Archive for February, 2010

Feb 24 2010

Bet Your Life

Published by under Books

by Richard Dooling

This was a nice little mystery story set in the insurance industry with a few references to the old movie “Double Indemnity”. The main characters in the story are investigators for a life insurance company. Three young investigators and their older generation boss are the main characters. One of investigators dies after being fired and spending the evening out with the other two investigators who then want to figure out if it was murder, suicide or an accidental drug overdose.
There is a small dose of computer hacking thrown into the plot, but the context is mainly provided by the ‘viatical’ industry which began to flourish when the aids epidemic arose. Briefly, a viatical settlement occurs when a terminally ill person sells their life insurance to a company for a fraction of its value after death; i.e. money now for them vs. more money later for some beneficiary. All legal but tempting to abuse, as it is in this story.
A nice little mystery in which the investigators need to be investigated.

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Feb 24 2010

Transition

Published by under Books

by Ian M. Banks

The book jacket calls this “An apocalyptic fable for terrible times”, and the introduction pins the timing to the period between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the fall of the Twin Towers. That seems like a god transition to focus on, but as it turns out, that time period doesn’t seem the least bit relevant to the story. While I like Banks’ writing, I didn’t like this book.
This story seems a hodge podge of ideas. It is based very loosely on the “Many Universe” interpretation of quantum mechanics, but only as a abused ploy for a lot of what is essentially magic. Some good bits of writing but the plot is just a battle between good guys and bad guys (both women), with too many miraculous capabilities used to resolve the plot.
The story is developed as an interweaving of episodes happening to the several main participants and this may be the best aspect of the story.
Not recommended.

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