Murder in Exile
by Vincent O'Neil is $.99. Originally published by Macmillan in 2006. First book in his Frank Cole series.
Frank Cole is laying low in the Panhandle of sunny Florida, working as a fact-checker for an insurance company while he awaits an appeal. The job doesn't offer much responsibility, which is exactly what he wants. Plus, it manages to keep his analytical mind busy so that he's not obsessing over his uncertain future. It seems like a nice setup for the time being, but things don't go as planned.
Eddie Gonzalez, a young man who only recently bought life insurance, is killed in a hit-and-run accident. The insurance company hires Frank to look into Eddie's life. Frank thinks the company is just trying to get out of paying the money and he sets out to prove the legitimacy of the claim. In doing so, he manages to ruffle the feathers of Dennis Dannon, the chief of police and a friend of the Gonzalez family, and to bring threats down upon his own head. As Frank looks further into the case, it becomes clear that Eddie's death was not an accident, and that the killers actually had another target in mind.
Vincent H. O'Neil makes a stunning debut with this first mystery, the winner of the Malice Domestic Contest. With a likable sleuth and top-notch plotting, Murder in Exile is a welcome and exciting addition to the genre.