Novels by Vincent H. O'Neil

Mystery, Horror, and Science Fiction


Military Science Fiction

Orphan Brigade
The sequel to the acclaimed Glory Main follows the members of the Mortas family as they play their different roles in the decades-long war with the Sims.

Glory Main
Four strangers find themselves marooned on a planet that may be deserted--or the next battlefield in mankind's war against the Sims


In the woods outside Providence, grad student Angela Morse is looking for a lost stone obelisk with a terrifying history.

Theater-themed Mystery

Death Troupe
The Jerome Barron Players have a problem. Known as Death Troupe, once a year they perform a high-end murder mystery play written specifically for that season's host town. Unfortunately, their playwright has just killed himself.

Enter Jack Glynn, Death Troupe's original playwright before his now-deceased writing partner stole his lead-actress girlfriend. Traveling to the snow-covered town of Schuyler Mills, Jack soon learns that his former friend's suicide may have been caused by a shadowy Death Troupe stalker . . . and that he might be the new target.

The Frank Cole Mystery Series

"Frank Cole is the most ingenious Florida series character since salvage hunter Travis McGee."
--Jay MacDonald in The Fort Myers News-Press

Murder in Exile
Winner of the 2005 Malice Domestic Award, Murder in Exile features the character Frank Cole, a recently bankrupted software designer trying to start his life over. Working as a fact checker for local insurance companies, Frank finds that even a simple hit-and-run investigation might not be what it seems.

The Sunday New York Times Book Review of Murder in Exile (May 21, 2006)

The fully dimensional world of a long-running series is harder to find in a first mystery. There's nothing tentative, though, about Vincent H. O'Neil's debut novel, MURDER IN EXILE (Thomas Dunne Books/​St. Martin's Minotaur, $22.95), which drops an engaging young sleuth into a sleepy little burg in the Florida Panhandle and hands him a tough case to cut his teeth on. Frank Cole landed in the coyly named town of Exile when his computer company up North went bankrupt and a nasty judge attached his future earnings. Frank is keeping his head down doing background checks for an insurance company when his investigation of a hit-and-run accident uncovers evidence of corporate corruption. Although you'd never guess it from the silly jacket art that makes his book look like an absurdist Carl Hiaasen knockoff, O'Neil is a polished storyteller with a breezy style and some interesting things to say about abandoned sons and their surrogate fathers. (Article by Marilyn Stasio)

Reduced Circumstances
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.

American Library Association review of Reduced Circumstances (May 15, 2007)

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

Exile Trust
Mystery News review of Exile Trust

Frank Cole is grateful when his friend, Exile (Florida) Police Chief Denny Dannon, throws a little work his way. The new job is with an Exile bank anticipating an audit of its safe deposit boxes by a regulatory agency. It seems the records have not been well kept and the bank would like to find the whereabouts of some of its box-holders before auditors swarm in. Frank is not a licensed private eye, but a former software developer/entrepreneur, now a “fact-checker,” who works with insurance and investigation companies – so the job’s right up his alley.

Susan Wilmington, the bank’s new manager of the safe-deposit box department, is at first on the defensive but soon figures out that she and Frank will work well together. Susan confides in Frank that she has misgivings about a man she recently allowed into Dorothea Freehoffer’s safe deposit box without going through all the proper procedures ... and asks Frank to check it out for her.

As it turns out, Mrs. Freehoffer is dead and the man who supposedly accessed the box – her husband Andy – died a year before she did. One thing leads to another and soon Frank is hot on the trail of ... of what, he doesn’t exactly know.

I love the character of Frank Cole. He’s in the Panhandle of Florida after his software development company up north folds, leaving him in an ocean of debt. His lawyer/friend convinces him he needs to lay low for awhile, taking on small jobs for small pay and hoping to convince his creditors he’s not worth pursuing. (In that, he’s a bit reminiscent of Elaine Viets’s protagonist in her dead-end-job mysteries.) I also love the name of the fictional town of Exile, Florida. How perfect!

Exile Trust is well paced, well written, and had me cheering Frank on starting with page one. Great secondary characters abound – including Gray Toliver, a retired navy chief petty officer Frank hires to help with the bank job.

Exile Trust has soooooo much to like, readers will be praying for more.

By Diana. First published in Mystery News, October-November 2008 edition.

Contest of Wills
When Frank Cole takes a job as an in-house investigator at a Tallahassee law firm, he has no idea what’s in store for him. The firm’s lead investigator, brashJ immy Hanigan, takes him under his wing right away. Then the firm’s owner, Walter Daley, tells them that his old friend and client Chester Pratt has died under mysterious circumstances—and that Pratt’s will is missing.

As Frank and Jimmy dig into the case, they learn that Pratt’s death may have indeed been an accident, that no one in his family seems to want his fortune, and that an old nemesis from Frank’s first case is dogging their steps. In no time at all, it’s a true contest of wills in sunny Florida.

Works and Sample Chapters

Military Science Fiction
Death Troupe Mysteries
Frank Cole Mystery

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