Claim Denied

Fiction - Thriller - General
358 Pages
Reviewed on 04/14/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Claim Denied is a thriller that involves the supernatural and is best suited to the general adult reading audience. In this intriguing and slow-burning dark fantasy tale by G R Jerry, we find ourselves embroiled in the plot around Benjamin "F" Johnson, an insurance man with a deep addiction to the realms of fantasy. When time travel, horror, and looming phantoms enter the mix, Benny and his compatriots must have their wits about them to survive it all, lest they succumb to chaos and lose their souls forever to the blackness of the abyss.

G R Jerry has much to offer readers in this enthralling work, which is brimming with vivid atmosphere, cinematic dark fantasy, and paranormal depictions. The lines between Benny’s psyche and the horrors of the world he encounters are beautifully blurred. The events portrayed seem like a nightmare or a fever dream in which you’re praying that the central group of characters can find their way out. This ensures suspense, and the plot develops from an initial slow unfolding of Benny’s life and obsessions into a rip-roaring ride of phantasmic proportions. Fans of Stephen King and Dean Koontz will find enjoyably dark horror elements that intersperse with surreal adventure, mystique, and sharp wit in the dialogue. Claim Denied is a recommended read for thriller fans everywhere, and one which will certainly leave you haunted long after you put the book down.

Alma Boucher

Claim Denied is an outstanding thriller by G.R. Jerry. Benny Johnson is a specialist in boiler and machinery claims at BestEver Insurance. Benny is a workaholic and is always at work before six. One morning he went to the bathroom when the lights were still off, and he saw something creepy in the mirror. Benny was still shaking when he got back to his desk, not exactly sure what had happened. Then Frances Murphy called Benny and accused him of installing a microphone and a camera in the powder room of her restaurant. Frances claimed to have heard Benny calling her name in the powder room and saw his image in the mirror. When Benny arrived at the restaurant, it was clear that something serious had occurred. There were flashing lights from police and medical rescue vehicles everywhere.

Claim Denied is an extraordinary thriller with a complicated and exciting plot. The story was a page-turner, and I could not put it down for a minute. The chapters alternated between Trudy's and Benny's experiences of events and flowed into each other. G.R. Jerry introduces the reader to the now and then takes them back in time to when everything started. The transition was comfortable and natural, and it was easy to follow. The characters were excellently developed and authentic, each with distinctive attributes. Benny and Trudy were my favorites. There was something special between them, even though they weren't in a relationship. The book is well-written and was much more than I expected.

Pikasho Deka

If you're a fan of Southern Gothic horror, grab a copy of Claim Denied by G.R. Jerry. Benny works for the BestEver Insurance company as a specialist in B&M coverage. An otherwise dedicated employee, Benny loves to spend his time flirting with his coworker, Trudy Perkins. But his life turns upside down when one of BestEver's claimants is discovered brutally murdered at her restaurant. Suspecting the murder to be linked to his visions, Benny warns Trudy, only for another coworker to become the next victim of the phantom behind the mirrors. As events unfold further, Benny finds himself alongside two police officers and Trudy inside the world of Lord Lawrence, an evil entity from the Middle Ages who tortures and murders his victims in his unearthly asylum. Will Benny be able to save himself and Trudy from this hellish nightmare?

G.R. Jerry takes readers on a rollercoaster of a ride with this supernatural psychological thriller that will have readers on the edge of their seats until the end. With a seamless blend of horror, mystery, and dark humor, Jerry has crafted a surreal tale of revenge and murder that keeps pulling the rug from under your feet over and over again. The plot is deliciously unpredictable, with well-placed curveballs every step of the way, providing plenty of thrills and tantalizing moments that make you wonder what's going to happen next. The characters are distinct and full of quirks. I loved their inner monologues and dialogue that give you a glimpse into their inner personas. Overall, Claim Denied is a fantastic book for horror aficionados.

Jamie Michele

Claim Denied by G R Jerry is a satirical horror novel that revolves around an insurance claims adjuster named Benjamin “Benny” Johnson and a freakishly freaky apparition that wreaks more havoc than just a simple, run-of-the-mill unpleasant sight lurking by the urinals. From the mirror, this monster speaks in a voice that is identical to a BestEver Insurance client's voice. Even spookier? That client, Ms. Frances F Murphy, has had a similar experience except the voice was Benny's. From here, we follow the path of who, or rather what, this cloaked spawn is, weaving back and forth between an other-world, the far past where castles are in use, men talk like pirates, and a torture cage has been built. There are disappearances that stink of kidnappings, portals, and prostitutes, and a contemporary, definitely not gay Benny is lured through a mirror into the belly of all things hellish.

When discussing G R Jerry's novel over dinner with my husband, I told him if Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass and David Wong's John Dies at the End had a book baby, Claim Denied is what it would look like. It is a creatively written story with characters who are distinct in their quirkiness and become a comfortable part of Jerry's transitioning landscape. The dialogue is witty and Benny's acerbic perception of life, work, and what he is tossed into provides good moments of comic relief amidst a horror story. The narrative does sometimes venture into loquaciousness, especially when the backstory is heaped over stretches of multiple pages, but once Jerry brings readers back into the story's action the pacing rights itself. One of my favorite lines is a nuanced play on words where one ghastly character thinks, “Come to me and let me claim your sweet, sweet soul.” This is a fitting turn of phrase when the main character works on a completely different type of claim, and not of the soul-stealing variety. Well played, Jerry. Well played.

Asher Syed

G.R. Jerry weaves a mirror and an amulet into a historic gateway in the time travel suspense novel Claim Denied. Benny Johnson of BestEver Insurance is a hard-working cubicle warrior with an acrid sense of humor. In the first few pages, Benny has a paranormal encounter with a mirror and recognizes its voice. A phone call confirms that the client saw the same but with his voice. Benny goes about his business until it becomes obvious that the phantom in the mirror is wreaking havoc in his life and on those around him. Mysterious deaths occur, like a splattered woman on a bathroom wall, and people seeing Benny as the phantom. In another timeline, a backstory is built and the origin of the mirror, amulet, and time travel connect to several characters, a dark history, and a terrifying presence.

Claim Denied by G.R. Jerry is a different style of time travel for three individual reasons. The first reason is that Benny is one of the acridest personalities I have come across and his likeability is established by his sarcasm. No matter where he is in the story, he is a hilarious character and brings levity to the horror but does not lessen it. The second reason is that the story connects a gateway and because this involves a lot of characters, they feel pleasantly like an ensemble, no matter the location or not having interacted with each other at that point. Lords, ladies, detectives, and insurance workers fit together organically. Finally, the occult aspect and the phantom pull the strings together. Claim Denied has a genuine forward-moving esoteric plot that overrides all that is happening. All of these combined make Jerry's book an entertaining triple threat and a delight to read. Recommended.