If you don’t think insurance fraud is interesting, then you haven’t read Jennifer Becton’s Southern Fraud Thrillers. Becton revs up the mystery and suspense when she takes us behind the scenes of this engrossing occupation with the heroes of the series, State Fraud Investigators, Julia Jackson and her partner, Mark Vincent. Set in fictional Mercer, Georgia, you can follow Julia and Mark as they identify and track down the culprits behind some perplexing insurance fraud cases that will easily keep you engaged and sometimes dumbfounded at the lengths some people will go to to in trying to deceive their insurance companies.
Here is how Becton defines the series:
“The Southern Fraud series is essentially a crime dramedy like Castle or The Mentalist. Add to that some action, a dash of Southern charm and a hint of romance, and you’ve got the Southern Fraud Series. If you like comedic mystery novels similar to those by Janet Evanovich (without as much slapstick humor) or crime dramedy TV shows, you’ll probably enjoy Southern Fraud.” (from: http://www.jwbecton.com/#!about)
In each novel, Julia and Mark are given a potential fraud case to investigate and solve over the course of the book. Interwoven into each plot are the ongoing story threads that take us into the personal lives of the hero and heroine both revealing their motivations for working in this field and exposing their vulnerabilities. Both of these characters are well-rounded, flawed, just as people we may know in real life, and it didn’t take me long to connect with them and want to know more about their backstories. Both Julia and Mark are focused on the job they are hired to do, but the subtle chemistry between them had me keeping my fingers crossed from the end of the first book, hoping something stronger than friendship might form between them, and at this point, well I’m beginning to smile.
I’ve read the first three installments, and Becton has recently released Moral Hazard, the fourth book in this great series with a dynamic hero/heroine, baffling cases, and storylines that include a cast of dangerous and quirky characters who add a touch of humor, all factors I appreciate in a good mystery.
Absolute Liability (Southern Fraud Thriller # 1)
Publication Date June 2011
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Meet Julia Jackson. Apparently, she’s been abducted….
A woman is taken at gunpoint from the downtown office of Southeastern Insurance, and the police believe the victim is Special Agent Julia Jackson. Only it isn’t true.
Now, with the help of her new partner Mark Vincent, state fraud investigator Julia Jackson must find justice for the woman who was taken in her place.
As Vincent and Julia begin to unravel the multimillion-dollar frauds that led to the abduction, they encounter a cast of quirky characters, one of whom will go to desperate lengths to hide a deadly secret.
Things only become more dangerous as bodies begin accumulating around town, and Julia must discover the truth before the abductor comes to rectify his mistake.
Absolute Liability is the first in the six-book Southern Fraud Thriller series, which blends suspense, humor, and Southern charm with just a touch of romance. If you enjoy reading humorous mysteries or watching TV crime dramedies like Castle or The Mentalist, you should like Absolute Liability.
Read a Free Sample at http://bectonliterary.com/thrillers/absolute-liability/read-a-free-sample/
Purchase from Amazon: Absolute Liability (Southern Fraud Thriller)
Death Benefits (Southern Fraud Thriller #2)
Publication Date: February 2012
Fraud investigator Julia Jackson is back in action, and her next assignment throws her straight into the crosshairs of a bevy of desperate people…and one man who will do anything to keep his secret safe.
Late one night, a car burns on a lonely rural road, and the discovery of a body–charred beyond recognition–in the driver’s seat sets in motion a series of deadly events. And when the wife of the supposedly deceased driver demands her husband’s million-dollar life insurance policy payout before the autopsy can be completed, fraud investigators Julia Jackson and Mark Vincent must determine exactly how the victim died and at whose hands.
As Julia and Vincent interview witnesses and tangle with a host of angry suspects, another man is working behind the scenes to sever his mysterious connection to the body by any means necessary.
Soon Julia and Vincent realize they are not dealing with an average death benefits scam, but with a potential serial killer instead.
Purchase from Amazon: Death Benefits (Southern Fraud Thriller)
At Fault (Southern Fraud Thriller # 3)
Publication Date: 2013
Operating on an insider’s tip, Julia and Vincent must go undercover to infiltrate an organized fraud ring led by a cruel, manipulative boss. But the closer they come to identifying the size and scope of the organization, the more they realize that their source has withheld vital information, causing them to make errors in their investigation—errors that may have grave consequences for an innocent victim.
Meanwhile, Vincent and Julia must both confront mistakes from the past that could rise up to destroy their hopes for the future. Vincent’s tenuous relationship with his son is tested once again. And now that Julia’s search for her sister’s rapist has finally paid off, how will Tricia and the rest of the family react to the news that she has been hiding her investigation from them all?
Will Julia and Vincent unravel the fraud ring before someone innocent gets hurt? Will they be able to keep their families together? Will they cling to the belief that they have done right, or will they begin to see themselves as people At Fault?
Purchase from Amazon: At Fault (Southern Fraud Thriller)
Moral Hazard (Southern Fraud # 4)
Publication Date: March 2014
Now that Julia Jackson has completed her quest to identify and bring charges against her sister’s rapist, everything finally seems to be going her way. All she has to do is await his trial and sentencing, and she has a new fraud case and a burgeoning relationship with Mark Vincent to occupy her time.
As usual, her simple fraud case turns out to be much more complicated–and dangerous–than anyone anticipated. That’s nothing she hasn’t dealt with before. But when an anomaly is discovered in the DNA evidence needed to convict the rapist, Julia’s past mistakes may come to light, and she is thrown into a moral dilemma that will define who she is as an investigator and as a person.
Purchase from Amazon: Moral Hazard (Southern Fraud Thriller)
Source: Purchased all of the books in this series
Jennifer has worked in the publishing industry for twelve years as a proofreader, copy editor, and freelance writer. In 2010, she accepted the challenge to self-publish her first novel. Upon discovering the possibilities of the expanding ebook market, she created Whiteley Press, LLC, an independent publishing house.
Jennifer lives near Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband Bert, a civil engineer, and a cat named Puttytat, who rules the house with an iron claw. She is also an avid equestrienne and owns a horse named Darcy.
Jennifer is currently writing Mary Bennet, a novella in the Personages of Pride & Prejudice Collections. She also writes thrillers, the first of which was released in July 2011, under the pseudo-pseudonym J. W. Becton. (fromhttp://bectonliterary.com/)
Goodreads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4200268.Jennifer_Becton