O'Neil, Vincent H.

Frank Cole
O'Neil, Vincent H. - Florida Authors Murder in Exile (2006)
From Publishers Weekly
When Frank Cole's computer business goes bankrupt in O'Neil's fast-paced debut, the judge in the case unexpectedly rules that any money Frank earns before the claims are settled will be treated as part of the bankruptcy. Months later, Frank is living in Exile, Fla., where he works as a lowly fact checker for an insurance company and makes very little, on his lawyer's advice. When asked to investigate a routine case, a young man's hit-and-run death, Frank quickly scents something fishy. Digging further, Frank concludes that the "accident" was really murder, and that the victim was mistaken for the actual target, a high-profile businessman. The proverbial can of worms has split open, and Frank has to stay alive long enough to get the goods on the murderer. With his breezy, low-key narrative style, Cole makes an engaging sleuth. This entertaining novel won the 2005 Malice Domestic/St. Martin's Press best first traditional mystery contest. (Apr.)
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O'Neil, Vincent H. - Florida Authors Reduced Circumstances (2007)
From Publishers Weekly
At the start of this appealing sequel to O'Neil's Malice Domestic Contest–winning debut, Murder in Exile (2006), Frank Cole, now working as a Florida taxi dispatcher, is on the trail of a con artist who was last seen in a Midnight Taxi cab. Swanky Atlanta PI Curtis Winslow, two fast-talking guys who claim to be bondsmen and a big-eyed waif of indeterminate age are also looking for the mysterious young man, known as Dennis Taylor or Dennis Sharp. Dennis turns up dead, yet some of his pursuers keep asking questions, like whether he was carrying anything when he hopped the cab. Cole is a captivating narrator, the kind readers will follow anywhere; Winslow is equally engaging, and even the ineffectual local cops are charming in their bumbling way. In fact, all the characters are well-drawn, except for Cole's girlfriend, whose occasional appearances distract. At times, too, the relaxed pacing borders on the lugubrious. (July)
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O'Neil, Vincent H. - Florida Authors Exile Trust (2008)
From Publishers Weekly
Frank Cole, now a freelance fact-checker for insurance companies and law firms in the small panhandle town of Exile, Fla., has local police chief Denny Dannon to thank for what at first appears to be a mundane assignment at the outset of O'Neil's enjoyable third mystery (after 2007's Reduced Circumstances). Cole agrees to look into a complaint concerning the safe-deposit procedures at Exile's lone bank as well as locate several safe-deposit box holders the bank has lost track of. Of course, things don't turn out to be that simple. When a box owner, Dorothea Freehoffer, takes a fatal tumble down the stairs of her home, Cole suspects foul play. Given the somewhat predictable resolution and dearth of plot twists, some readers may wish the author would provide his engaging protagonist with a more challenging puzzle leading to a better payoff next time. (June)
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O'Neil, Vincent H. - Florida Authors

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