Mark's Reviews > A Simple Plan

A Simple Plan by Scott B. Smith
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's review
Aug 21, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: crime-and-mystery
Read in August, 2012

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 situation. I read this novel in two sittings, on vacation, and could barely put it down. To go back to the first line of the review, I think it out-Kings anything I've read by King in terms of suspense, and the quality of the writing is better (again, in my experience) than almost anything King's written, with the exception of some short stories and ON WRITING. King's getting called out here because he wrote the main blurb on the front cover, and because this tight novel (shorter than its 400 pages) gave me the pleasure I always hope I'll get from "The Master" but rarely do. Highly recommended if you want a page-turner. A really accomplished first novel, too. (The only slightly weak spot is the ending, which is a bit flat in the way that some of KIng's are. I half wonder if A SIMPLE PLAN wasn't King writing under a pseudonym...)
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Tfitoby (new)

Tfitoby Interesting. I've made to pick this up a few times but....I just didn't. The movie has the unfortunate Bill Paxton in it so the whole idea of it is tainted by him.

Mark I rarely watch the movie when it comes to books.

Gbolahan Ha ha ha ha ha really have it in for King...
Good review by the way, I'm glad you gave it 4 stars.

Derek Mccumber I agree with the King connection. "The Ruins" also felt like a King book - one from his dark period of drug abuse in the 80s, when his novels were mean.

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