Sharleen Jonsson's Reviews > A Simple Plan

A Simple Plan by Scott B. Smith
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's review
Jan 06, 2012

really liked it

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 immediately was how the main character dug himself into a deeper and deeper hole. This isn't a story about money, it's about characters at the mercy of their own greed. We watch in horror as an ordinary, small-town nice guy commits acts he'd never before believed himself capable of. The novel is everything the movie is, and more. Which makes the novel somewhat less. What I mean by this is that a few too many dead bodies pile up in the novel; we don't need to see them all to get the point that someone is capable of killing.

I debated whether to give this novel 3 or 4 stars. I can't give an "honest" rating because I saw the movie first, and I didn't read the novel to find out what happened, but to find out how the novelist made it happen. But I recommend this novel if for any reader interested in strong plotting and surprising twists. If you're like me, interested in how screenwriters take a story from print to screen, you'll want to both read the novel and see the movie.
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