by Vincent H O'Neil Print book : Fiction
Mystery News review of EXILE TRUST   (2011-06-26)
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.
Exile Trust is available as a Kindle or Nook ebook
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