Hatchet Women: Nick Sconce
We have all heard about the Terminator or someone that terminates a life but what would happen when four tough, blonds walk into your office and demand your signed resignation on the spot. Meet the Hatchet Women trained to take down anyone that dares to embezzle, launder, cheat or commit fraudulent practices in any one of the companies they handle dealing with many types of insurances.
Edie Firebaugh is the head of the team with these three other women forced to look to part, create a hair color that fits the company’s image that focuses on insurance. Her job is the insurance company’s event planning department which is really a front for her real job or focus which is in special investigations and prevention including agent termination. As Edie, Becca, Austin and Mona dig deep into the pockets, wallets and books of many different areas of the insurance companies they are investigating they learn about annuity payments that are not quite what they and they uncover an intricate scheme in the private placement annuity unit which curtails and limits pay-outs to its clients. But, the suspense is high and as we get to know each one of these women we learn more about Edie and her affiliation to the church, Mona her henchwoman who goes into the offices like a real bulldozer and knocks down barriers and demands the agent or District Manager to sign a resignation letter for immediate termination bringing in the guys from the warehouse to take what they need to give to the next person. Not everything and everyone is what they seem as we get to know all of these women’s back-stories and realize that Mona is addicted to drinking, losing herself in bars, Austin is smart in her own way yet seems insecure and Becky finds the information needed to take down the person that is about to be terminated. Murder is not foreign to this novel as pay-outs to customers through mass murders is not what they seem. They are meant to appear as accidents but someone is behind them who and why and how? Who wants to delete this unit which is the most profitable of them all? Just what part do the girls play and why is Easton Frost a member of the sales unit after Edie to move to another area? Why does he seem to pop up at all times and why does he appear to be stalking her in some respects?
Sometimes events change and you do your job so well that it might backfire on you as they make their head bosses aware of some of the mismanagements of funds in District Manager Laurent’s area and how instead of rewriting the old polices his agents cancelled them and wrote new ones added to their profits. Hearing Taylor and Siemens discuss their viewpoints Edie begins to see as she does at other times during this meetings to discuss termination that something is changing and that she might lose her argument and be overridden to terminate the person or persons in question. Their plan is to reconstruct the area or companies with a district manager like Laurent and support him with life experts in different areas or fields.
At this meeting to discuss this District Manage it was revealed that they were independent contractors and did not work for the company so the American Disabilities Act did not apply. As the information is further revealed that he had five failed reserve district managers, two he gave large, unapproved policy assignments failing the district manager training program. His daughter failed the Series 26 exam for the final time. But, his program stated would internalize district operations according to Taylor and agreeing to start a change in their process in the most under-productive states and the most under-performing districts but where to begin and whether to implement this in Ohio and Michigan had not been decided. Rather than fire this man he would keep him in place and have him announce all of his decisions they were taking him through in the back office. Believe it or not they suggested that he make his daughter his recruiter, he could even rehire two failed district managers as specialists in life and commercial lines but why?
Things took a rather curveball turn as Edie and her team were transferred to another division supposedly no longer covert yet when meeting her new boss called Tiny you begin to wonder just what they have in mind for her and her team and if they were going to remain together. The book continues with extensive explanations about death benefits related to insurance, term and permanent life insurance and the differences in payouts which the reader will need to read carefully, slowly and methodically along with the team as Becca takes them through it but somehow there has to be much more and why they were sent to this part of the company is revealed as sometimes being a success and doing you jobs too well is not the solution others want. Who would have believed that four Hatchet women could take down do many and find where the money was going and into which wrong bank accounts and pockets while some accused stand to still profit. Just what is Tiny’s plan for Taylor and how was she going to take him down?
Resentments are high and the meeting of the four with Becca a the helm comes down to the fact that they were expected to fail and possibly resign managing to find new jobs or careers using the 30 percent raise they got and more. Something does not ring true with this operation or company and just who is getting the money from the death benefits and did these people die or were they eliminated?
When Becca delves into the financials and how certain policies are created and paid off it sends all four into hiding and hoping that no one can find them. Turning off their cell phones, taking what they can and each one scattering somewhere else they realize that these are not Dead Peasant policies but someone is managing to kill off the owners before payment is given and they are now tracking down the names of those dead against those still alive and realize that someone close to them is profiting quite a bit from the money not being given out.
There are a couple of people in the company writing annuities and killing off the winners to pocket the money for themselves? On person or agent cooped 12 million dollars and other 6 million. The two new people they are working for know something but just how are Marissa and Tiny involved and what kind of danger are they all in? One agent writes the death certificates and the stop payments on the annuities and no death benefit goes to a family member or anyone else after the award winner dies. So who is creating the illusion of accidental deaths? Just what will happen to the four women who brought the entire operation down and to light? Too much money being handled and to override one of the top brass but will they finally call in the police to stop what has been in place so long? The author’s research into insurance fraud, embezzling, writing annuities, policies and his understanding of the different types of insurances is so extensive that the book can be used as a manual for anyone starting out in the field. Just who is behind the scheme and what happens when four women determined to do their jobs, clean house, terminate those that are guilty of some type of crime dealing with these policies are sent to do a job they were supposed to fail at? Stand clear: Edie , Becca, Mona and Austin are not only a force to be reckoned with and not taken lightly but they are and always will be first rate HATCHET WOMEN! Interesting characters that can handle their own plot line and storylines in stand alones if the author chooses to bring them back.
Fran Lewis: Just Reviews/ MJ magazine