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Policy [Mass Market Paperback]

Bentley Little
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 2 2003
Unemployed, divorced, and living in a new state, Hunt Jackson would be considered a risk by most insurance companies. Lucky for him, he's found one that will give him a policy. All he has to do is sign on the dotted line-and note a minor provision: they require a pound of flesh for their investment. No backing out. No joke. No running away.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Similar in style and structure to Little's previous books (The Association, etc.), this chilling tale revolves around a handful of tightly knit characters living in Tucson, Ariz.-including recently divorced Hunt Jackson, his new wife, his co-workers and his best buddy from high school-who are continually harassed by a pesky insurance salesman. The salesman tries to convince them to purchase bizarre policies protecting them from the law, their bosses and even death, and if the clients refuse, inexplicable consequences usually follow. When Jackson turns down additional insurance, for example, he is incomprehensibly charged with child molestation and thrown in jail. Then he buys so-called conviction insurance while behind bars, and the alleged victim is killed in a car accident. One of Little's primary strengths is his ability to create believable characters whose lives are disrupted by a seemingly mundane yet supernatural force. Those characters then emerge as heroes by single-handedly defeating that force-in this case, an omnipotent insurance company that is bent on destroying the world one policyholder at a time. That said, by this point in the author's career-this is his 14th novel-Little's approach, while still enjoyable, has become predictable.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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First Sentence
He took off a day earlier than he'd planned, leaving in the middle of the night, halfway through Conan O'Brien, and two hours later Hunt Jackson found himself speeding past Palm Springs with the windows open, heading east. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor Policy April 27 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Though often overlooked and underrated, author Bentley Little is one of the better writers of modern horror literature. Even his wildly popular contemporary Stephen King calls Little "a master of the macabre." His prose seems to flow effortlessly, making it easy for the reader to become virtually absorbed into his novels and short stories. Combine this with his acerbic wit and keen understanding of the horror genre, and Little is able to weave frightening, gut-wrenching stories that are often satirical jabs at certain aspects of Western society as well.
In his previous novels, Little uses horror as a vehicle for examining and satirizing the scarred underbelly of large institutions like the U.S. Postal system and nationwide department-store chains, more localized powermongers like homeowner's associations and schools, and even subtler Western foibles like racial prejudice. With his recently published novel THE POLICY, Little now takes on the insurance industry.
The protagonists in THE POLICY find themselves engaged in a deadly battle of wills with a preternatural insurance salesman. When the salesman's offer for a particular type of coverage is rejected, the character unwise enough to pass up the offer often finds himself in the midst of the very tragedy he would have been protected against had he made the insurance purchase. When the primary characters figure this out, they feel the only way to permanently get the salesman off their backs is to blackmail him. And they therefore stealthily delve into the salesman's background and past. But they are not quite prepared for the facts they uncover....
As with his other novels, Little's writing style in THE POLICY is quite polished and flows smoothly.
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By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Bentley Little is a terrific writer who seems to have virtually patented his own special niche in the horror genre; his subject matter resonates with the reader on a very strong level, really drawing you into a world where a certain cockeyed corporate mutation is wreaking increasingly disturbing havoc on the local area. Unfortunately, Little oftentimes proves incapable of pulling off a truly satisfying ending, and The Policy suffers from this one seemingly common affliction amongst his work. A storyline that has remained tangible and credible in a weird sort of way in the face of growing surrealism and impossibility eventually falls into the pit of implausibility, marring an otherwise fine and somewhat addictive read.
In The Policy, Little has selected the insurance business as his source of otherworldly evil. It's a choice that makes sense; virtually everyone hates having to deal with insurance companies and their increasingly silly demands, and I know I have had moments in life wherein I seriously wondered if insurance companies are not actual forces of evil in the world. Even a quick Internet search will turn up untold numbers of insurance nightmares told by men and women used, abused, and even threatened by their insurance companies. Thus, The Policy has at its source a storyline that readers will have no trouble accepting. Our primary window on this world is Hunt Jackson, a man who moves back home to Tucson almost on a whim after his divorce. He quickly sets out to find a job, gladly accepting a tree trimming position for which he is overqualified, and a place to settle down. He gets reacquainted with an old childhood friend and his family, meets a special lady, and rapidly begins building a brand new life for himself.
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4.0 out of 5 stars more skewering of the corporate world Dec 22 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Bentley Little did his best work in "The Store" - a novel about an evil corporation taking over small towns all over America - focusing in on one branch in Arizona. Arizona, to Little, is like Maine to Stephen King. "The Store" is a satire on what Wal-Mart is really doing to rural America - with a Mephistophelian twist. Since "The Store", Little has jumped on other American institutions - the mail, homeowner associations, and in this most recent installment, insurance companies. Yes, these stories are formulaic, but they make you think, and the subject matter is scarier to the modern reader than conventional ghosts and bogeys because they are situations we all must deal with - though not in such over-the-top ways.
His best work comes from taking these nuisances of modern life and with great imagination, taking them to extreme conclusions, but his weakness lies in how to end the stories. His endings fall short because the protagonists must confront the core of these evils and dispel them to provide a satisfying ending for the protagonists we have grown to care about.
We know that reality doesn't work this way - we don't win when we fight City Hall in real life. Even Little is aware of this when he has his characters think about the fixes they're in, but he goes and neatly wraps it up anyway. The solutions are campy but the subject matter is still heavy hitting and very thought provoking. I love his books - and I love the way this man thinks!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Ludicrous yet frightening Nov. 30 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
What is the scariest thing a horror author can conjure out of his imagination? A vicious extraterrestrial monster, a vengeful phantom, the boogeyman under the bed? According to Bentley Little, it is an insurance agent! However, this insurance agent doesn't just bother people with a few phone calls or glossy brochures. He also strongly suggests to his clients that if they turn down his policies, some ghastly events will occur, helped along by a group of supernatural insurance company enforcers. The characters in "The Policy" are caught up with just such an insurance agent, forced to take more and more insurance coverage until they are faced with making the most Faustian of contracts to stay secure. Eventually, overinsured Hunt Jackson and his friends have had enough, and they set out to destroy the insurance company.
As with other Little novels, this one takes an ordinary organization and turns it into all-powerful and horrific evil. But this story is more outrageous than the rest, to the point where it has more than one foot into spoof territory. The author does build up a lot of suspense, although it is interspersed with off-the-wall insurance claim handling and policy fine print. I would have given the book 4 stars were it not for the ending, which was silly and surreal. All in all, though, this was an entertaining read.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars INSURANCE IS A RISKY BUSINESS...
This author, one of the best in the horror fiction genre, has a knack for taking the mundane things in life and turning it into something out of one's nightmares. Read more
Published on March 22 2007 by Lawyeraau
2.0 out of 5 stars The Policy
My first experience with Bentley Little was The Collection of short stories. I enjoyed that a lot, but this. I'm speechless. Dull......Annoying.... Read more
Published on July 1 2004 by Russ
2.0 out of 5 stars More annoying than scary
I'm a Bentley Little fan and I bought this book because of all the rave reviews I read here but I have to say I was quite disappointed. Read more
Published on June 10 2004 by Diane LeMire
4.0 out of 5 stars funny and thrilling
i found this book to be very entertaining. it reminds me of television show, "tales from the crypt" which used to air in early to mid ninties. Read more
Published on May 17 2004 by moose
5.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately, I feel it is coming true!
As someone who is having a heck of a hard time keeping up with insurance payments--house, car, health, life, etc...this book really brought out the paranoid delusional in me! Read more
Published on March 25 2004 by Kenja P.
3.0 out of 5 stars Clever Idea, Disappointing Ending
Using the disturbing fact that insurance companies wield a horrible amount of control over our lives was a brilliant idea for a story. Read more
Published on March 3 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and Foreboding
This book was fantastic...if you have any sense of humor you will find many parts absolutely hilarious. Read more
Published on Jan. 26 2004 by agnes bonaparte
4.0 out of 5 stars GREAT idea - what I've been thinking for years!!
This twisted, entertaining story is about a sinister insurance company that wants higher prices for coverage (sound familiar folks?). Read more
Published on Jan. 4 2004 by jennydamoocher
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Little
Exactly what I expected from one of today's finest horror novelists. Well written characters, bizarre situations, and a real sense of menace is what Bentley Little is all about. Read more
Published on Nov. 14 2003 by William M Miller
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