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4.5 out of 5 stars45
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I just finished reading this book and am almost breathless and filled with a desire to lock all the doors and windows! A Simple Plan tells the story of average guy Hank, who, with his brother and his friend, finds millions of dollars in a crashed plane. His first inclination is to turn the money in, but he is persuaded to keep the money. One thing leads to another, and before he knows it, he has murdered someone to protect his secret. This is just the first in a series of blood-curdling events that fill the story with such amazing intensity that you will not be able to put the book down until you finish it.
Hank narrates the story in the first person in a very calm, rational, and guiltless manner. Each act is, to him, completly necessary and therefore, justified. The violence comes quickly and, just when you think it won't get any bloodier, it does. The one constant thread throughout the book, is that Hank still considers himself to be a regular guy, despite having committed unspeakable acts. His conscience is clear and life can go on with very few regrets.
Scott Smith has written a wonderfully suspenseful story that keeps building and building. I have seen the film version; it is not as graphically violent (it couldn't be!) and not as relentless in its horror. I recommend this book to fans of suspense, mystery, and crime. It is a thrilling story!
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This is, without a doubt, an amazing debut novel. It is a modern day morality tale, which sees people's lives change significantly, when they come upon a veritable treasure trove of money. The change is not necessarily for the better, as the reader will discover.
The plot revolves around two, small town brothers, Hank and Jacob Mitchell, who, along with Jacob's friend, Lou, inadvertently come upon a downed plane that is buried in the snow, deep in the woods of a rural area. In that plane is a dead pilot, along with four million dollars in cold, hard cash. All three of them could sure use the money. The question is, what are they going to do about it?
They come up with what they think is a simple plan. They will take the money and just wait and see, not spending it, until the coast seems clear. From the moment they make this decision, life is never the same for any of them. Hank, taking charge of the money for safekeeping, begins to undergo a change that is seemingly uncharacteristic for one who is outwardly so respectable, rational, and benign of countenance.
As the issue of the money begins to divide the three accomlices, greed and betrayal bubble to the surface, to culminate in a series of chilling, cold blooded murders. Meanwhile, Hank, manipulated by his Lady MacBeth of a wife, Sarah, begins a personal downward spiral, succumbing to an evil so profound, that it will leave the reader astounded.
What happens to them all makes for an amazingly powerful and riveting story of psychological suspense. Written in clean, spare prose, this well crafted novel is a riveting page turner that grips the reader from the inception, holding the reader in its thrall until its climactic conclusion. The ending serves to show the reader that what goes around does, indeed, come around.
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HALL OF FAMEon 21 May 2002
What a great book. And hard to review without giving away to much of the story.
The twisted logic and spiral of paranoia and violence which spins out from this simple plan is hillarious.
A rollercoaster ride in which you are firmly onside with the protagonist as he lurches from one nightmare to another, and cant help but cringe as things take a turn for the worst.
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on 28 May 2001
Though by the time you reach the end this book may leave you rather depressed, it is a thrilling roller-coaster of emotions on the way. The stroy tells of the moral dilemmas faced by an ordinary, hard-working man as his life spirals out of control when he stumbles across a large amount of stolen money, and the efforts he goes to in order to keep the cash.
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on 10 September 2010
I chose this book after reading several Amazon reviews praising how good it was... and I was not disappointed. For 3 days I was unable to put this book down, it had me completely gripped. The story will leave you asking so many questions to yourself. I guarantee that you will put yourself in the shoes of not only the main character Hank but also his friends and family too. This is a simple tale of one person's moral dilemma - what is the right thing to do? I'd like to think that if I found a stack of money in the middle of nowhere then I would report it to the police, but hey that would be a pretty dull story wouldn't it? This is the first Scott Smith book I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I will definitely be checking out his work in the future.
The reason I didn't give it 5 stars I will mention now. I don't want to spoil too much of the plot to anyone who has not read the book so:

if you are one of these people STOP READING THIS REVIEW NOW (SPOILERS AHEAD)

OK I think the scene at Lou's place where the big killing spree took place was hard to believe. I don't believe that 4 people were killed in this house and the police believed Hank's story. He even admitted himself that he was rushed and he was worried about leaving some evidence behind. Also this was a big turning point in Hank's character Up until this point I had been able to relate to him, and think despite his actions he was doing them for a reason. To protect Jacob by finishing off Pederson, providing for his wife and child by taking the money in the first place. Even shooting Nancy was done in self defence. But when he murdered Sonny in cold blood, this is where the story became less believable for me. I realise that Hank was getting himself deeper and deeper into trouble trying not to get caught - but murdering Sonny (after the recommendation by his wife!) was the last straw. From here on in I began to dislike Hank and then he confirmed this to me by shooting his brother too. I wanted him to get caught, killed or whatever. I don't know maybe Scott Smith intended this for the reader? It certainly didn't stop me reading the book to the end and it was just as intriguing as all these incidents took place.
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VINE VOICEon 11 April 2007
"Lou and I circled the wreck, neither of us approaching close enough to touch it.. The plane was surprisingly small, no bigger than Jacob's truck, and there was something fragile about it; it seemed far too tiny to support the weight of a man in the air. "

Sit tight, because you are in for a breathtaking ride. Hank, brother Jacob, and friend Lou happen upon a crashed aeroplane in a deserted area of the country partially covered in snow. Investigating further they find the pilot who is dead, and a large carrier bag loaded with over four million dollars, just sitting in the plane with the dead pilot.

They are excited but unsure as to what they should do. Should they report it, or just take it away from the plane and split it? Having decided on the latter they decide that Hank will hold the money at home until a safe time has passed, and then they will divide it up. While waiting on time to pass, the personalities of these three guys change in enormous ways. They become anxious and agitated waiting the time out, as each personality does a downward spiral. They sweat, their imaginations run wild, and all they can think about is the pleasures that would be derived from this windfall. There is mayhem and murder as this plot unfolds in this wonderfully gripping novel. The love of money is certainly the root of all evil, and all that goes along with it.

I highly recommend this book. It was worth my time and money.

Reviewed by Heather Marshall Negahdar (SUGAR-CANE 27/04/07)
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
This is, without a doubt, an amazing debut novel. It is a modern day morality tale, which sees people's lives change significantly when they come upon a veritable treasure trove of money. The change is not necessarily for the better, as the reader will discover.
The plot revolves around two, small town brothers, Hank and Jacob Mitchell, who, along with Jacob's friend, Lou, inadvertently come upon a downed plane that is buried in the snow, deep in the woods of a rural area. In that plane is a dead pilot, along with four million dollars in cold, hard cash. All three of them could sure use the money. The question is, what are they going to do about it?
They come up with what they think is a simple plan. They will take the money and just wait and see, not spending it, until the coast seems clear. From the moment they make this decision, life is never the same for any of them. Hank, taking charge of the money for safekeeping, begins to undergo a change that is seemingly uncharacteristic of one who is outwardly so respectable, rational, and benign of countenance.
As the issue of the money begins to divide the three accomplices, greed and betrayal bubble to the surface, to culminate in a series of chilling, cold blooded murders. Meanwhile, Hank, manipulated by his Ma Barker of a wife, Sarah, begins a personal downward spiral, succumbing to an evil so profound, that it will leave the reader open mouthed.
What happens to them all makes for an amazingly powerful and riveting story of psychological suspense. Written in clean, spare prose, this well-crafted novel is an absorbing page-turner that grips the reader from the inception, holding the reader in its thrall until its climactic conclusion. The ending serves to show the reader that what goes around does, indeed, come around.
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on 1 July 2008
Having read RUINS--with it's marvellous prose and none-stop pace--I moved next to A SIMPLE PLAN. Though it was slow to start, it was worth the investment. As every creative writing teacher will tell you, story = character + confrontation. Hank, the main character, is given a very hard time by Scott Smith; which is precisly what you want. There is no fat in this novel. The suspense is a constant, each new obstacle accompanied by something worse. Everything flows organically, each chapter sliced into manageable scenes. Pleanty of surprises from left-field that will leave you breathless. Invest your time in this novel. But what the movie is like, I can't say.
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VINE VOICEon 16 April 2002
An ironic title indeed. I was completely gripped by this morality tale in the same way that I was affected by Shakespeare's "Macbeth" - the profound sense of tragic waste that pervades the final chapters is brilliant. Unlike Macbeth, Smith's hero is an ordinary, underachieving Joe in a dead end job and his wife pregnant, and such was my empathy with his condition and circumstances that I was prepared to reserve judgemnt when he is driven to commit horrifically violent acts. The characters, their weaknesses and their motivation are totally engaging and in a rollercoaster of moral dilemmas the reader becomes complicitous and tries to justify the evil means to a happy ending. The action of course spirals out for control for our hero and a series of heartstopping twists at the end brings down the curtain on a superb read. Strange that Smith doesn't seem to have written any more books - probably worth reading even if they were only half as good as this one. I even thought the film as a good version. But you should read the book.
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on 13 May 2008
Saw this film version about 5 yrs ago, and stumbled on this book during a car-boot sale.
What a superb book. Great storyline, well written, fast paced, and most important of all, believeable?

Put yourself in the same situation..... 4 million dollars between 3 of you, one dead pilot in a crashed plane. What you gonna do? Hand the money in? Kill your brother and his friend? Split the money and run?

Read it.............. great book.
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