Death Benefits by Nelson DeMille
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing/Aug. 1st, 2011
Kind thanks to the Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for providing a review copy
Bestselling author Jack Henry is suddenly on the brink of bankruptcy. With bills mounting and the IRS calling, he realizes that he has a major problem on his hands. But who is to blame for his declining fortunes? Certainly not Jack himself. The fault, he determines, lies with his agent, Stan Wycoff – who takes 15% of everything Jack makes for doing absolutely nothing.
Jack needs a way out of his dire financial predicament – and fast. And then he remembers that both he and his agent have substantial life insurance policies on one another. If Stan were to die unexpectedly, Jack would cash in…
But can a famous crime writer commit the perfect crime?
The Panther, Nelson DeMille’s newest John Corey book, will be out soon, so to tide us over until then, the author gave us this fun little digital tidbit. Former bestselling author Jack Henry finds himself going over his finances and soon realizes he’s, er, dead broke. His books aren’t quite selling like they used to, and his writing is in a slump. Then he comes across the bill for a premium on a life insurance policy that he took out on his agent, Stan, about 10 years ago, at the same time Stan took one out on him. He remembers how they jokingly pretended to push each other into traffic after getting the policies. Suddenly, with financial ruin on the horizon, and of course, no more access to the comforts he deems so important, he begins hatching a plan to take care of Stan and collect 5 million dollars. After all, Stan isn’t doing his career any good and he could really use the money. He begins to plan murder, drawing on his research for past crime novels (cleverly pulling on advice that homicide detective John Corey gave him).
Death Benefits is a quick, satisfying little read, and of course has the sly humor that I love about Mr. DeMille’s work. Jack is a self-satisfied, spoiled jerk who wildly overestimates himself, and of course, we all know what happens when you do that, right? A quick, fun, deadly delight!