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on January 29, 2018
I really like the character development in book 2 - as I am contemplating book 3 download my only concern is each book spending the first few chapters placing almost the same exact paragraphs to explain her motivation in continuing to search for her sisters attacker. I’m sure it’s great for a person who doesn’t start with book 1 - but I’m not a huge fan of the repetition... we will see.

Otherwise the plot stands alone and was a good pace, and I am really enjoying how the author brings in the “bad guys” view. You don’t know WHO he is in identification but you are still getting to know what is driving him.
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on February 16, 2012
...I knew I would probably enjoy Death Benefits. Having just finished Absolute Liability, which was a terrific read, I was hoping for another Southern Fraud book, particularly if it featured Mark Vincent, who is my new favorite character du jour. Smoldering, hunky guy with a heart and just enough of a past to keep it interesting. The slowly developing relationship between Julia and Mark is played just right...not so fast as to be unbelievable, but slowly, delectably developed. Just the right pace, in my humble opinion.

I thought the plot was well developed; it certainly held my interest throughout the book and better yet, the "voice" of the killer kept me guessing.

While there is murder and there is death, even a little gore, this is not a heavy, dark book that will haunt your dreams. It is fast paced with well drawn, well developed characters who leave you wanting to know a little more about them. I am eagerly anticipating the next book and only wish the author could write as fast I can read.

This book stands on its own, but I would suggest new readers start with Absolute Liability in order to fully enjoy Death Benefits.
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First of all, let me state once more, this book is a murder mystery thriller and not a cozy murder mystery. There is adult content and blood and gore and it is appropriate for this book. Not one for the sensitive to pick up.

I really enjoyed this thriller. The opening chapter is written by the offender and it chills you. Then we next are reunited, if you read the first book, with our Department of Insurance Special Agents, Julia Jackson and Mark Vincent as they go after a possible 'death benefits scam.'

The location is in Georgia and it shows us the hunting and blue-collar worker mentalities. Not to put them in a group but to show us a different perspective towards working and daily life.

Julia, coming off sick leave, must also deal with her personal demons that are linked to her Sister's rape and family dysfunction. Mark opens up his life a bit for our understanding also.

This book had twists and turns and had me exclaiming out loud several times. I was invested in the story line and read this book quickly.

I look forward to the next volume in this credible series.
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Becton's Absolute Liability: A Southern Fraud Thriller was an unexpected gem of an ebook and led me to reading Becton's historical romances in The Personages of Pride & Prejudice Collection. She shows good versatility in being able to write convincing, interesting PRIDE AND PREJUDICE sequels that stay relatively true to the Austen style as Jennifer Becton and in entertaining us with her modern mystery series as J.W. Becton.

I'd been looking forward to the second book of her Southern Fraud series since the reading of the first one. It does not disappoint, although it does not exceed my expectations. We have the same characters we met in the first and learn a bit more about each but not much more than a bit. I assume that's because this is only the second in what I believe will be a 7-book series and the personal issues will be advanced little by little. Each book does have its mystery to solve and, in this case, it's suspected insurance fraud and murder. There's an unhinged person who has an unhealthy obsession with dead bodies whose inner thoughts we are privy to throughout the book without his/her identity being revealed until the final third of the book. You will probably guess who but there's enough excitement and danger to our heroine to make the story interesting.

The personal issues of the protagonist, Julia Jackson, an ex-police detective who now works as a fraud investigator for the Department of Insurance in Georgia, remain the same. Worry about her alcoholic sister who was raped 17 years earlier has Julia obsessed with finding the rapist, thinking that some kind of closure may help her sister's mental and emotional state. Her friend and ex-lover Tripp Carver, a Mercer policeman, is still around to give emotional and professional support. Fellow investigator Mark Vincent, whom she met and worked with in the previous mystery, has transferred to Mercer and is now working as her partner. (Mark, BTW, is a possible love interest but things are going very slowly in that sense. We have understated, latent sexual attraction that is developing realistically and in such a way as to keep me reading all the books to see how the romance will grow.)

Becton has me hooked on the series. Book 3 is scheduled to be out this year and I hope it will be fairly soon.
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on February 8, 2012
Death Benefits is the second book in Becton's Southern Fraud Thriller series I read the first book, Absolute Liability and loved it so I've been waiting impatiently for the follow up. The Southern Fraud series centers on Special Investigator Julia Jackson who works for the Georgia Department of Insurance, and just like in Absolute Liability I found it easy to identify with Julia. She's smart and capable, but she doesn't try to be super woman and solve all the world's problems on her own. She's also flawed and more than slightly obsessed with her own personal quest for justice, but these character traits serve to make her more likable and understandable to readers.

And then there's Julia's new partner Mark Vincent. We were introduced to him in the first book, and in the first chapter of this book it gets confirmed that they are going to be partners at the DOI for a longer period, that they're working together on the last case wasn't just a fluke. Cue the hallelujah chorus from thousands of Vincent obsessed Becton fans. Let me tell you...Mark Vincent is hot. Like, "serious and for reals" hot. Whenever he and Julia are "on screen" together they burn up the page. Without giving too much away. Becton has created heaps and heaps of sexual tension between two characters who are not (currently at least, we all have big hopes for the future) romantically involved. And yet there relationship is more about respect, trust, and some really amazing moments of tenderness, then it is about that tension. And...Vincent is hot. (just in case you missed that earlier in the paragraph).

The case that Julia and Vincent are working in Death Benefits is actually pretty disturbing. The sections written from the killer's point of view are spectacularly creepy. This was true in the previous book as well - the glimpses inside the criminal's mind in both of the Southern Fraud books feel extremely realistic to me. This particular case involves a body in a burned out car, and a Death Benefits claim made 15 minutes after the widow of the supposed deceased is informed of his demise. The reader, and the investigators, are pretty quick in their guess this is a case of fraud - but who is the person in the car? Where did this body come from. The answers to these questions are both fascinating and kind of brain warping. There is one particularly well written and very visually described scene near the end of the book which has literally broken my brain. I may never be the same. I do not suggest reading that section of this book at 4 am unless you really like to be creeped out.

Even though it is the second in a series, I think that a reader could pick up Death Benefits and jump right in without having read the first book (although I suggest that you do). There are several carry over story lines, but Becton gives enough of an explanation of them to ease in new readers, but not so much that returning readers would feel they are covering similar ground.

Five Stars.
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on October 1, 2016
This started a little slow for me, and I couldn't remember when I read the first book, so it took me a little bit to recall the characters. If you haven't read the first book, it's not imperative that you do, but it would probably help you understand the relationship between the characters better. When the pace picked up, it was a good read. The story was interesting and there was a little bit of a twist that kept me reading. Not a bad way to spend your time, but I don't know if I'm going to continue the series. It wasn't super compelling and I found the main character difficult to relate to.
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on November 3, 2017
This is the second book I've read. It was as good as the first. This is all about what went wrong at a mortuary and the events that were caused by their fraud. The story has great characters, a little humor, and the relationship between Julia and Mark might have a chance (going too slow though). These books are an easy,interesting read.
I understand there are 6 books in this series- I'm ready to read #3.
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on July 6, 2012
Death Benefits is a well written and very nice crime story. The plot is exciting, the characters are well developed and credible, it was a pleasure to meet them again after having read the first book, Absolute Liability, a few months ago.
The titles for these books have been unusually well chosen since the basic stories are insurance fraud investigations which is a new approach to crime stories.
There is a lot going on in the characters' lives and I recommend reading Absolute Liability first in order to enjoy not only the current mystery but the stories around the characters better.

It is said that this will be a series of six books. I very much look forward to the next one which I think will be very important for the development of the series, particularly regarding two issues:
A. The time span. The stories of the first two books are set only a few weeks apart. The author has made a good job of making the characters and the story realistic. However, the main characters are not homicide detectives but insurance fraud investigators and it is not very probable that they on a monthly basis would become involved in life threatening murder investigations. I would like to see a different kind of story next time, or a more plausible time span.
B. The romance. There are so many crime novels featuring female detectives that are, or want to be, romantically involved with their partner or superior officer, and the same kind of romance is budding in the Southers Fraud novels. It would be interesting with some kind of not-so-obvious development regarding this part of the story.
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on March 17, 2013
So glad to see Jennifer Becton had written a sequel to Absolute Liability. I bought this one within minutes of finishing the first and was totally absorbed.

Julia and Mark are back, as is the lazy Ted and the scammers of insurance policies!

I am enamoured of these characters because their personalities and pasts are slowly seeping out of the pages, enough to keep me interested and longing for more. The romance between Julia and Mark is unique among modern novels and is a refreshing change for this reader.

The plot is excellent in this well-written novel and I can hardly wait for the third in the series.

I am not into spoilers, so folks, you will have to just wait - as I have to - for the next book and read this one and the first in the series to satisfy your curiosity!

Good stuff indeed :)
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on February 3, 2012
Jennifer Becton throws us into another wacky crime that our long-suffering heroine, Julia Jackson, must solve. Fortunately, her trusty partner Mark Vincent is back (sigh!), lending his strengths to balance hers as they sift through the evidence. Of course, Julia is still working behind the scenes on her sister's cold rape case, and this time she may actually have a lead. But can she pursue it without endangering those closest to her? And as for Vincent, those of us who are already in love with him get another peek through his rough exterior. What more will we learn about Mark as the story unfolds?

Becton's strengths lie in her character development, which she accomplishes mainly through dialogue and sparse description; in her complex, nail-biting plots; and in her laugh-out-loud sense of humor. The question of romance creeps forward every few chapters, tantalizing us with possibilities but leaving plenty of room for development through the upcoming books in the series.

Start with Absolute Liability, and then move on to Death Benefits, the latest release in Jennifer Becton's Southern Fraud Thriller series! You will be entertained.
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