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The Mercy Contracts de Paul Wornham
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The Mercy Contracts (edició 2014)

de Paul Wornham

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1371,220,593 (4.79)No n'hi ha cap
Títol:The Mercy Contracts
Autors:Paul Wornham
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Etiquetes:Organized crime, euthanasia, conspiracy, assassinations

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The Mercy Contracts de Paul Wornham

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Es mostren 1-5 de 7 (següent | mostra-les totes)
This was a very fast-paced and action-packed thriller. When all avenues for assisted suicide are made illegal worldwide, organized crime is only too happy to step up and give people an opportunity to die on somewhat their own terms, using life insurance payouts to fund the enterprise. When a young college professor starts noticing a strange upturn in senior citizen murders, she starts on a path to unravel the mystery.

I really enjoyed the book as a whole. The characters were interesting and the plot well-developed. However, being a Michigan resident and a graduate of Michigan State University in East Lansing, I have to nitpick a few details. 1) There is no campus of the University of Michigan in East Lansing. Michigan State University is in East Lansing and the University of Michigan is in Ann Arbor. While both schools have satellite campuses in other cities, I don't think either school would dare encroach on the immediate territory of their biggest rival. 2) Caleb flew to Detroit and rented a car for the ninety minute drive north to East Lansing. There are SO many things wrong with this! East Lansing is slightly north of Detroit, but much more west. Say northwest or possibly west, but definitely not north! Also, you're only likely to make that drive in ninety minutes around 3:00 or 4:00 AM, when there's no traffic. Mid-morning, you're looking at two hours at least. And that doesn't even consider the fact that it would make MUCH more sense to fly into Lansing if you're going to East Lansing. Even if you have to have a brief layover in Detroit, it's still likely to be faster and less hassle without the long drive. A little more expensive perhaps, but it was specifically said that the firm would spare no expense for this case. ( )
  PhDinHorribleness | Dec 20, 2015 |
This is a very enjoyable book. The story revolves around an international crime syndicate making money out of euthanasia contracts on those who have lost the will to live, generally for reasons of ill health, yet have no legal recourse to assisted suicide.

The main characters were an academic and a private eye working for an insurance organisation. Both were likable. One quickly became interested in their relationship and vested in their well being as they investigated the syndicate at great personal peril.

The book was certainly a page turner and the plot, although a little predictable at times, had sufficient interest to make the book hard to put down.

As I was reading I thought the book ended in what was actually the penultimate chapter. Personally I would have left it there and not have included the final chapter which was more of a comment on the right for assisted suicide. However this is really a minor niggle about a book that was a very good read and one that I can certainly recommend. ( )
  Hopback | Sep 29, 2014 |
Disclaimer: I received an electronic copy of this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.

The Good:

*fast-paced and kept me coming back - "just one more chapter"
*not too much gore/violence/profanity for a crime thriller (although there is some!)
*no drawn-out bedroom scenes (although there is a strong sexual focus in the book, see below)

The Bad:
*a little unbelievable, but that's typical in thrillers and it was easy enough to overlook
*A few typos - e.g. in the first chapter the first "euthie" is called Henry Wexford then Henry Wexman, then Wexford again
*There was too much focus on sex in the book. There were 4 female characters: one was a 50ish assassin (Nancy), the other 3 were constantly being described by their attractive physical attributes (as opposed to any other characteristic or attribute). Of these three one deliberately and constantly used those physical attributes to manipulate the men around her without any remorse whatsoever (Wanda), another purposely dresses provocatively and shamelessly flirts with coworkers despite being married (Martha), and the third practically jumps into bed with a man she barely knows (Jenny). As if that's not bad enough, none of the male characters in the book can look at Jenny or Wanda without having sexual thoughts. Really? Come on. Sorry, Mr. Wornham, I don't buy that. Women are more than their physical attributes and men aren't all that shallow.
*All the references to the attractiveness of the women felt forced and distracted from what was otherwise a great storyline
*The end felt a little too preachy - trying to make a case for the "right-to-die"

I did enjoy this book and would recommend it to people who love fast-paced thrillers (with the above caveats). Although you pretty much know who did it from the beginning, it was interesting to see how it all played out.

Looses 1 star for the overwhelming obsession with sex and preachy-ness at the end. ( )
  JenW1 | Aug 17, 2014 |
I love reading books that I can't put down! This book had me hooked by the second page and kept me entertained throughout.

Periodically I re-visit the question of assisted suicide. Certainly there are pros and cons and my opinion continually bounces around somewhere between these opposing poles. The Mercy Contracts begins with the United Nations forcing nations to close all assisted suicide clinics. Such a short sighted solution to a multi-faceted problem. And unfortunately, by eliminating all avenues of legal assistance for those who want to end their lives with dignity, they leave a vacuum that organized crime is more than willing to step in and fill.

A statistics professor working on an actuarial project questions the sudden and escalating numbers of elderly people who have been murdered. An insurance adjuster is assigned to explore the potential problem since life insurance policies are involved. The professor and the adjuster pair up, ask questions that organized crime doesn't want voiced and find themselves fighting to stay alive. Throw in some botched mob hits and you've got a great story!

I loved the book for the action, for the plot and because it made me think. What if..... I love books that make me think.

My only negatives for the book weren't enough to make me rate it down. However, I will say that especially in the first few chapters, the attraction between Caleb and Jenny was a distraction. It felt like Paul Wornham had read a book on writing thrillers that said you have to have a romance and so he stuck one in. And so every time Caleb looked at Jenny, we had to hear how distracted he was by her physical body. Geez. Fortunately it settled down part way through the book and the romance stopped feeling forced.

Also, I much prefer books that are believable. I don't see how organized crime can stay in business with as many mistakes as this group made.

But despite these two issues, neither of which were sufficient to make me rate the book down, the book comes together into an excellent story that I highly recommend reading. ( )
1 vota bpreed | Aug 6, 2014 |
Switzerland’s infamous death clinics are outlawed after a UN sanction on the country. After huge international pressure on the country, the clinics close, therefore fully ending the world market in legal euthanasia. In the aftermath, a number of seemingly unconnected and professional hitman-style murders are carried out in various locations around the globe, on senior citizens.

Caleb Pike is a cowboy-boot wearing private investigator based in Georgia, dealing with insurance fraud for the Association – a co-operative of insurers, brokers etc. – when he isn’t flirting outrageously with his married co-worker Martha. He is called in by his boss to assist with insurance claim enquiries from a college professor, who wants to clarify some unusual statistics with the Association.

Picturing a stuffy old professor in tweed, upon flying out to Michigan, Caleb is surprised to meet Jenny Miller, a beautiful black-haired/green-eyed, female professor in actuarial research; descriptions of Jenny evoke images of someone like Eva Green, who can turn heads almost anywhere with her looks.

The researcher has identified statistics which point to a significant rise in the number of murders of senior citizens, noting the professional style of the murders, the lack of motive and with Caleb’s help, identifies the fact that all victims took out an insurance policy within the last 15 months.

In short: a global criminal organisation called Omega is carrying out euthanasia for a price; the terminally-ill victim sets up an insurance policy for a significant amount and includes a charity donation (to a charity amusingly called Youth in Asia!) which ultimately goes to Omega as a fee for the kill. The high value of the insurance pay-out to the family means the charity donation is noted as unusual, but not overly scrutinised.

John Day - one of the assassins - fails to escape the scene of one of the murders, kills an innocent witness, and is shot by the security guard as he tries to enter the getaway car. The intermittently conscious Day lying in a hospital bed, having already botched one job already, is a liability, and Omega decides to cut their losses with him after they learn the Association is withholding the pay-out pending investigation.

Nancy, a fearsome and legendary assassin for Omega is sent to clean up the mess, which extends to Caleb and Jenny who Omega discover are investigating the case. The race to find answers while staying alive is on!

In my opinion, all good thriller/conspiracy writers these days – and I now include Paul Wornham in this list - have identified that little and often is the most effective approach to the genre. The Mercy Contracts is made up of lots of short chapters, bite-size enough to read on the morning coffee break, or on the daily commute, each packed with enough excitement and intriguing characters to leave you wanting to come back again and again.

Which begs the question: is there more to come from investigator Caleb Pike in the future? I'd love to read more books featuring the character, so hopefully the popularity of the book, as well as the skill of the writer will ensure a return at some point, with an equally engaging storyline.

Wornham is a new name to me, this being his second novel after ‘The Philanthropist’s Danse’, a book which after reading this one, was instantly on my To-Read list. The brilliant premise in this novel is so entirely simple, it is hard not to believe that this could actually happen in the real-world. Scary thought.

I received this book for free through the LibraryThing Member Giveaway in exchange for a review. ( )
  andersongs | Aug 5, 2014 |
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