Death Claims (Dave Brandstetter, #2)
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Death Claims (Dave Brandstetter #2)

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  215 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Death Claims is the second of Joseph Hansen's acclaimed mysteries featuring ruggedly masculine Dave Brandstetter, a gay insurance investigator. When John Oats's body is found washed up on a beach, his young lover April Stannard is sure it was no accident. Brandstetter agrees: Oats's college-age son, the beneficiary of the life insurance, has gone missing.
Paperback, 166 pages
Published October 1st 1980 by Holt, Rinehart and Winston (first published 1973)
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 4* of five

The Book Description: "My name is David Brandstetter. I'm a claims investigator for the Medallion Life Insurance Company." He handed her a card. She didn't glance at it. "I'm looking for Peter Oats," he said.

"He's not here. I wish he were. Maybe you can help me. The police don't seem to care."

She was April Stannard. Her lover, Peter's father, had died. April believed he'd been murdered.

Dave Brandstetter's investigation takes him through the rare-book world, to backstage at a co...more
Tfitoby
That great man of "gay" crime fiction, Joseph Hansen, returns with the second instalment of his twelve book Dave Brandstetter, Insurance Investigator series, Death Claims sees Dave in the aftermath of his previous case, dealing with the relationship he fell in to with the spitting image of his dead lover whilst at the same time investigating a new suspicious death of a well insured client.

Objectively Death Claims is the perfectly written crime novel; Hansen weaves a magical web of clues and susp...more
James Thane
This is the second of Joseph Hansen's novels featuring insurance investigator David Brandstetter. A policy holder named John Oats has drowned in the Pacific and the body has washed up on shore. The police and the coroner are happy to accept a verdict of suicide, but Dave is not.

Neither is Oat's lover, April Stannard. In interviewing Stannard, Dave discovers that Oat's young son Peter has gone missing. Peter was the beneficiary of his father's life insurance policy, but when he drowned, John Oats...more
ebausten (Rosa, really)
After 5 years of going to book sales, thrift stores, & rummage sales several times a week -- with the past 2 years spent keeping one eye out for the seemingly impossible (anything MM romance or mystery) -- I finally found this book peeking shyly at me. It was surrounded by Clive Cusslers, John Sanfords & probably 9 (if not more) DaVinci Codes.

It is a treasure. Of course, this means I have to read Fadeout as soon as possible.

Quote from Josh Lanyon's The Hell You Say:
Shortly before he died
...more
Ami
3.5 stars

The second book of Joseph Hansen's "Dave Brandstetter" series brings Dave, claims investigator for Medallion Life Insurance Company, looking for a missing beneficiary. While I did enjoy it, but I didn't love it as much as I did book 1. There was a couple of things that made me feel that way ...

Peter Oats, the missing boy, was 'missing' for almost 2/3 of the book. When he did appear, it wasn't because Dave found him, but because he was coming to the police station himself. In that sense,...more
Bill  Kerwin

Insurance investigator Dave Brandstetter has his doubts about the death of John Oats. True, the retired book dealer was dying of cancer, but good swimmers don't usually drown themselves close to the shore. And then of course there's the fact that Oats changed his beneficiary just days before . . .

I didn't find the plot as compelling as Brandstetter's first recorded case ("Fadeout"), but I am still intrigued by his character. He's a thoroughly hardboiled detective who is also a practicing homose...more
Josh
Reading Hansen is like a lesson in superb writing.
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: "My name is David Brandstetter. I'm a claims investigator for the Medallion Life Insurance Company." He handed her a card. She didn't glance at it. "I'm looking for Peter Oats," he said.

"He's not here. I wish he were. Maybe you can help me. The police don't seem to care."

She was April Stannard. Her lover, Peter's father, had died. April believed he'd been murdered.

Dave Brandstetter's investigation takes him through the rare-book world, to backstage at a comm...more
Edina Rose
Second book in Brandsetter series, it's even better than the first. The mystery is better and there is actually a romance that ends well... for now - it's a series after all.

The mystery
A man is killed just after contacting his life insurance to change his beneficiary, but before he was abled to return the form send by the insurance company. Insurance detective Dave Brandsetter has to make sure that he has not been killed by the current beneficiary, his son. But when he comes to interrogate the s...more
Lady*M
4.5 stars

I got accustomed to Hansen's style so the second book was easier for me to read. His characterization is precise as a scalpel - you can at times hear Dave's sarcasm dripping from the pages. I also like Dave's two sides - one, relentless investigator and two, man willing to compromise in order to make his relationship work. Great stuff.
Jon
I've read one heck of a lot of murder mysteries, and I'm pretty good at spotting clues, guessing bad guys, and playing all the other games that go along with the genre. With this, the second of Hansen's Brandstetter series, written in the early 70's, I was successfully fooled. I completely missed a couple of important clues, and six pages from the end I had no idea who the bad guy was. Four paragraphs from the end I had no idea how Brandstetter was going to effect the capture. Yet it turned out...more
Neet
In this second Dave Brandstetter mystery we find the insurance claims man investigating the drowning of John Oats. John Oats had been burned severely in an accident that disfigured him and left him depressed and in pain. The man also had changed his beneficiary to his life insurance policy from his ex wife, to his son who is now missing. The police and coroner have said that John's death was probably suicide, Dave thinks that there is more to it.Also, on the personal side, Dave has been in a thr...more
Nikki
Minor spoiler here, not about the identity of the murderer, but about a subplot involving Doug.

The only thing that turns me off Joseph Hansen's writing is the thickness of the description. It's vivid, but it's too vivid: a paragraph worth of setting the scene every single time, adjective piled on adjective. They're good descriptions, and I guess it's all a part of his style, but sometimes it gets in the way.

He is good with characters, though. For all the similarities to Chandler, I like the way...more
Lil' Grogan
It's funny reading this after reading the rest of the series but one. It reminded me how much I want to smack Hansen up the side of the head for his damn formula. Then, pull out the single malt and talk to him about Dave.

On this book: actually, Hansen doesn't go off on random diversions here, though he threatens to a couple of times. These books are really about Dave and Hansen's social commentary (which comes on stronger later in the series). I love Dave. Dave grumpy, Dave happy, Dave snarky....more
Deanna
Joseph Hansen wrote interesting stories with superb skill. His characters rise slowly from the pages and surround the reader dragging one into the world he has created. His descriptive phrases are almost poetry. This book is no exception. It is mystery and a tale of human emotions. Everyone says the others are charmers and nice, but someone not so nice killed. A complex mystery unfolds for Dave Brandstetter, the no nonsense detective, to solve while trying to solve his own personal relationship....more
Drianne
Enjoying this series. The mystery was good and I like the characters/atmosphere/writing.
Elsi
Oct 04, 2009 Elsi added it
Shelves: mystery, read-in-2009
You'd think a book only 166 pages long would be a quick read, but it wasn't. I like this Dave Brandstetter guy. He's vulnerable and that adds to his complexity as a character without interfering with his ability to find the murderer. Although Hansen's mysteries were written in the late sixties and seventies, they are fresh enough for today—and I notice that reprint editions by University of Wisconsin press are also available. I'd like to find others in the series, but I think I'll try the used b...more
Writerlibrarian
Brandsetter walks a twisted road to a somewhat redemption in this tale of murder, addiction, filial and unrequited love.

I liked the slow pace and then acceleration of the plot ending in a abrupt stop. It didn't tie all loose ends and let the reader finish the story. I liked that David didn't give up on Doug even if it would have been the easy way out for the writer.

Really looking forward the next title.
Alejandro
Yet another dynamic entry in the always entertaining and thoroughly hardboiled Dave Brandstetter series. I think, of all the mysteries in this series that I have read (unfortunately out of order), this is the one with the tightest structure, and that says something. If you want a solid in to the series or just a fun mystery to curl up with, grab a copy of "Death Claims." You won't regret it.
Averin
I can't put my finger on why the structure/style bothered me in this and not in the previous book. All those parts of speech fulfilling other roles. After a while what seemed really clever just wears one down.
Paola
Another captivating book in one of my favourite detective novel series. The mystery part kept me guessing till the end, but it was the portrayal of Dave's relationship with Doug, and the way they both struggle with coping with ghosts from their respective past, which inevitably affect their commitment to each other, what intrigued me the most.
J.R. Tomlin
I'm not quite sure why, but this has always been one of my favorites of the Brandstetter series. I admit that's not a great analysis. Maybe it's because Brandstetter I always found his relationship with Cecil a bit too perfect and liked it when they broke up for a while. I liked Brandstetter being mad at him.
Jp
The author continues in the hard-boiled vein from the first with a little more about the protagonist, Brandstetter's private life with his lover.

It's interesting that Brandstetter breaks the conventions in that he's a PI in a relationship with something other than his work.
Dlee
This was still interesting, I still cared about Dave and wanted to know more about him but the mystery was all over the place. It had too many suspects, too many motives and far to many descriptive words. I drown in them all.
Murphy
Loved Joseph Hansen's Protag, David Brandstetter. He was super cool and insightful. The story was great and the ending satisfying.
Alexandra
I'm absolutely tickled about Brandstetter's final line! And I was truly guessing right up to the villain's monologue. Quite a ride.
Antonella
I can't understand why Hansen wasn't more known during his lifetime, or now. He is a real master.
Sandra
Excellent noir, tight and focused. But Joseph Hansen must've been depressed!
Randy Weled
Good read....continue to like the writing and style of Hansen....
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Q&A with Josh...: Brandstetter Challenge: #2 Death Claims 26 45 Dec 02, 2013 12:04PM  
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Joseph Hansen (1923–2004) was an American author of mysteries. The son of a South Dakota shoemaker, he moved to a California citrus farm with his family in 1936. He began publishing poetry in the New Yorker in the 1950s, and joined the editorial teams of gay magazines ONE and Tangents in the 1960s. Using the pseudonyms Rose Brock and James Colton, Hansen published five novels and a collection of s...more
More about Joseph Hansen...
Fadeout (Dave Brandstetter, #1) Troublemaker (Dave Brandstetter, #3) Skinflick (Dave Brandstetter, #5) Gravedigger (Dave Brandstetter, #6) The Man Everybody Was Afraid Of (Dave Brandstetter, #4)

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