on Grand Cayman Island.

Home-front troubles compound his dilemmas. Teresa Barga, his housemate, is absorbed by Whitney Randolph, an old college friend with cash, bent morals, and more alibis than an octopus has suckers. Randolph, he learns, has slithered into the suspense, linking himself to both scam and murder victims. The police see no crimes. Only Alex senses foul play. And when out-of-character friends, duplicitous officials, and violence take him to labyrinths of corruption, he is faced with the most dangerous encounter of his life.

Author: Tom Corcoran
First Release: 2003
Ebook: B00BU40QDG
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Air Dance Iguana

Two men, twenty miles apart, are killed in the same strange way on a quiet summer morning in the Florida Keys. Forensic photographer Alex Rutledge finds that he may be the only person interested in pursuing justice, especially when his brother becomes a key suspect.

Alex connects the current-day murders to a thirty-year-old scam amidst revenge smoldering since the Nixon years. He races time to thwart a final killing and, if possible, to prove his brother's innocence.

Author: Tom Corcoran
First Release: 2005
Ebook: B002T24SX2
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Hawk Channel Chase

It is mid-October in tropical Key West, a break between the summer and winter tourist seasons. Alex Rutledge, home two days from an advertising job in the Bahamas, is asked to investigate the disappearance of a young woman. With few skills as a private eye and no desire to learn the trade, his decision to decline is easy. Until a close friend asks that he reconsider.

A freelance photographer who loves beach scenery and easy schedules and who dreads his occasional law enforcement evidence work, Rutledge must confront the private investigator job with little but instinct to guide himself. Alex digs in only to regret every step, every fact that comes his way on the ocean and in the streets of Key West. To confuse matters, on his first day of the P. I. grind, a man is found dead in a neighboring home.

At first considered a suspect, Alex later is asked to take crime scene photos with no body in place. Meanwhile a Lower Keys crime scene is closed to media and local police, open only to secretive federal agents. The questions and perils multiply. And there is still that young woman who never came home...

Author: Tom Corcoran
First Release: 2009
ISBN: 978-0984456666
Publisher: Dredgers Lane
The Quick Adios (Times Six)

It is January in Key West, and freelance photographer Rutledge is summoned by his lover, city detective Beth Watkins, to a double-murder scene in The Tideline condo near Smathers Beach. When he arrives, cameras in hand, Alex is asked to leave. There is no explanation given.

Within an hour he is offered another photo job, this time to document an office building in the Sarasota area. He flies north with the client later that day only to find confusion and murder on that end, too. The main problem in both locations, Alex quickly learns, is the abundance of suspects.

Rutledge has no desire to be an investigator, and much prefers his work for ad agencies and travel magazines. But he is driven by circumstances and the death of a friend to analyze and act. In each case his photography helps to both create and answer questions, and his tenacity takes him to places that police cannot go. It also takes him, his friend Sam Wheeler, and Detective Watkins to situations that they may not survive.

Author: Tom Corcoran
First Release: 2012
ISBN: 978-0984456697
Publisher: Dredgers Lane
Guava Moon Revenge

Alex is back…He did not want to be. A long-awaited vacation in Grand Cayman ends too soon for Rutledge and Detective Beth Watkins when Beth learns that someone has killed her houseguest, Elaine Ogilvy. They return quickly to Key West and, from the moment of their arrival, events suggest they might be in danger as well.

A photographer who prefers ad agency and magazine jobs, Alex has no training in police work. Still, he often gets drawn into Florida Keys investigations. Monroe County Sheriff, Fred Chicken Neck Liska, has Alex’s back (usually), and The Aristocrats—off-kilter private eyes Dubbie Tanner and Wiley Fecko—provide off-the-books surveillance, background checks and info gathering. Everyone knows that success is not guaranteed.

The victim’s father, Parke Ogilvy, whom Watkins knew long ago, comes to the island and offers the names of the ex-lovers of his daughter, one of whom could be in the Florida Keys. DNA crime evidence, a second murder, threats against friends and, for Alex, a solid link to events in the past boost the peril. Even with law enforcement at full force, Rutledge senses that only his actions will lead to a crime solution.

Author: Tom Corcoran
First Release: 2018
Publisher: Dredgers Lane
The Cayo Hueso Maze

A 2:00 am call from the Key West Police Department awakens Alex and his friend, Detective Beth Watkins. Beth hurries off to investigate a suspicious death in the New Town area, and thus begins a seven-day maze of threats, more deaths without culprits or clues, and close friends in peril or under suspicion. A professional magazine and ad agency photographer, Rutledge never goes looking for police work. But it finds him by way of his old friend, Monroe County Sheriff, Fred Chicken-Neck Liska. 

With help from The Aristocrats, offbeat private eyes Dubbie Tanner and Wiley Fecko, who provide creative info gathering, Alex has built a reputation for crime solution. Neighbors, strangers, strange witnesses, and a collection of photographs help to unravel puzzles generated by bad actors in Key West and the Lower Keys. When the cops are stymied and alibis are valid, only an off-the-wall approach will succeed. If you can find the right wall...

Author: Tom Corcoran
First Release: 2020
Publisher: Dredgers Lane
A Step Beyond Chaos

A Saturday stroll on Duval, camera in hand, leads Alex Rutledge to helping Key West Police Detective Dexter Hayes in checking out the scene where a suspected heart attack victim shot a handgun to draw help. Meanwhile, Alex’s friend, Detective Beth Watkins, investigates a drive-by shooting in the Old Town area. Thus begins a string of odd deaths with few clues, little evidence, and unrelenting pressure.

A freelance magazine and ad agency photographer, Rutledge doesn’t go searching for police work. But the combo of his insight and ready help from The Aristocrats—offbeat private eyes Dubbie Tanner and Wiley Fecko—has built him a solid reputation for crime solution. When things look helpless, he gets the call.

Close friends, friends of friends, photographic clues, murderers killing murderers, and a growing list of suspects challenge the police in Key West and the Sheriff’s Office in the Lower Keys. When the jumble of crimes and criminals—living and dead—reaches a step beyond chaos, Rutledge wonders whether a calm approach will work better than a gun battle or a car chase. Maybe it won’t.

Author: Tom Corcoran
First Release: 2022
Ebook: B0B5YMM39P
Publisher: Dredgers Lane


Triple in Paradise

Three short stories by Tom Corcoran, the author of the Florida Keys-based Alex Rutledge mystery novels - although Alex does not appear in these tales. These crime stories are set in Miami, the Upper Keys and Key West. Good and bad weather, good and bad people and questionable judgments all lead to surprising twists and endings.

Author: Tom Corcoran
First Release: 2012
ISBN: 978-0984456680
Publisher: Triple in Paradise


Shelby Mustang (Muscle Car Color History)

A sensational history of the mighty Shelby Mustangs, from the raw 65s to the muscular 70s. All the inside details of development, production and special features - plus over 70 color shots of the best Shelby Mustangs around. Street and strip, stock and high-performance, the Hertz cars, and more. The complete history of the Shelby Mustangs by the editor of Mustang Monthly.

Author: Tom Corcoran
First Release: 1992
ISBN: 978-0879386207
Publisher: Motorbooks
Mustang 1964 1/2 - 73 Restoration Guide (Motorbooks Workshop)

This ultimate book of knowledge on Ford's famous pony car has been updated to include all models through 1973. A technical reference source for an authentic restoration, judging parts and options originality, and deciphering serial numbers and data plate codes. Packed with 1,000+ photos, this book covers all first-generation Mustangs, from the earliest 1964 1/2 and 1965 models up through 1973.

NB: Co-authored with Earl Davis.

Author: Tom Corcoran
First Release: 1992
ISBN: 978-0760305522
Publisher: Motorbooks
Hoofbeats: The Pulse of the Mustang World

A collection from the pages of Mustang monthly.

Author: Tom Corcoran
First Release: 1994
ISBN: 978-0964173507
Publisher: The Backlash Press
Key West Collection

When Dorothy Raymer retired from the Key West Citizen, the editor of the local weekly, Solares Hill, asked her to write about her crazier times on the island. He wanted articles longer and more colorful than the daily could publish. Dorothy took to her new task with a sense of humor, a large helping of mischief, and great insight to the Island City's social scene. 

This book collects 25 of those articles. Subjects as varied as guest rides on Navy submarines, legendary houses of ill repute, the author's close friendship with Tennessee Williams, beach nudity, street people, and Harry Truman offer a broad scope on recent Key West history. Included are a dozen images by noted photographer and mystery writer Tom Corcoran.

NB: In collaboration with Dorothy Raymer.

Author: Tom Corcoran
First Release: 1999
ISBN: 978-0964173545
Publisher: The Ketch & Yawl Press
Ultimate Muscle: GTO Shelby Mustang Hemi

The Pontiac GTO, the Carroll Shelby - designed Ford Mustangs, and Chrysler's Hemi V-8 engine changed the automotive world forever. 

From the street to the track, these three elements came together and helped to propel the muscle car phenomenon. They became symbols of the era, and of our culture during the 1960s and 1970s. 

These cars raised the bar for speed, style, and performance, pushing the limits of power from their mid-sized engines. Loaded with archival images, period advertisements, and gorgeous color photos of perfect restorations, the authors bring together their expert research to tell the story of these untouchable cars. Hang on tight, as Ultimate Muscle pulls you into the design rooms, race shops, drive-ins, and drag strips of the muscle car era. 

Combines three of MBI's most popular Muscle Car Color Histories in one 384 page book.- Hemi (0-87938-537-5)- GTO 9164-1967 (0-87938-539-1)- Shelby Mustang (0-87938-620-7)'

NB: Co-authored with Anthony Young and Paul Zazarine.

Author: Tom Corcoran
First Release: 2002
ISBN: 978-0760314876
Publisher: Motorbooks
Muscle Car Legends

All things muscle cars.

NB: Co-authored with Anthony Young and Paul Zazarine.

Author: Tom Corcoran
First Release: 2002
ISBN: 978-0681890572
Publisher: Lowe & B. Hould
Jimmy Buffett: The Key West Years

Written by Tom Corcoran, Jimmy's longtime photographer and co-lyricist of "Cuban Crime of Passion" and Fins," the 64-page trade paperback includes over three dozen photos from 1971 onward. It's the perfect handbook for fans and Key West visitors.

Plenty of "stories we can tell" and details about JB's life away from the rock-and-roll trail. Readers will gain insight to song lyrics, lifestyle, hangouts, and the 35-year love affair between Jimmy Buffett and the city at the end of road.

Author: Tom Corcoran
First Release: 2006
ISBN: 978-0978894900
Publisher: The Ketch & Yawl Press
Key West in Black and White

Over the years, Florida novelist Tom Corcoran provided photos for seven Jimmy Buffett album and CD packages. Corcoran also has been photographing Key West for more than thirty years. This high quality book collects over 160 images of buildings, boats, street scenes, old signs, beaches and businesses. The sharp pictures and short anecdotes capture the unique spirit of Key West and celebrate a distinct period of change. 

Many subjects are off the beaten track, so the book is more for true fans of the island than for tourism promotion. To honor the launch of this book in 2007, sixty-five framed photographs were displayed at the Custom House Museum of the Key West Art and Historical Society. The introduction is by well-known novelist and journalist Randy Wayne White.

Author: Tom Corcoran
First Release: 2007
ISBN: 978-0978894955
Publisher: The Ketch & Yawl Press