Death Benefits


By Nelson DeMille

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ebook (Digital original)


ebook (Digital original) $1.99 $2.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around August 1, 2012. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Read this tale of death and wealth from New York Times bestselling author Nelson DeMille as a crime writer on the brink makes a drastic decision, pitting him against his agent and the law as he finds out that writing crime is easier than committing it.

A digital short story from New York Times bestselling author Nelson DeMille that also includes a preview from his upcoming novel, The Panther

Bestselling author Jack Henry is suddenly on the brink of bankruptcy. With bills mounting and the IRS calling, he realizes that he has a major problem on his hands. But who is to blame for his declining fortunes? Certainly not Jack himself. The fault, he determines, lies with his agent, Stan Wycoff – who takes 15% of everything Jack makes for doing absolutely nothing.

Jack needs a way out of his dire financial predicament – and fast. And then he remembers that both he and his agent have substantial life insurance policies on one another. If Stan were to die unexpectedly, Jack would cash in…

But can a famous crime writer commit the perfect crime?


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Table of Contents

A Preview of The Panther

Also by Nelson DeMille

Copyright Page

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On a pleasant Friday afternoon in June, best-selling author Jack Henry sat in the study of his Upper East Side townhouse. He had put his creative writing aside and was now focused on his finances—bills, income projections, royalty statements, and pending deals.

After a few hours, he was coming to the realization that he was on the brink of insolvency. Bankruptcy. "Holy shit."

It just didn't seem possible. He was rich and famous. How could he be broke?

Well, because the money going out was greater than the money coming in. That's how. Actually, he'd known about this problem for some time. But through a process of denial, disbelief, and maybe a little arrogance, he'd put off the inevitable conclusion, which now stared him in the face. "You're broke," he said aloud. "You have no money. You're screwed."

He opened the lower left drawer of his desk, pulled out a bottle of Rémy Martin, and took a swig.

He sat back in his leather chair and stared blankly out the window of his East Sixty-fourth Street townhouse. How did this happen? Well, two financially ruinous divorces had not helped the bottom line. Not to mention that his last two novels hadn't been well received by the critics or the public and had also been turned down by the book clubs. And then there were the movie deals that had never materialized, and the foreign translation deals on his last two books that had dwindled to a few lowball offers from thieving publishers in countries that he couldn't even locate on a map. Lithuania? His agent, Stan Wykoff, wanted him to accept any translation deal, like the thousand bucks just offered by the Bulgarian publisher for his latest novel, Into the Dark Waters. Stan had told him, "I'll see if I can get you a paid trip to Bulgaria to publicize the book." To which Jack had replied, "You go to Bulgaria. See if you can get me another thousand."

Jack took a second swig of cognac. "How are the mighty fallen."

His biggest financial problem seemed to be taxes—federal, New York State, and New York City. A letter from his accountant informed him that his tax obligations—past, present, and future—totaled slightly over half a million dollars with interest and penalties. How did that happen? Well, apparently he'd made enough money to owe taxes, but he'd been spending his gross income as it came in and had not set aside money for his government partners. That wasn't too smart, but he didn't believe he'd been too extravagant in his spending… except of course he had high fixed and necessary expenses, like the two top floors of this townhouse, which cost him ten thousand a month. Then there was his secretary and his housekeeper. And, of course, there was the summer rental in East Hampton at… how much was that? He found the entry in his checkbook. One hundred and forty thousand for the season. Maybe he should have spent this summer in the city. But how could he do that? Everyone was in the Hamptons.

Then there were his incidental expenses like the catered dinner parties; the BMW lease; his club, the Knickerbocker; his clothes; dining out; and a few vacations. Paris in the fall, for instance. St. Barths in January. A few bucks here and a few bucks there, and before you know it, it adds up.

And on top of all this were his necessary business expenses. Typewriter paper. Printer cartridges. Lots of paper clips. Plus a new dictionary. It adds up.

The problem, he was convinced, was not the expenses—he'd always had these expenses. The problem was the income. Expenses were steady; income was down. That was the problem. That was what had led to this alarming gap in his cash flow chart. Or whatever his accountant called it.

And was this declining income his fault? No. It was the fault of his publisher, who couldn't sell crack cocaine to a junkie. And they damned sure couldn't sell books. Not his books, anyway.


  • "DeMille (The Lion) has written the ideal appetizer before the main course of The Panther arrives in October. Elements from the John Corey series come into play, and the story itself is short but tight. Just when the story seems too predictable, DeMille throws in another twist. Highly recommended for ereaders everywhere."—Library Journal

On Sale
Aug 1, 2012
Page Count
34 pages

Nelson DeMille

About the Author

Nelson DeMille is a former U.S. Army lieutenant who served in Vietnam and is the author of nineteen acclaimed novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Night Fall, Plum Island, The Gate House, The Lion, The Panther and Radiant Angel. His other New York Times bestsellers include The Charm School, Word of Honor, The Gold Coast, Spencerville, The Lion’s Game, Up Country, Wild Fire, and The General’s Daughter, the last of which was a major motion picture.

Learn more about this author