Buying Time by Pamela Samuels Young

2009. 419 pages. Paperback. Goldman House Publishing.

From: I received this book for a virtual tour review from Pump Up Your Book Promotions.

Short summary:

In this legal thriller, someone is murdering terminally ill people.  These crimes link together an array of characters: a man with chilling ambition and a sordid secret; a former lawyer whose new job makes him wealthy but morally compromised; an assistant district attorney who is in denial about a growing threat in her personal life.

Longer summary:

In the viatical industry, brokers buy life insurance policies from terminally ill people.  The sellers get a portion of the policy’s value – immediate cash – and the investor gets the full value of the policy when the ill person dies.  Facing imminent disbarment and a high-maintenance wife, lawyer Waverly Sloan becomes a broker in this industry.

When people who sold their insurance policies start dying in suspicious ways, Sloan finds himself scrutinized by a task force of Los Angeles federal prosecutors.  Heading this team is Assistant D.A. Angela Evans.  She’s good at her job, but is engaged to a controlling man who belittles her.  When she tries to get out of that relationship, and start a new relationship with easy-going Dre, she finds that both men have a hidden side she did not expect.

Successful lawyer Lawrence Erickson is on track to become the next U.S. Attorney General, but he too has something to hide.  His greatest enemy is his wife, who hates him and knows a career-destroying secret.  She is also slowly dying of cancer.  Erickson and his loyal law partner Becker hatch a plan to accelerate her death, but secrets have a way of coming to light.

(Note: Buying Time does contain some strong language and sexual content.)


I decided to read and review Buying Time based on the author’s biography from her website.  The first two sentences of her bio read:

Corporate attorney Pamela Samuels Young has always abided by the philosophy that you create the change you want to see. Fed up with never seeing women or people of color depicted as savvy, hot shot attorneys in the legal thrillers she read, the Compton Native decided to create her own characters.

I like that: an author filling a gap, writing the books she wants to read.

Samuels Young’s experience as an attorney is clear from the legal knowledge that is convincingly worked into the story.  I like legal thrillers that dig into the details of the work.   I get suspicious if things are too easy, if the characters are not restricted by things like technology, jurisdictions and politics.

Of course, hard-working and ethical Angela Evans is who I was rooting for, but I liked how some of the main characters were morally gray if not downright evil.  Erickson’s buddy Becker was a particularly interesting and slippery character.

I loved when, near the end, some of the characters find themselves unexpectedly hiding out together.  They don’t all like one another but are forced to cohabit a small apartment for a while.  These scenes were still tense, but had some rather funny moments as well.

Midway through the book, I suspected the truth of how the central murder went down.  However, the thriller still had some revelations in that corner, and I definitely didn’t know how it was all going to end for the characters.

Though I gravitate toward thrillers as a genre, they are not all hits with me.  Thanks to its grounding in legal know-how and interesting characters, Buying Time can be counted as one I enjoyed.

Other reviews:

Just One More Paragraph

The Literary Omnivore

the little reader


Filed under Mysteries & Thrillers

2 responses to “Buying Time by Pamela Samuels Young

  1. I totally agree- thrillers aren’t my thing, but Buying Time is a very solid thriller for everyone.

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