Sean French/ Fiction Social
[★-lost me ★★-average ★★★-worth a read ★★★★-excellent ★★★★★-amazing]
A dark, comic and timely novel from Sean French, one half of the acclaimed thriller-writing duo, Nicci French. Mark Foll is someone you might have spoken to, although you wouldn’t necessarily know it; he might have called you in the middle of your favorite television program to ask if you could take part in some market research, or you might even have called him to sort out your mobile phone contract or to find out where your airline tickets are. Mark has been drifting from terrible job to even worse job when he washes up at Wortley Insurance, working as claims adjuster. It is only when he is sent to Marson Greem, a Norfolk village, to investigate what might or might not be a cancer cluster caused by a waste management company insured by Wortley, that life begins to become something Mark might believe actually involves him. Start From Here is a social comedy, a love story, and a novel about patterns, randomness, and the patterns we see in randomness — in love, in life, and in insurance.
Mike Foll is your average kinda guy: saying the wrong things in the day and philosopher at night. He has a shitty job at an insurance company as a call operator in claims when one day(or night, actually), his girlfriend Sonia(who he breaks up with because he said something stupid) asks him how he can manage at such a job. Mike realizes that this is not his calling and that he craves something fun. The next day, he goes to the head of his department and asks for more fun. He is immediately deployed to work with Giles Buckland, who visits the houses of the claimants. One day, Giles and Mike are asked to visit a village, Marston Green, and investigate, discreetly, the accusations of the inhabitants that Marshco, an industrial waste dumping company, on of the clients of Whortley Insurance where Mike works, has been releasing toxins in the air and that the level of toxins in very high and the waste flows into River Teel, and has subsequently caused cancer to many of Maston’s residents. The protesters have a fair point, there are a lot of cancer attacks in the area. Meanwhile, Giles suspects Marshco of illegal dumping and verbally threatens its chief. Mike then starts dating one of the protesters against Marshco. One night, Giles is attacked and injured badly by unknown persons. Mike then goes to Giles’ great aunt Frankie, who was an actuary, for her views on the spread of the cancer epidemic. The whole book turns into an anti-climax after that.
Frankly, I never thought I could find a book related to insurance interesting. i mean, yuck. But this was pretty much so, and provided valuable insight on the world of insurance and environmental causes and philosophy and patterns.
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