Death Troupeby Vincent H. O'Neil, Henry V. O'Neil
- LendMe LendMe™ Learn More
The Jerome Barron Players have a problem. Their writer, Ryan Betancourt, has killed himself under mysterious circumstances and they need a replacement right away. The Players, unofficially known as Death Troupe, come together once a year to perform a high-end murder mystery play written specifically for that season’s host town. Their writer has to possess special talents, as there’s a wager involved: If the townspeople can correctly identify the murderer before the show’s final act, they don’t have to pay for the engagement. So far, no town has ever won the bet.
Enter Jack Glynn, original writer for the Barron Players. He and Ryan wrote two Death Troupe engagements before Ryan stole Jack’s girlfriend, lead actress Allison Green. Although Jack found fame in Hollywood after quitting the troupe, eccentric director Jerome Barron convinces him to return for one show: The upcoming engagement in the Adirondack town of Schuyler Mills.
It is only then that the troupe’s advance man, private investigator Wade Parker, tells Jack of the strange events which surrounded the group’s previous engagement in Red Bend, California. A local retiree killed himself a few days after the performance—an act Wade suspects was prompted by the storyline of Ryan’s final play. He also reveals that Ryan was greatly unnerved by anonymous third parties who had interfered with the group’s marquee clue distribution.
This is one of the unique features of Death Troupe: As the performance approaches, clues are sprinkled through the town in a variety of ways, from fake headstones bearing characters’ names to real players acting out their assigned roles. In Red Bend, a stranger pretending to be a troupe member had dropped clues that were surprisingly accurate, and Ryan had reacted badly to this—perhaps badly enough to kill himself.
Events take a sinister turn shortly after Jack arrives in the small, snow-covered village of Schuyler Mills. Someone leaves a bizarre arrangement of black roses and plastic skulls in his hotel room. Ryan’s missing notebook from the Red Bend engagement turns up, and it contains an alarming tale of psychological harassment. The people of Schuyler Mills are enthusiastic about Jack’s presence, but he knows that many of them, from the local community theater group to the town mayor, could have ulterior motives.
As the weeks go by, someone begins distributing clues that Jack doesn’t recognize, from a plastic head stuck in an ice-fishing hole to confidential information scrawled on a billboard. Reading Ryan’s notebook, Jack begins to fear that the same web that snared his old writing partner in Red Bend is being spun around him in Schuyler Mills.
Meet the Author
Vincent H. O’Neil brings a wealth of life experience to his writing. He has served as a US Army officer, provided consulting services to a software development firm, managed risk in a major corporation, created marketing campaigns, and worked as an apprentice librarian.
A native of Massachusetts, he holds a Bachelor of Science from West Point and a Master of Arts in International Affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. After writing in his spare time for many years, he won the St. Martin’s Press "Malice Domestic" Writing Competition in 2005.
His award-winning debut novel, Murder in Exile, was the first book in a mystery series featuring the background-checker Frank Cole. It was followed by Reduced Circumstances, Exile Trust, and Contest of Wills.
He has also been published in two anthologies: "Finish the Job", his tale of a father-daughter team of art thieves who have some trouble breaking into a museum, is featured in Quarry: Crime Stories by New England Writers from Level Best Books and his darker story, "Blood Tells", about a money launderer who makes a big decision in a short span of time, appears in Bad Cop - No Donut from Padwolf Publishing.
His newest mystery novel, Death Troupe, is the first book in a theater-based mystery series featuring playwright Jack Glynn and the unusual members of the Jerome Barron Players theater troupe.
Harlequin Worldwide Mystery has published all four Frank Cole novels in paperback, and released DEATH TROUPE in paperback in March, 2013.
Mr. O'Neil is also the author of the military science fiction novel GLORY MAIN, written under the name Henry V. O'Neil.
All of his books are available in Kindle and Nook ebook versions, and many of them are also available in paperback. Please visit his website at www.vincenthoneil.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
I was engaged quickly in this new story of creating live murder mystery theatre. I found myself fascinated with the characters and process. I was also pleasantly surprised that the story ran over several months - not overly strung out, but entertaining and engaging and telling stories within stories. Read this book and prepare to be entertained!
I very much enjoyed this book! It's rare for me to want to read books a 2nd time, but this is one I will read again. Very well done.
All the world's a stage... This is the story of a play that might not be fiction and a reality that might not be fact. The Jerome Barron Players, known as Death Troupe, perform one mystery play a year written specifically for that season's locale; in this case, the Adirondack town of Schuyler Mills. Jack Glynn, the troupe's original writer, quit after his writing partner, Ryan Betancourt stole his girlfriend, but he has agreed to come back for this one engagement, since Ryan has committed suicide, leaving the troupe without a writer. But was it a suicide? And is Jack writing his own death? Who's acting, and who's being played? There were many things about this book I loved - the mystery within a mystery, the idea of a traveling troupe performing plays specific to the host town, the locale and townspeople, the romance, and the fact that I was kept guessing till the end. And there was plenty of action; the cross-county skiing scene was chilling. I've read Mr. O'Neil's Frank Cole / Exile series and enjoyed it very much, but Death Troupe is his best yet. I hope to see it continue as a series.
I just finished DEATH TROUPE, the first Vincent O'Neil book I've read. Based on this story, I will definitely read the others. The book was well-written, face-paced and intriguing, with a mystery that kept me guessing until the end, as it was supposed to. Don't miss this one!
Sorry to say i found this book too long with no punch to read