Bet Your Life

Bet Your Life

by Richard Dooling
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Bet Your Life by Richard Dooling

A terminally ill man sells his life insurance policy for cheap to an investor who will collect the full amount when the sick man dies. But is the sick man really sick? Does he even exist? In the age of AIDS and no-holds-barred capitalism, the business of betting on how much longer sick people will live is thriving. Is this new market in which life insurance policies are bought and sold a legitimate enterprise, or is it an open invitation to fraud and murder?

Carver Hartnett, Miranda Pryor, and Leonard Stillmach all work for Reliable Allied Trust, in Omaha, where they investigate insurance fraud. Carver — the narrator of this edgy and surprising novel — is frustrated. His company would rather raise premiums than prosecute insurance criminals. Miranda, his seductive coworker, leads him on and then puts him off — she seems to have something monstrous to hide. When their friend, crazy Lenny, a computer gamer and an expert with drug-and-alcohol cocktails, dies in the middle of playing Delta-Strike online, a strange and disturbing narrative unfolds around a possible murder and massive insurance fraud. Carver is drawn deeper into various hearts of darkness, and in his efforts to discover the truth behind his friend's death, he ends up betting his own life.

Filled with memorable characterizations — Carver's boss, the shrewd Old Man Norton; Dagmar Helveg, Norton's fascist assistant; regional investigator Charlie Becker, a plain-talking, commonsense cop — Bet Your Life conducts a stealthy philosophical investigation of its own, in which our hero ends up investigating the mysteries of his soul.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060505394
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/05/2002
Edition description: 1ST
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.13(d)

About the Author

Richard Dooling is a writer and a lawyer. His second novel, White Man's Grave, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and he has also been a finalist for a National Magazine Award. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal, among many other publications. He lives with his wife and children in Omaha, and commutes online to Bryan Cave, LLP, in St Louis, where he specializes in developing Web-based legal products.

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Bet Your Life 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In Bet Your Life, Richard Dooling spins a tidy mystery suspense tale with twists and turns aplenty. Think Raymond Chandler complete with hi-tech savvy and a contemporary edge. Press releases dub this book 'classic noir', and it certainly is that, combined with well-defined characters and an unusual plot Carver Hartnett is a straight arrow insurance fraud investigator who tells the story in first person. Miranda Pryor is the chaste but seductive object of Carver's desire. And Lenny Stillmach is the friend who manages to be a high tech genius despite manic-depression and chronic drug and alcohol abuse. These three friends comprise the team of fraud investigators who are very good at what they do. Each brings different but effective skills to the team. Lenny's unexpected death under strange circumstances casts suspicion on his friends. These suspicions are compounded by the discovery that he has purchased multiple six figure life insurance policies naming Carver and Miranda, as well as others, as beneficiaries. Seems that Lenny's boss, the local police, and FBI think he has been running a lucrative scam by buying and selling high dollar policies for fun and profit. Carver can't trust anyone, including Mrianda, and he finds himself up to his eyebrows in a local and federal investigation. His life is in danger and it's up to him to find out why as he tries to separate the good guys from the evil doers. Richard Dooling is an award nominated author because his wordsmithery is unique. His style is modern with the noir voice of past masters of the genre. Bet Your Life is not a simplistic tale. Intelligent fans of the genre will enjoy the experience.