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Death Benefits | [Thomas Perry]

Death Benefits

A careful, methodical young data analyst for a California insurance company, John Walker knows when people will marry, at what age they will most likely have children, and when they will die. All signs point to a long successful career---until Max Stillman, a gruff security consultant, appears without warning at the office. It seems a colleague with whom Walker once had an affair has disappeared after paying a very large death benefit to an impostor.
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Publisher's Summary

A careful, methodical young data analyst for a California insurance company, John Walker knows when people will marry, at what age they will most likely have children, and when they will die. All signs point to a long successful career---until Max Stillman, a gruff security consultant, appears without warning at the office. It seems a colleague with whom Walker once had an affair has disappeared after paying a very large death benefit to an impostor. Stillman wants to find and convict her; Walker is convinced the woman is innocent. Now Walker teams up with Stillman on an urgent north-by-northeast race---relentlessly leading to a pay-off that just might shock the life out of him.

©2008 Thomas Perry; (P)2009 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"Compelling...A labyrinthine tale of murder [and] conspiracy." (People)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (199 )
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4.2 (101 )
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4.4 (101 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Julie Apple Valley, MN, United States 08-11-09
    Julie Apple Valley, MN, United States 08-11-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "My favorite book from one of my favorite authors."

    Death Benefits is a well crafted, suspensful mystery. The story brings us from California, to Florida to New England. It starts with an ambitious,young business woman out to make a sale. She seems as real a person so me, as one of my collegues. (Okay maybe a little more aggressive) But I had a real sense of who she was and even liked her.

    Then she is gone. Next we meet two very interesting men who are characters, interesting, funny and real.

    Thomas Perry is a master of stringing details around the story to hook up in and keep us hanging on. Of course, he brings us to a surprise ending.

    I love this book.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Delman San Francisco 04-05-12
    Richard Delman San Francisco 04-05-12 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not Mr. Perry's finest hour, but a terrific ending"

    Mr. Perry has spoiled me. I now expect every book of his to be funny and thrilling, both of these to wonderful extremes. This book is not his best. Just the fact that he is trying to make the lives of two insurance investigators interesting shows you how high he has set the bar for himself. John Walker, who is, I guess, the protagonist, is an insurance company desk jockey. He is just not all that interesting. Max Stillman, a free-lance insurance "security consultant" (read: fraud investigator) is more quirky. The female character, "Serena," is simply improbable. Our heroes go out to investigate a $12 million insurance fraud, and madness ensues. The book lacks Mr. Perry's usual sense of humor, and the suspense doesn't work until the last five or six chapters, which then kick up the pace to frantic. The conclusion is a little confusing, but the chase is a lot of fun, particularly at the point where the three of them hide in a church belfry, with the entire town of Coulter underneath them. The plot sags quite a bit in the middle. I missed Mr. Perry's unique sense of humor. If I were you I would try any of the Butcher's Boy novels, and then read Metzger's Dog, which is truly masterful. I think it was on some "100 Best" list, and it would be even higher on my list, if I had one. Mr. Kramer's narration is, as usual, great, but he just doesn't have enough great stuff to narrate here.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    steven phoenix, AZ, United States 09-10-09
    steven phoenix, AZ, United States 09-10-09

    Dont let the narrarator ruin your listening to a good book! I read waaay to many "critics" who go on and on about a bad narrarater, so what!

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    "good suspense"

    generally interesting take on high level insurance fraud, i thought one of the main characters was constantly being built up as an obvious insider as in the guy doing the inside job (spoiler so i wont say) i like these type of longer books

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 05-25-14
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 05-25-14 Member Since 2010

    Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Improbable As A Pearl In You Oyster Soup…"

    But… It could happen, right? And if it did, DELIGHTFUL!

    Well, that's the way this thing goes. It's a pearl… perfectly formed… Dully sparkling. And I'm delighted at the improbability of this story and its rich thick tastiness.. The three lead characters in this ensemble are what you expect from Thomas Perry… WUNNERFUL! Notice how I keep using caps? Well, that's the way I feel now that I've just finished Death Benefits by the pool down here in balmy South Carolina… vacationland USA. It's a beach/pool/summer biking read and Michael Kramer reads it all masterfully.

    Get it, love it. Another Perry wonder-story. I'm off to download another Perry before the sun goes behind a cloud. Need to go pearl diving again.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill Mission Viejo, CA, United States 08-16-09
    Bill Mission Viejo, CA, United States 08-16-09 Member Since 2005
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    "Fun book"

    Great reader, interesting characters, and a suspenseful plot. Lots of fun and an unexpected pleasure. Give it a try.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Hubbardston, MA, United States 08-05-13
    Robert Hubbardston, MA, United States 08-05-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unexpected joyride"

    Thomas Perry has an hysterically droll sense of humor that I did not find in either the Butcher Boy series or in Metzger's Dog (which I didn't find at all funny). However, Perry's fraud investigator in Death Benefits is so droll and understatedly outrageous, I found myself bursting into laughter in the most quotidian situations, and the actuary, John Walker, is his perfect straight man. The narrator, Michael Kramer, does an absolutely perfect job.On more than one occasion I had to stop driving because my eyes were watering so freely.
    That said, I thought the final chase and conclusion were a little over the top and a little bit of a let down. Funny how another reviewer thought this book lacked Perry's "usual sense of humor" but loved the ending. Go figure.
    This is one of the few books I've listened to twice, because I just loved the ride, and it was just as enjoyable on the second go-round.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Loy Benbrook, TX, United States 09-15-09
    Loy Benbrook, TX, United States 09-15-09 Member Since 2006

    Born to read

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "another great Thomas Perry"

    I have listened to all of Thomas Perry's books-- this one delivers
    If you enjoy him get this one

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jamo002 01-07-10
    jamo002 01-07-10 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Can this man write a bad book?"

    Starts fast, stays fast, and like most Perry novels, comes up with a totally unique premis.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jose Marco Island 07-09-14
    Jose Marco Island 07-09-14 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "On Butcher's Boy class"

    A great, solid build-up thriller sprinkled with humor and with a fine cast of characters. If you like the Butcher's Boy series, Strip or Metzger's Dog you'll surely like this one.
    Michael Kramer is the perfect narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Boyce Brentwood, TN, United States 03-14-14
    Boyce Brentwood, TN, United States 03-14-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Butcher's Boy this is not!!"
    Would you try another book from Thomas Perry and/or Michael Kramer?

    Kramer is excellent. The fact that he performs this was one of my reasons for purchase. My only exposure to Perry is with The Butcher's Boy trilogy, all three of which I could not tear myself away. Death Benefits is another story indeed. Pedestrian, predictable and boring. I will try other Perry works, but will not expect The Butcher's Boy in any others of his. I am thinking that The Butcher's Boy trilogy is his finest work.


    What does Michael Kramer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Michael Kramer is an accomplished performer and brings a professional rich voice and a full range of expression to the table.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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