Thomas. Death Benefits. Random House. January 2001. c400p.
ISBN 0-679-45305-9. $24.95. Fiction.
Edgar Award-winning novelist Perry, who always provides a good
read, takes a step up from last year’s Blood Money with a solid, character-driven story
that makes even the insurance business seem fascinating. John Walker, a young
data analyst for McClaren Life and Casualty, finds himself on the streets with
a shrewd but enigmatic partner, an older security expert named Max Stillman who
has been hired by the firm to track down the thieves behind a $12 million scam.
The agent who approved the fraudulent death benefit, a woman Walker once loved,
has disappeared. Is she part of the rip-off or a victim of a much larger conspiracy?
With the help of Serena, a quirky computer expert who develops an intriguing
relationship with Walker, the two men follow a trail that leads from California
to Illinois to Florida and finally to a deadly confrontation in the deceptively
peaceful New Hampshire countryside. Throughout, one senses, unseen, the sure
hands of a master craftsman. Highly recommended.