When gruff and intimidating security consultant Max Stillman appears without warning in the San Francisco office of McClaren Life and Casualty and begins asking questions and scrutinizing files, the employees can't help wondering just which of them he's been hired to investigate. The first to find out is young data analyst John Walker when Stillman's mysterious investigation leads out of town, he announces he's taking Walker with him.
Here, Perry takes a break from Jane Whitefield. John Walker, who works for McClaren Life and Casualty, gets more than he bargained for when he is asked to investigate a large death benefit paid out to the wrong person. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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1 . Unusual twist to the plot
Posted February 28, 2010 by Deb , Westwood, MAPrivate investigator for established Insurance company recruites young actuarial to help him solve a fraud case. Plot twists and weaves across the US ending up in NH. Ending is not what you would suspect! Great read, could not put the book down.
December 31, 2000
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Excerpt from Death Benefits by Thomas Perry
Ellen leaned forward over the sink and took a last, critical look at her makeup in the bathroom mirror. She could see that the eyes were good. The way to look trustworthy was to look trusting, and her eyes seemed big and blue and wide-open. The color on the cheeks was good, too: she could tell it was clear, smooth, and natural, even though the mirror was pocked with black spots, and the light in here was harsh and yellow. But she intended to be there early enough to slip into the ladies' room, do a recheck, and make any necessary revisions before she was seen. She had been training herself not to take anything for granted since she was nine years old, and she was twenty-four now. Not to anticipate problems was to invite them.
She went back into her kitchen, picked her purse off the table, and slung it over her shoulder, then opened her thin leather briefcase to be sure she had everything. She always carried a small kit consisting of the brochures and forms necessary to commit a customer to one of the common policies: term life, whole life, health, home owner's, auto. Before she had left the office last night, she had added some of the more exotic ones to cover art, jewelry, planes, and boats. The application forms she carried always had her name typed in as agent, with her telephone extension and office and e-mail addresses in the other boxes, and her signature already in the space at the bottom. She never left the home office in doubt about who should get the commission.
Clipped to the inside of her briefcase she carried a slim gold pen that felt good in a customer's hand when he signed his name, and she kept an identical one, never used, out of sight below it so there could never be a moment when she was ready to close on a customer and couldn't. Taking a few simple, habitual precautions was usually enough to keep her from lying in bed at night worrying about lost opportunity, failure, and humiliation.
She reached into the other side of the divider in her briefcase, pulled out the claim forms she had prepared, and examined them. She was not proofreading the entries. She knew there were no mistakes. She had been up late, studying the files, filling in the blank spaces on the forms with a typewriter, so there would be no real paperwork left to do. This morning
she used the forms to test her memory of family names, addresses, dates.
She had no illusion that she was engaged in anything but an act of dissimulation. It was conscious, studied, and practiced, and anything less than a flawless performance would be a disaster. When she had all the personal details by heart it made her listener feel as though she cared about him. Having them wrong was to be caught out as a hypocrite and a fraud. If she convinced her listener that she cared ? really had his interests at heart ? then she was not halfway there, she was all the way.