Marshall Thornton's short story, "The Beneficiary," is a great suspenseful tale that takes place during the time of the 1990s Los Angeles riots, and is the story of a desperate real estate agent who comes up with a plan to commit insurance fraud involving finding, and marrying, a man who is near death's door. Despite the fact that she finds what seems to be the perfect mark for her plan, as the plan progresses, she begins to worry that things may not be quite as simple as she originally thought.
Thornton's writing is excellent. His characters are well developed and the setting was enough to make one believe they are back in the 90s. The story progresses at a strong pace and keeps you guessing until it reaches an ending that to me has a bit of a Hitchcock-like twist. The story is short, and so it was a bit disappointing to reach the end so soon. But at the same time, in the hectic times we live in today, a good, quick read is also much appreciated sometimes, and this story definitely provides just such an experience.
This is a story that I believe everyone will enjoy.
- Gregory Bernard Banks, author & publisher