A Simple Plan
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A Simple Plan

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  10,088 ratings  ·  632 reviews
When two brothers and a friend find four million dollars in the cockpit of a downed plane buried in the snow, their plan seems so simple. But from the moment it is set into motion, Hank Mitchell's well-ordered life spins out of control, sending him on a downward spiral of deceit, treachery, and blackmail.
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Published May 26th 1994 by Corgi (first published August 31st 1993)
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Dan Schwent
Hank and Jacob Mitchell and Jacob's friend Lloyd find a crashed plane in the woods. The pilot is dead but he has a duffel bag with 4.4 million dollars in it. The three men agree to sit on the money until they're sure no one is looking for it. But can they keep their mouthes shut? And what will happen when someone talks?

A Simple Plan is the story of three men in a difficult situation that quickly escalates into violence. The underlying theme seems to be how one lie inevitably leads to one more.

Th...more
Kemper
When it comes to Scott B. Smith it’s a good thing we got the quality because the quantity is on the low side with only The Ruins released since this one came out in 1993.

Hank Mitchell is a regular guy living in rural Ohio with his pregnant wife Sarah and a steady job as an accountant at a feed store. He isn’t close to his brother Jacob who is a high school dropout who spends most of his time drunk when not scrounging out a living. One of the few times they interact is their regular New Year’s E...more
Jeff
If you found four million dollars, what choices would you make? Keep it?, Return it?

What if there were two others with you when you found it and you were always the odd man out in your little group, yet were suddenly handed over the controls? How would it change you? Are you up to the responsibility?

One of the other two people is your brother, but he’s weak and unreliable and the other is a gambler and a drunk. Can you trust them?

If you keep the money, how far would you go not to give it up? Wou...more
Steve
Sep 28, 2008 Steve rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maciek
Reading this novel is like watching a trainwreck taking place: you know it's terrible, you know you shouldn't do it, but somehow you can't look away from it taking place; its as if your eyes have been glued to the train and carriages, losing touch with the track, falling out, being squashed and destroyed, all with the incredibly loud and draining sound of screeching and bending metal. You look at the solid, rectangular shapes being transformed into crushed masses of steel, thrown around like the...more
Richard Vialet
I find it hilarious whenever I see negative reviews for this book and almost all the time, the reason for the negativity is that the reviewer thought that the main characters were stupid and made dumb decisions. If characters always made the right decisions or the smartest ones, there would be absolutely no drama and why the hell would anyone want to read about people who do all the right things?!

I think this was a wonderful story about how all of us are capable of terrible things if circumstanc...more
Charlene
I liked this book a lot!

It was very easy to identify with Hank, the protagonist of this story. Imagine that you and your two siblings find a bag full of money in a plane that crashed that no one has yet discovered. Would you keep it or not? That is the gist of this story.

Just think about how one simple lie in your life could spiral out of control...into more lies and things MUCH worse than that, even. That's exactly what happened here, It was very easy to take the next step with Hank, and then t...more
Matthew
Scott Smith's books are, above all, methodical. For all their chaos and violence, everything seems inevitable, everyone acts logically, and yet, without fail, things go terribly, terribly wrong. It's impossible not to imagine yourself in his characters' places, wondering if you would have made similar decisions, acted in a similar way, and still come to the same calamitous end. His wildly entertaining second novel, The Ruins, placed its characters in an impossible situation that was articificial...more
Trudy
This book was probably THE most painful reading experience I have ever had. I actually finished it - more because of my own stubbornness than anything. I guess I would have to liken it to the first few weeks of American Idol where the whole point is to show you the people that are really bad. I am just too sensitive for that - I feel the pain and embarrasment they should be feeling but in some cases don't. In the case of this book the pure idiocy that these characters go through after finding th...more
Bill
Excellent escapism!
A man, his brother, and his friend discover a downed single-engine plane in the woods outside of town. The lone pilot is dead and in the back seat is 4 million dollars in cash.
A roller coaster tale ensues as the three try to decide what to do with the money and events just snowball out of control. Written in the 1st person, I felt like a co-conspiritor with them.

I wish I could find more novels like this one. It was so good I almost ate it.
Mark
A SIMPLE PLAN is, in a nutshell, the best novel Stephen King never wrote. The story picks up one of the oldest plots in western literature: three men find a treasure, and very bad things begin to happen almost immediately. Famous antecedents include Chaucer's "Pardoner's Tale" and THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE, but Smith updates the story to the banal middle-class Ohio of 1980's, and in doing so thrillingly illuminates the evil things someone as ordinary as you or I might do in a certain situ...more
Jennifer
Mar 21, 2013 Jennifer rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Stupid people.
Recommended to Jennifer by: Stupid people.
I am selling this turd back to the used bookstore I got it from--pronto.

*SPOILERS*

I will cut right to it. This is a book with an interesting idea, fascinating plot, but is ruined by characters who are loathesome, less sympathetic than any I have read in my life, and who do absolutely nothing believable. And not only that but I don't believe that any of these crimes could be played out and go over without a hitch the way we are supposed to believe they did, so even from a technical standpoint I...more
Tammy
This book really messed with my mind. Crazy good storytelling. I have watched the movie and was worried that I would find the book boring. The book has twists not in the movie and the characterization was gripping. I haven't been this sucked in by a murderer's mind since reading McTeague and Jim Thompson's work.

I highly recommend.
Eric_W
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Veeral
A too simple story of crime and murder. That’s what I thought once I finished this book. I predicted each and every move of our anti-hero beforehand and was waiting for Scott Smith to catch-up. I don’t generally try to anticipate anything consciously whenever I am reading fiction as it would suck the joy out of it. But as it happened, I always knew precisely what was going to happen next. The story was that predictable. It seemed to me that Scott Smith had only one solution for the plight of his...more
Sharleen Jonsson
If you're a writer or serious reader, you know the value of complications -- a character does one thing to try to make things better for himself, but this action creates an even bigger problem he must then solve. This novel is an excellent example of this kind of plotting.

I was drawn to the novel because of the movie. The premise of three people stumbling upon a few million dollars didn't excite me much, but one evening when there was nothing else to watch, I tried it. And what gripped me immed...more
Waven
This book was infuriating. I almost stopped reading three or four times. The characters were unintelligent and largely uninteresting. The plot was predictable. I thought I had wasted hours reading a humdrum book about mediocre morons in Ohio ... until the very end. Then it all coalesced into a clever and piercing testament to human nature. If I find a book disappointing, it's often because I expect more than it delivers. This one disappointed me so long because I didn't expect enough . I took it...more
Rade
I absolutely loved this book. Starts of with bunch of guys finding a plane that went down with a pilot dead and crapload of money just sitting there for the taking. From then on, every decision they made hit them hard where it really hurts. Some have good intentions, some have questionable intentions, but all seem to suffer due to a series of events that seem to get progressively worse as the story goes on. Right around the mid point, there was one series of events that was really hard for me to...more
D
I'm not surprised by the "loved it!" "Hated it!" Reviews here. It was recommended to me by someone who claimed it to be one of the best books he's ever read. I absolutely hated it for all of the same reasons other "hated it" reviewers listed. The story line is one bad, horrible, stupid decision after another. One reviewer said "well yeah, that's where you get the drama!" But normally those bad decisions are not so direct. Usually a character makes a bad decision and can't see the consequences, n...more
Kristan Braziel
This is one of the best books I've ever read. I couldn't put it down!! It reminded me so much of the popular TV series, Breaking Bad. The main characters just keep digging themselves deeper and deeper. I could almost understand how they'd justify the decisions they made along the way, even though I could predict how they might backfire.

Let me be clear, this doesn't mean that the book is predictable because it isn't at all. I just mean that with every crossroads they were presented, I could see...more
John

A few years back I watched the 1998 movie based on this novel, and loved it to pieces: it's the most wonderful noir tragicomedy, eliciting bleak laughter at the same time as a profound sorrow at the way potential human destiny and dreams are forever thwarted by human stupidity. So, although I picked up my copy of the novel a while ago, I fought somewhat shy of actually reading it in case I found it a let-down.

Not so: it's wonderful. And here, too, we have one of those very rare instances where,...more
Roxanne
Well written with great pacing and plenty of twists.

I liked Hank at the beginning, but by the end my opinion had soured. For some reason when he did away with his brother's dog the way he did, I was hoping Hank would go to jail. By this time I had become numb to the killings of humans. (Another unexpected emotion of myself.)

This is one of those books that makes you think about what you would do under similar circumstances. How the power of peer pressure and greed can change your values and make...more
Loren
From ISawLightningFall.com

In his The New Rhetoric, Chaim Perelman concludes, "The distinction of the different genres of oratory is highly artificial, as the study of a speech shows." He then goes on to cite Marc Antony's "friends, Romans, countrymen" speech in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, noting how it "opens with a funeral eulogy ... and ends by provoking a riot that is clearly political." While Perelman sees this as an example of genre's artifice, I think it better illustrates its flexibility...more
Jon Flavin
Scott Smith has written one of the best books I've read - with a protagonist that could be anyone you know: an average Joe with a wife and kid, mundane job. I thought the discovery of the loot was the meat and potatoes of this story, and how to evade the cops... but the core of the story is Hank and how south his character goes from an average Joe to an absolute monster, and it's all thanks to greed... greed morphs Hank's goodness into a demonic killer.

His morality spirals further down as you g...more
Jack
My goodness. That's my reaction to this book. What a crazy read.

Scott Smith has created in this novel one of the most hateful characters I've ever come across in fiction in Hank Mitchell. The only one who writes characters I loathe more is Chuck Palahniuk. But what Smith does here that makes Hank Mitchell different than any of Palahniuk's characters, is he gives Hank depth. While I find many of Palahniuk's characters to be evil, moral-less souls, I also find them to be flat and one-dimensional,...more
Daelith
This book was sitting in my TBR pile for awhile. I had been hesitant to start after a neighbor I had loaned it to told me she couldn't finish it. In an effort to get rid of some hardbacks taking up too much room, I pulled it out and decided to give it a try.

It caught my attention and held it though I did find myself getting frustrated with the characters at times. This is definitely one of those books that makes you think of what you would do if you were in similar circumstances. The author had...more
Dan
OK Erin, I've commented on this book just for you! :)

While it certainly falls into the category of "candy books", it was thoroughly enjoyable and provocative. The gist of it: three average, regular, everyday good ol' boys are screwing around in the woods when they happen upon a downed plane. The pilot is dead and has been for some time, and in the plane they find a duffel bag containing four million bucks. So the three men agree on "a simple plan" of stashing the money and keeping it secret--fro...more
Michelle Powers
Hank Mitchell is a married man with his first child on the way. He's the accountant at a local feed store in a small town in Ohio. When he and his brother (who are not very close) happen upon a crashed airplane with his brother's best friend Lou, they find a duffle bag containing over 4 million dollars. The three decide to keep the money on Hank's condition that if anyone becomes suspicious he will burn it. Hank and his wife Sarah, are smart. As things in Hank's plan begin to go wrong he takes s...more
Patricia
Yes, I'm on a Scott Smith roll. Scott Smith has a gift for writing unlikeable characters (you may not root for them after a couple of chapters) but you will keep turning the pages to find out what the hell they’ll do next. I liken the experience to finding a loose piece of thread on your sweater, you give it a little tug and instead of making things better, you’ve made it a little worse, so you pull again to get the long thread out and damn now you have a hole in your sweater and you’ve really m...more
Jean
Like any "simple" plan, this one starts out fine, but you know it's going to become very complicated, and it does. Hank Mitchell, his brother Jacob, and Jacob's friend Lou find a downed plane in the snow and a bag of money - lots of money. They concoct a simple plan to keep the money (it's not really stealing, is it?), and then things get very very messy.
Lots of interesting moral questions in this one and a good read. I didn't like the ending but there wasn't much that was going to be good abou...more
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Scott Bechtel Smith is an American author and screenwriter. He has published two suspense novels, A Simple Plan and The Ruins, and adapted them for the screen.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

(from wikipedia)
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“By doing one wrong thing, I thought I could make everything right.” 4 likes
“I didn't feel evil. I felt nervous, scared, nothing more.” 4 likes
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