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A Simple Plan [Mass Market Paperback]

Scott Smith
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 25 2007 Vintage
It All Seemed So Simple...

Two brothers and their friend stumble upon the wreckage of a plane—the pilot is dead and his duffle bag contains four million dollars in cash. The men agree to hide, keep and share the fortune. But what started off as a simple plan slowly devolves into a gruesome nightmare none of them can control.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Once one accepts the bizarre premise of Smith's astonishingly adept, ingeniously plotted debut thriller, the book fulfills every expectation of a novel of suspense, leading the reader on a wild exploration of the banality of evil. Indeed, it is difficult to believe that a tyro writer could have produced so controlled and assured a narrative. When Hank Mitchell, his obese, feckless brother Jacob and Jacob's smarmy friend Lou accidentally find a wrecked small plane and its dead pilot in the woods near their small Ohio town, they decide not to tell the authorities about the $4.4 million stuffed into a duffel bag. Instead, they agree to hide the money and later divide it among themselves. The "simple plan" sets in motion a spiral of blackmail, betrayal and multiple murder which Smith manipulates with consummate skill, increasing the tension exponentially with plot twists that are inevitable and unpredictable at the same time. In choosing to make his protagonist an ordinary middle-class man--Hank is an accountant in a feed and grain store--Smith demonstrates the eerie ease with which the mundane can descend to the unthinkable. Hank commits the first murder to protect his brother and their secret; he eerily rationalizes the ensuing coldblooded deeds while remaining outwardly normal, hardly an obvious psychopath. Smith's imagination never palls; the writing peaks in a gory liquor store scene that's worthy of comparison to Stephen King at his best. Two things are certain about this novel of moral corruption: it will rocket to the top of the bestseller lists and the movie (rights have been sold to Mike Nichols) should be a corker. 75,000 first printing; BOMC and QPB alternates.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA-On an afternoon jaunt, Hank, his brother, and a friend accidentally discover a wrecked plane. Inside they find the dead pilot and a sack containing four million dollars. The men know that they should notify the authorities, but instead they devise a foolproof scheme for keeping the money. They will hide it for one year, tell no one, live normally, and then divide the loot into three equal portions. Nothing can go wrong with such a simple plan-or can it? Smith draws his characters deftly, fully exploring the changes that occur in each of the men after their discovery. The plot is clever, gripping, and full of twists. As Hank narrates the story, the tension builds slowly, but is sustained until the surprise ending. YAs will quickly become caught up in this polished suspense novel.
Judy Sokoll, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Matchless mix of crime and horror April 30 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A simple man with a simple and happy life suddenly has the opportunity to reach for something more when he and his even more simple brother and his simpler brother's tirelessly greedy friend discover the snow-covered wreck of an airplane. When the three find the horribly crow-ravaged body at the controls of the wreck, their first impulse is to call the local police of their rural town. Then they find the flier's cargo, a duffle bag bursting with hundred dollar bills, and they realize a chance that will kill them unless taken. The narrator and his brother Jacob are safe after a youth of uncertainty - their parents were killed in a freak accident that left the two indebted orphans. While the narrator seems to have adjusted to his comfortable, if nondescript life, his brother is a scarred shell, a delayed boy in a sad sack's body. Then there's Sarah, the narrator's prgenant wife who soon becomes the brains of the operation. The crew works slowly and carefully, taking small actions meant to preserve the veil they've woven, only to compound the risk of their discovery. Every move to further hide themselves and their money leads to further complications, driving them to even more desperate measures until their plans have become too costly to reverse. By the end of the book, we've seen an incredible metamorphosis of the narrator, not into an evil man - he's always the same simple guy, only he's discovered in himslef an incredible reservoir of willingness to perpetrate evil to protect what the money he didn't even want. It's an evil not the product of greed but by the narrator's being too simple to say "no". Read more ›
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Strong Moral Tale July 19 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is very similar to the movie, which is probably because Scott B. Smith was granted the opportunity to write the screenplay to the film as well. "A Simple Plan" tells the story of two brothers, Hank and Jacob, who find a crashed plane in a forest near their home towns with a friend of Jacob's, Lou. In the plane is a bag of money -- over $4 million. Conflicted over ideas of who owns the money, where it came from, and how it would change their lives for the better if they kept it, they eventually agree to sit on the money for six months, until the spring thaw and the plane is found; if there is no mention of missing money, they agree to split it three ways.
Of course, things don't go as planned, and the novel takes twist after twist which propels Hank, the narrator of the story, into deeper and deeper moral quagmires. With each choice he makes to protect their theft and his sure wealth, he adds new things he would take the fall for should they be discovered, and new things he must live with on his conscience.
While the plot is very similar eventwise to the movie, there are a few deviations -- and, strangely enough, they almost always seem to work in the movie's favour. I watched -- and absolutely loved -- the movie a few years ago, so I knew the basic plot and was pleased to see the similarities. I count the movie among the best pure "moral" movies ever made, where the underlying principle is just a dilemma about doing the right things. But there are things which were in the novel which make Hank's choice less sympathetic than in the movie. In the movie I felt that his choices were truly, as Sarah rationalizes, without choice at all, just outcomes of their initial choice to sit on the money, things that had to follow. He never does anything which is premeditated and malicious.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but for once the movie is better July 7 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read this novel after having already viewed the movie by the same name. The book and film start off nearly identically: Two brothers (Hank and Jacob) and Jacob's friend Lou find a bag containing more than $4 million in a crashed plane in the woods. They agree to hold onto the money for several months, while waiting to see if it is marked or if they will be caught if they attempt to spend it. If nothing happens in six months, the three men will split the money, leave town, and live happily ever after while enjoying the finest things in life. Only, as you already surely know, the plan turns out to be not so simple. Instead, it goes horribly awry.
The movie and book are the same in the way that the plan initially begins to fail. Hank and Jacob encounter the same problems with Dwight Pederson, Lou and his girlfriend Nancy. From there, the movie and book take their respective audiences down different paths that I will not reveal.
I liked the movie's path better, because I could better understand and appreciate Hank's actions in the movie. He comes off as less heartless, and it is easier to see his transformation from a good person to a man who has done completely evil things. Hank is far more ruthless and calculating in the book, and this is harder to accept in light of his beginnings as a normal, good man. It's hard to discuss the differences between the two media without giving too much away.
However, I cannot say that I was at all disappointed in the book. It kept me completely riveted. For the most part, the characters were completely realistic and simply entangled in an awful mess that they feel powerless to free themselves from. After finishing the book, the enormity of the character's losses took my breath away. I was left wondering whether, even if everything had gone according to the original plan, any of the characters would have been any happier than they had been prior to finding the money.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars It was ok...
I know most people have rated this book much better than I, but unfortunately I found this book to be a little boring. Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2008 by WP
5.0 out of 5 stars book or movie, the format doesn't get in the way
Like others, I'm tempted to gravitate from a book review to a movie review, because after reading one and seeing the other, it's difficult not to make comparisons. Read more
Published on Feb. 20 2004 by Wallace Depp
5.0 out of 5 stars What would you do for $4 million?
A Simple Plan is an excellent tale of blackest heart suspense. Shocking, to say the least. One of the best novels of ordinary people pitted against extraordinary circumstances... Read more
Published on May 13 2003 by Ryan Costantino
5.0 out of 5 stars A Simple Plan: A Complicted Demise
I feel that A Simple Plan by Scott Smith is an excellent suspense novel. This novel tells the story of Hank Mitchell, who finds 4. Read more
Published on March 9 2003 by Pollux812
5.0 out of 5 stars A lot of suspense, a truly facsinating book.
This book was jammed packed with suspense from the start. Hank Mitchell and his pregnant wife Sarah start out with normal lives and are very happy people in the beginning. Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2003 by Eric R.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Simple Plan Goes Foul
Hank and Sara go awry with their simple plan to keep the money. It would have been so easy if the players had kept to the plan. But Hank's buddies betray him. Read more
Published on Dec 8 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars Great debut
First of all, I must say it~s no very frequent that a debut novel be adpated to a movie as was the case with this one. So, it must have some quality..
And it does. Read more
Published on Nov. 9 2002 by Carmarthen
3.0 out of 5 stars good, but
this is avery good book, but however this is one thing i could not ignore, there no way the cops could trace this all back to hank, mainly the one beack at the liquior store. Read more
Published on Oct. 9 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars A superb and very scary first novel by Scott Smith
Scott Smith's "A Simple Plan" is the tale of ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances--and who struggle to transcend those circumstances. Read more
Published on Sept. 12 2002 by Catherine S. Vodrey
5.0 out of 5 stars My heart is still pounding from reading it
I just finished reading this book and am almost breathless and filled with a desire to lock all the doors and windows. Read more
Published on Aug. 25 2002 by Kona
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