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In Death's Shadow by Marcia Talley
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In Death's Shadow

by Marcia Talley

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When Hannah Ives reconnects with Valerie Stone, she’s happy to see Valerie is still alive. The two shared a hospital room when they were both battling cancer. As the two women get reacquainted, Hannah is curious about Valerie’s much-improved financial situation. Valerie has a new water-front home and luxury car, and just returned from an around-the-world cruise on the Queen Elizabeth 2.

The answer, Hannah learns, is a viatical. A viatical involves terminally ill patients’ selling life insurance policies they purchased before they became ill. The seller receives a percentage of the policy’s face value; the buyer gets the full amount when the person dies. The longer the seller lives, the less return on investment for the buyer.

A few days after their chance meeting, Valerie dies. Hannah wonders whether the viatical may have some connection to her death, which Hannah doesn’t believe was related to her illness or treatment. The more she discovers the surer Hannah is that something’s fishy about the Mutually Beneficial Financial Service Group, which purchased Valerie’s policy, and its snake-oil salesman Gilbert Jablonsky. Her senior-citizen friend Mrs. Bromley also believes someone is hastening the deaths of her neighbors in the Ginger Cove senior development after they sell Jablonsky their policies.

Hannah Ives is a wonderful heroine -- it’s hard not to applaud a breast-cancer survivor – and the plot takes enough twists and turns along the way to keep readers interested. Hannah enlists the services of some great characters to help her in the hunt for answers, including her own dad and Mrs. Bromley. Learning about viaticals and their abuse was interesting, too.

By Diana. First Published in Mystery News

Review based on publisher- or author-provided review copy. ( )
  NewsieQ | Jan 20, 2011 |
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