For whatever reason, I am not usually a fan of short fiction. This collection of legal-related short fiction is an exception. A nice mix of police procedurals, courtroom drama, and legal ethical conundra with interesting twists.
I learned something interesting in a James Grippando story called “Death, Cheated.” A viatical settlement is when someone with a substantial life insurance policy who learns s/he is terminally ill, can sell that policy to another person or group of investors for less than the face value of the policy but more than its cash value. The investors can reap a substantial return on their investment when the principal dies. In the story a woman asks Jack Swyteck to help defend her from a lawsuit of a group of investors. She had been diagnosed with ALS having an anticipated life span of only 2-3 years and sold her life insurance policy for a considerable sum only to discover she had lead poisoning instead which mimics ALS so she wasn’t going to die after all. The ending is somewhat predictable, but a good story. The tables are also turned in “Knife Fight” which has a nice little twist at the end. And “The Flashlight Game” which an engineer father who files constant pro se lawsuits and then gets arrested for murder is fun.
One nice thing about collections of different writers is that new authors are often discovered and so it is here.
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