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Reading Slothfully

I was told in elementary school that I only could read at half the speed for success in college. Oh well, one benefit of slow reading is you get to live with the characters a longer period of time. I read in a vain attempt to better understand people. At my other homes, I'm known as a spouse, pop, guy in the choir, physical chemist, computer/web dilettante and child-care provider. In theory, I'm a published author, if you consider stuff like Quenching Cross Sections for Electronic Energy Transfer Reactions Between Metastable Argon Atoms and Noble Gases and Small Molecules to count as publications. I've strewn dozens of such fascinating things to the winds.

Currently reading

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas
Jules Verne
The Spirit of the Border
Zane Grey
Ramona the Brave (Ramona, #3)
Beverly Cleary
The Underground Man (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
Ross Macdonald
Delilah of the Snows
Harold Bindloss
Mrs. Miniver
Jan Struther
Betsy-Tacy Treasury (P.S.)
Maud Hart Lovelace
A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens
The Way Some People Die
Ross Macdonald
Envy of Angels
Matt Wallace

Murder in Exile (Frank Cole Mysteries)

Murder in Exile (Frank Cole Mysteries) - Vincent O'Neil My brother-in-law, Richard, apparently knows that I'm one cheap bastard, and don't much like paying for books. So, he recommended this one, which was available for free on Amazon. He'd met the author recently at a conference and he'd rather liked him. So, I figured, what the hell, why not give it a go?

So, it seems that Frank Cole had run a reasonably successful software company for a while. Then things went sour and he went bankrupt. One of the things that came out from his bankruptcy trial was that he would have to begin paying back the money he owed if he were to earn more than a certain amount, essentially more than the bare minimum for survival. So Frank's lawyer told him to go live in a poor part of Florida, the panhandle area, and take only a few short-term gigs, as the need arose. Thus, Frank works piecemeal as a "fact checker". He has good computer-based investigative skills and will check out facts for insurance companies and the like. Mostly, he searches on-line computer data bases to do background checks on various people. Much of the checking is done on computers at the local library, and Frank has become BFFs with the reference librarian, who like most librarians (imho), is awesome. Frank claims that he most certainly won't do private investigation, where he might have to be dealing with people.

A young man, Eddie Gonzalez is a hit-and-run victim while out on an evening jog. The police figured he'd been hit by a teenager who was out joyriding in a stolen car. But, it seems that Gonzalez had only a few weeks previously taken out a life insurance policy that made his fiancée the beneficiary. So, the insurance company figures it was an intentional suicide, and hires Frank to do some fact checking so as to establish that Gonzalez was sufficiently sketchy as to do such a thing. [To me this doesn't make any sense at all, but what do I know? I suppose if one is living in despair and plans suicide anyway, doing so in such a way as to benefit someone else makes sense. I should remember that the next time I think about committing suicide. How can I contrive my suicide so as to benefit my spouse and children?]

Anyway, Frank does some investigating. It seems that Eddie was a pretty good guy. Also, it seems that a jogger who dresses similarly to Eddie and who takes a similar course is a very rich guy, and there might be benefits to bumping off the rich guy. He was about to sell off the family shipping business to people outside the country.

So, perhaps Eddie's death was a case of mistaken identity. Then too, the type of vehicle used in the accident/murder seems to have been meticulously chosen, as was the location where the hit-and-run occurred, and the disposition of the vehicle after the hit-ant-run. So, "just an accident" makes no sense.

Well, anyway, Frank gets drawn in and does more investigating than he'd like. Eventually, the perp is fingered and so forth.

This book is written in a style similar to hard-boiled detective fiction such as works of Raymond Chandler, or Ross Macdonald. It's not quite so hard-boiled, perhaps just soft-boiled. But it's very engaging and overall a GoodRead. It seems my brother-in-law knows a thing or two after all.