©2008 Thomas Perry; (P)2009 Tantor
"Compelling...A labyrinthine tale of murder [and] conspiracy." (People)
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.
63 y/o psychologist with two sons, living in SF Bay Area. I absolutely love all the feedback I've been getting for my reviews. It's very gratifying. Thanks to all of you.
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.
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!
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
Great reader, interesting characters, and a suspenseful plot. Lots of fun and an unexpected pleasure. Give it a try.
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.
Born to read
I have listened to all of Thomas Perry's books-- this one delivers
If you enjoy him get this one
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.
Michael Kramer is an accomplished performer and brings a professional rich voice and a full range of expression to the table.
I liked the three main characters. They were very individual and interesting.
I know that Thomas Perry has a couple of series going, but I hope that he adds this to the others. Meanwhile, I'll start listening to the others.
Yes, good Perry. He usually has his principal characters being chased around the country using ingenious skip technology, but this time, the principals are chasing the bad guys with some of the same smarts. Good change of pace. Kramer is just the right reader for Perry.
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