Guess whose insurance rates are about to skyrocket? Josh Michaels, the protagonist of Simon Wood’s thriller ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN. Mere paragraphs from page one, Josh’s car is forced off the road – and into a river – by an SUV. As Josh frantically tries to escape and swim to safety, he notices the SUV driver standing by the side of the road, doing nothing but watching him struggle and giving him the thumbs-down sign.
And a first chapter that intriguing deserves a thumbs-up. Josh has no idea who the driver was or why he’d want him dead. To make an already stressful situation worsen, at about the same time, a woman named Bell resurfaces in his life. She was his mistress from a while back, and she’s seeking some big-time hush money to keep their secrets – about infidelity and a work-related bribe – from his wife and employer.
As Wood reveals – perhaps far too soon – a big, bad insurance company is behind the whole conspiracy. Yet even with such transparency, it’s kind of a kick to continue watching the screws get put to Josh – they try to kill him via plane, too – and watching Josh trying to screw them right back. Insurance companies enjoy a mostly deserved reputation for being evil entities of corporate corruptness, so ACCIDENTS is at times a wish-fulfillment fantasy.
Hailing from England, Wood’s got the goods to craft thriller scenarios to hold your attention. So what if it ends up just as you’d expect, in a tidy little bow? That’s why we read these things: to see the Everyman win.