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". Magically being able to reach Stephen King heights of horor without relying on the supernatural as a metaphor for very real inner demons, and with beautifully unpretentious prose, Scott Smith's first novel is perfect. He is never judgmental about his charachters, yet remains honest about them. Be forewarned, Smith wields irony over his rural charachters like a scythe. Comparisons to the film "Fargo" are inevitable, but you won't find any little funny guy here.