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Reduced Circumstances (Frank Cole Mysteries Book 2) [Kindle Edition]

Vincent H. O'Neil , Henry V. O'Neil
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99

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Book Description

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.


“Frank, Frank, you’ve got to help me!” She clung to me tightly, and while this was not unpleasant I had to remind myself that this was the same girl who could enter a room, sit and eat a sandwich, and leave without touching anything that would take a fingerprint.
“Easy there, easy.” I said uncomfortably, feeling her tremble and considering for a moment that she might actually be in trouble. “What’s happened?”
I tried to pry her loose, but she was a lot stronger than her size said she’d be, and she locked on fiercely.
“These two guys, they came by and said Dennis owed them some money, and now they say I owe it to them! I don’t know what they’re talking about, Frank!”
“It’s okay, it’s okay.” I offered, trying to regain control of the situation. Things like this don’t usually happen at my place, and never at one in the morning. I finally got a good grip on her upper arms and pushed her back a few inches. She’d definitely been crying, and she looked ready to have a nervous breakdown, so I put an arm around her before leading her into the living room.

Editorial Reviews

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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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. Lukowsky, Wes
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 353 KB
  • Print Length: 236 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003ZSIM0E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #840,153 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Sequel October 17, 2007
On the advice of his attorney, former software company owner Frank Cole is once again working at near subsistence level in order to prevent the bankruptcy court from taking any additional assets. This time Frank is employed as a taxi dispatcher, a job which allows him to quietly contemplate his future even as his coworkers continually haze him. The quiet is shattered when he is approached first by a private detective and then by two thugs, all searching for the taxi customer who fled the scene of a drug bust. Spurred on by his own curiosity and encouraged by the P.I. Curtis Winslow, Frank begins hunting for the young man whose multiple identities lead back to his incarcerated grifter parents. Throw in a femme fatale, a drug lord, and the discovery that everyone lies, Frank soon finds himself up to his armpits in con artists and danger.

The sequel to the Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery, Murder in Exile, Reduced Circumstances continues the adventures of a reluctant hero who uncovers a surprising talent for investigation while under the tutelage of experienced detectives. While the case may again be less than riveting, Frank and Winslow prove to be an engaging new team. A character-driven novel, it stumbles only in the neglect of Frank's girlfriend Beth Ann, previously a strong woman who in this outing appears only to (reasonably) nag Frank and his attorney for their slacker and unmotivated plan that keeps Frank barely working and living on rice and pasta.

This 211 page novel moves swiftly and the likable characters beg for better cases that will force Frank to step up his investigation skills. This engaging second novel by O'Neil reveals his growing talent and hopefully we can look forward to additional appearances by the witty, laid-back hero.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars from May 18, 2009
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Frank Cole is a bankrupt businessman trying to keep a low profile. He has relocated to Exile, Florida. Frank is currently working as a dispatcher at Midnight Taxi Service. This is a piece of cake for Frank. He has been advised to keep his income low so his creditors can't come after him, and the dispatcher job takes care of that quite adequately. Living on a tight budget has also caused Frank to lose a lot of weight.

Beth Ann Thiebedault is Frank's girlfriend since moving to Exile. Beth Ann is encouraging Frank to take up something besides dispatching. Frank has done some fact checking for local firms and seems to have a special talent for it. Beth Ann is trying to encourage Frank in that direction.

Frank enjoys the Midnight Taxi Service. Most of the guys are hard working and fun loving. When Billy Lee, one of the drivers, picks up a kid leaving the Seaview Motel just as the police are making a drug bust, things start livening up around the Midnight Taxi headquarters. Soon Frank has some strange characters showing up and asking questions about the boy who may be older than he appears and may have more than one name.

When Frank learns that the kid Billy Lee picked up at The Seaview has been murdered, he becomes more deeply involved in the case than would be expected for a taxi dispatcher. Curtis Winslow, a private investigator, shows up and states he is working for the victim's family. Curtis and Frank hit it off and Curtis begins to pay Frank for his assistance in the case.

After several wrong turns Frank finally gets to the bottom of what really happened the night the kid jumped in the Midnight Taxi Service cab as he left The Seaview Motel.

Armchair Interviews says: Reduced Circumstances is an interesting story, not lacking in humor, with a surprise ending in store for the reader.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars So disappointed. Total waste of time.
Really liked debut novel. So not worth the effort and time waiting for this one. Stupid plot that was hard to follow and he made it so unnecessarily complicated. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Blueberry mom
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Mystery
The second Frank Cole mystery is even better than the first! The fact checker takes on another job and discovers more mysteries to solve. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Ann C. Keeran
4.0 out of 5 stars A Taxi dispatcher's tale of mystery!
My first read of O'Neil, it is fun to see how he depicts Florida and some of the "characters" who winter in the state. Read more
Published 21 months ago by John B. Thomas
4.0 out of 5 stars good florida mystery!
Vincent H. O'Neil's REDUCED CIRCUMSTANCES takes you into the swampy, sweaty world of Florida crime, via Frank Cole and his new job as a Midnight Taxi dispatcher. Read more
Published on September 3, 2007 by mystery addict
5.0 out of 5 stars O'Neil and Frank Cole x 2 Success!
Vincent O'Neil has written another fine novel in this second of a (I hope) long series. If you missed the first book, go read it, but if not you can easily get up to speed in this... Read more
Published on August 20, 2007 by Michael McGurk
5.0 out of 5 stars the cabbie underworld?
I really enjoyed the second book in this series. Frank Cole's description of being the night dispatcher for cab company is realistic and funny. Read more
Published on August 8, 2007 by Butch M. Sarma
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad
Vincent O'Neil has written a good book. Frank Cole is a captivating narrator and readers will follow him fairly well. Read more
Published on July 25, 2007 by D. Smolarek
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting mystery
Having survived MURDER IN EXILE, Florida, fact checker Frank Cole also works as a dispatcher at the Midnight Taxi Service. Read more
Published on July 20, 2007 by Harriet Klausner
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More About the Author

Vincent H. O'Neil brings a wealth of life experience to his writing. He has been a paratrooper, a consultant, an advertiser, a risk manager, and an apprentice librarian.

A native of Massachusetts, he holds a Bachelor's degree from West Point and a Master's degree 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 book, MURDER IN EXILE, is the first in a series of mystery novels featuring amateur sleuth Frank Cole. The series currently consists of MURDER IN EXILE, REDUCED CIRCUMSTANCES, EXILE TRUST, and CONTEST OF WILLS.

In 2011 Vincent released DEATH TROUPE, the first book in a new theater-themed mystery series featuring the playwright Jack Glynn.

In 2012 he published his first military science fiction novel GLORY MAIN (written under the name Henry V. O'Neil) which was picked up by HarperCollins in 2014 as a three-book series.

In 2013 he published his first horror novel, a Lovecraftian tale of terror set in Providence, Rhode Island and featuring his first female protagonist, the historian Angela Morse.

All of his books are available on Amazon in print or as ebooks. Harlequin Worldwide has released all four of the Frank Cole books in paperback as well as DEATH TROUPE.

Read sample chapters at his website, or on Amazon.

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