Sunday, February 7, 2010

Book Review: Buying Time, by Pamela Samuels Young

Buying Time, by Pamela Samuels Young

Paperback: 370 pages
Publisher: Goldman House Publishing (November 1, 2009)
ISBN-10: 098156271X
Rating (1 to 5 *): ****

Book Review: Buying Time

Waverly Sloan is in big trouble: he is about to be disbarred, and his money-loving wife will probably never forgive him if he can no longer keep her in the lifestyle she is accustomed to. His father-in-law already thinks Sloan is inadequate, and this development is not likely to improve his opinion. Unable to work up the courage to tell anyone the bad news, he agrees to take a new job as a viatical broker—selling the life insurance policies of terminally ill patients at a discount to private investors. The patients get cash they may need for medical care or living expenses, investors make a huge profit when the patient dies, and Sloan pockets a hefty broker fee. Soon, he is making more money than he ever dreamed he could, and far more than he ever made as a lawyer.

The career change seems to solve all of Sloan’s problems—his wife is happy with the increase in income, his father-in-law is grudgingly impressed (though suspicious) and he doesn’t have to tell anyone he’s been disbarred. What he doesn’t know is that he is being investigated because the insureds whose policies he sells are dying at an alarming rate—all before their projected life expectancy, and most of suspicious accidental causes. The situation is further complicated by a so-called business associate of his down-and-out brother, who insists on buying in against Sloan’s better judgement. Sloan has no idea what’s really going on, but soon everything comes crashing down around him.

Buying Time is a fun and engaging legal thriller, enticing the reader to turn the page again and again to find out just who is behind the killings and how every piece of the puzzle fits together. She keeps the secret well right up until the end, when it finally comes clear in the denouement. The sad thing is that all of the characters are despicable, unlikeable people—even the good guys have personality traits that leave much to be desired. However, those who like legal thrillers should find some great entertainment in Buying Time.

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