Reduced Circumstancesby Vincent O'Neil, Vincent H. O'Neil
Fact-checker Frank Cole is moonlighting as the evening dispatcher for the Midnight Taxi Service. It is a quiet Spring Break in the Florida panhandle until a nervous teenaged boy flags down a Midnight cab near a parking lot full of flashing police lights. The next evening, suspicious
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The sequel to the award-winning Murder in Exile starts out in high gear:
Fact-checker Frank Cole is moonlighting as the evening dispatcher for the Midnight Taxi Service. It is a quiet Spring Break in the Florida panhandle until a nervous teenaged boy flags down a Midnight cab near a parking lot full of flashing police lights. The next evening, suspicious strangers start appearing at the taxi stand, asking Frank about the boy and where he was headed.
The ride speeds up after that. The driver who took the fare runs off, the teenager is revealed as a man with a past, his beautiful blonde girlfriend joins the chase, and a dead body turns up holding a Midnight Taxi Service roadmap. Once again, Frank Cole has to answer questions about a dead guy he never even met in life.
But Vincent O’Neil may be on the verge of accomplishing just that with his second Frank Cole novel, “Reduced Circumstances”.
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 (2007) Exile Trust (2008)and Contest of Wills, which was released in 2010.
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 (2009) 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 (2010)
Harlequin Worldwide Mystery just purchased the paperback rights to both Murder in Exile and Reduced Circumstances and will be releasing them sometime in 2011.
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.
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Vincent H. O'Neil's inimitable beach bum/amateur sleuth Frank Cole is back in Reduced Circumstances (2007), his followup to Murder in Exile (2006). Things have quieted down for Frank since solving the Eddie Gonzalez case in Exile. In fact as fast as fact checking is concerned, business is just about non-existent. Although Frank's peculiar bankruptcy case prevents him from earning too much money, he does still have living expenses. So, to deal with the light times as a fact checker, Frank finds himself working as a night dispatcher for the Midnight Taxi Service near his home in Exile, Florida. The taxi stand is where Frank first hears about the kid. The young man was seen hailing a Midnight cab near a drug bust the night before--interesting but not exactly big news. Of course that's before a parade of visitors drop by the cab stand trying to find the kid and the MIA driver who picked him up the night before. First there's the private investigator from Atlanta, then the possible bounty hunters from Mobile, and finally the kid's girlfriend--a blond femme fatale of sorts who never seems to leave a fingerprint in her wake. Suddenly Frank finds himself a person of interest on all side of the investigation despite having little in the way of information to share. Urged on by equal parts curiosity and necessity, Frank begins to investigate the kid and his mysterious disappearance trying to figure out why exactly so many people want to find him. And who, if any of them, want to find him alive. Murder in Exile was a lot of fun. Amazingly, and happily, this installment in the series is even more enjoyable. The narrative also provides ample yet brief recaps of Frank's adventures in the first book for anyone who might be fuzzy on those early details. Reduced Circumstances is an interesting blend of character study and mystery. The elements for both are here and used well to create a breezy read that leaves readers with a satisfying investigation and more insight into Frank's personality and life. Because Frank comes to the world of investigation from a fact checker's side of things, the novel also provides a unique look at the world of online research and a commentary on just how much information can be found online. O'Neil keeps these segments just the right length to stay interesting for the typical readers and any information professionals who should happen to pick up the book. While the investigation wraps up nicely, the novel does still end with a slight cliff hanger that will leave readers eager for the next installment in the series Exile Trust (2008).
Once upon a time, Frank Cole was the happily married owner of a thriving software firm. But when business and marriage both went under, he landed in the Florida panhandle town of Exile, cobbling together a living as a fact-checker for lawyers and a dispatcher for the Midnight Taxi Service. One night a driver picks up a fare from a local fleabag motel just before the cops bust a salesman with a truck full of dope. Frank puts his own detective skills to work and learns that the fare was a petty con man whose parents were sophisticated financial swindlers. Soon Frank is sucked into the vortex of a case in which his own life may be at risk. The second Frank Cole mystery builds on the series' critically acclaimed debut, Murder in Exile (2006), with a credible plot, a sympathetic protagonist, and an array of eccentric secondary characters. This has the earmarks of a series that could be around a long time; better get in on the fun at the beginning. --Wes Lukowsky