- Author: Pamela Samuels Young
- Performed by RC Bray
- Published: August 2012 by Goldman House Publishing
- Category: Crime/Thriller/Suspense
Waverly Sloan is a down-on-his-luck lawyer. But just when he’s about to hit rock bottom, he stumbles upon a business with the potential to solve all of his problems. In Waverly’s new line of work, he comes to the aid of people in desperate need of cash. But there’s a catch. His clients must be terminally ill and willing to sign over rights to their life insurance policies before they can collect a dime. Waverly then finds investors eager to advance them thousands of dollars—including a hefty broker’s fee for himself—in exchange for a significant return on their investment once the clients take their last breath. The stakes get higher when Waverly brokers the policy of the cancer-stricken wife of Lawrence Erickson, a high-powered lawyer who’s bucking to become the next U.S. Attorney General. When Waverly’s clients start dying sooner than they should, both Waverly and Erickson—who has some skeletons of his own to hide—are unwittingly drawn into a perilous web of greed, blackmail and murder.
Assistant US Attorney Angela Evans is assigned to a case investigating Live Now, an organisation dealing in viatical insurance for the terminally ill. The company’s procedure has come under scrutiny and Angela and her team set up a sting operation.
Angela’s private life leaves a lot to be desired and when she meets Dre Thomas at the gym she begins to question the wisdom of her choices.
An intriguing legal thriller combining murder, corruption and underhand dealings – a perfect combination. Engaging from the start, the absorbing and strong storyline flows perfectly and the short, well written chapters from the points of view of different characters work well and keep the suspense level high.
A great opening paragraph…
Veronika Myers tried to convince them, but no one would listen. Her suspicions, they said, were simply a byproduct of her grief. Each time she broached the subject with her brother, Jason, he walked out of the room. Darlene, her best friend, suggested a girls’ night out with some heavy drinking. Aunt Flo urged her to spend more time in prayer.
Veronika knew she was wasting her time with this woman, too, but couldn’t help herself.
“My mother was murdered,” Veronika told the funeral home attendant. “But nobody believes it.”
Multiple story lines run simultaneously and weave together as events unfold. The characters are well-defined and realistic, some very likeable, some definitely not and they are all intertwined by threads of greed, secrets, violence and deception. The main characters, each with strengths and flaws, have their own personal problems to deal with which again, link together as the story progresses. The romance aspect is not overwhelming and I like the relationship between Angela and Dre. I hope it continues in the next book.
As the stakes get ever higher, more lives are at risk and Angela and Dre are drawn further into the tangled web of murder and duplicity. The plot plays out well to a very satisfying conclusion with a twist I didn’t see coming.
The well researched, detailed descriptions of viatical insurance, of which I knew nothing at all, raises the question of ethics and morality against the possible or probable benefits for people with a terminal illness who are in desperate need of financial aid. Very interesting and thought-provoking, showing the opportunity to exploit people is usually available to those with an agenda.
The issue of domestic violence is also addressed, demonstrating how even a strong, independent woman, who knows better, can get caught up in the cycle of not reporting the abuse. This is my first book by Ms Samuels Young and I enjoyed it very much and have invested in a couple more.
It’s so nice when I find a fantastic new (to me) narrator through an author and vice versa. I first listened to RC Bray perform The Martian and I was sold. Since then I’ve listened to several more narrations and the delivery fits the story and the emotions of the characters perfectly.
About the author
Every Reasonable Doubt, In Firm Pursuit, Murder on the Down Low, Attorney-Client Privilege, Buying Time and Anybody’s Daughter. She is also a natural hair enthusiast and the author of Kinky Coily: A Natural Hair Resource Guide. In addition to writing legal thrillers and working as Managing Counsel for Labor and Employment Law for a major corporation, Pamela formerly served on the board of directors of the Los Angeles Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and is a diehard member of Sisters in Crime-L.A. The former journalist and Compton native is a graduate of USC, Northwestern University and UC Berkeley’s School of Law. To read an excerpt of Pamela’s novels, visit www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com.