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.
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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.
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