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How to Succeed in Evil [Kindle Edition]

Patrick E. McLean
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $12.95
Kindle Price: $3.99
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Book Description

(Editor's Note: 3rd edition, professionally edited, updated 1/7/2012)

How to Succeed in Evil is the story of Edwin Windsor, Evil Efficiency Consultant. He tries to help supervillains be more villainous. Or at least more profitable and sensible about the business side of Evil.

Along with his very proper and English secretary Agnes and his hench-lawyer Topper, he struggles to make the world of superpowered people make sense. But this is very difficult because, while Edwin’s advice is excellent, all of his clients are too egomaniacal to listen. There is, it must be said, a bit of comedy in this work.

Edwin struggles with a cast of characters including, Dr. Loeb, a trust fund child who desperately wants to be an Evil Genius, but has none of the talent. Dr. Loeb’s hideous mother, Iphagenia – who’s evil scheme is to foment a second Southern Rebellion, beginning with Lower Alabama. And the Cromogoldon, a brute with forehead villainous low and quite possibly the strongest creature on the planet.

Inevitably, Edwin’s unique clientele lead him into direct conflict with the greatest superhero of them all, Excelsior. And so, the quiet, restrained intellectual is pitted against heroic force.

Product Details

  • File Size: 453 KB
  • Print Length: 375 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0983097615
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: good words (right order); 3 edition (December 12, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00589W1DM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,749 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great concept, feels unfinished August 28, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The premise is irresistible: a consultant for supervillains. Add some great characters, some hilarious would-be villains, a fast-and-loose style where literally anything can happen next, and some wonderful action sequences, and you've got a book that should be a classic light read even if it isn't great literature.

Unfortunately, the whole thing feels like a first or second draft. Copy editing errors abound -- I suspect someone flipped a coin to decide between "its" and "it's" every time, and there are some really strange wrong-word errors. But there are also bigger structural issues, such as a bit-part character suddenly turning into the emotional lynchpin and life-long companion of the protagonist. And then there's the ending, in which the characters all seem to arbitrarily act differently than they ever had.

How to Succeed in Evil is a fun read, and for the price, I definitely recommend it. It's a fun beach or airplane book. However, it could have been much, much better with professional editing and another revision.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very tongue in cheek August 6, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Everyone's familiar with a popular super-villain issue: why, with their super-intelligence, strength, telepathy, whatever, would they ever do something illegal that's less profitable than legal (if morally suspect) use of their talents and resources? That's Edwin's question, and ultimately his quest - get these villains acting rationally rather than stereotypically. McLean's novel is a tongue in cheek investigation of the heroes and villains' motivations. It's laugh out loud funny (both setting and dialogue), and the overall plot of Edwin's run in (as supposed evil-mastermind) with Excelsior (a Superman type hero) furthers the overall message while being entertaining in and of itself. Semi-frequent typos in the initial release have since been fixed; the effect of this admirable effort on the author's part, combined with the hilarious story, result in an easy "5 Stars". Recommended to anyone who reads superhero fantasies, as well as anyone looking for a fun, funny way to spend a few hours.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly original June 29, 2011
By Glenn
Format:Kindle Edition
I followed the early chapters of How To Succeed In Evil in its former incarnation as a podcast series, and was hooked from the first installment. Having read the whole thing, I can tell you that the rest did not disappoint. Brimming with anarchic wit, this book is a refreshingly original antidote to the reams of identikit superhero stories that have marched relentlessly across our pages and screens over the last few years. The well-paced, artfully crafted prose draws you into a world of extraordinary characters - from the cool, calculating protagonist Edwin to his manic henchman Topper and the misguided evil mastermind Dr Loeb. If, like me, you've always preferred your arch-villains to tight-wearing goody-goodies like Superman and Captain America, then this is the book for you. In his own, inimitable style, McLean weaves a rich tale that truly allows his bad guys to shine, and that'll keep you guessing (and chortling) to the last page. Highly recommended.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great concept, bad writing, plot difficult to locate September 11, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this on Amazon's recommendation, and I'd like a refund of the few hours of my life that it wasted. The book's concept is interesting--an Evil Efficiency Consultant, trying to convince super-villans to concentrate on profitable schemes and skip on the meglomania. More destroying things to profit off of stock market schemes, fewer giant space lasers.

Unfortunately, this book doesn't really do anything useful with the concept. It completely lacks interesting characters, good writing, or much of a plot. I kept expecting the oddly stilted writing style to be a setup for some sort of humor, but it never really developed. I ended up forcing myself to read the last 75% of the book, in the misguided belief that all of the 4 and 5 star reviews here had *some* rational basis. Oh well.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Yay Story! Boooo editing! August 22, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I will keep this review brief. I love the story and characters. Excellent dry wit. If you like urban fantasy you will love this book. The editing, however, makes it almost unreadable. There are so many grammatical errors that the book is almost ruined. Glaring errors and added or missing words and phrases. It is a testament to the author's outstanding story that I finished it. Yes buy this book. Do know what you are getting in to though.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read! May 18, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the juxtaposing of such a reserved character in such chaotic, loud surroundings. The inner dialog bemoaning the difficulties of managing practical villainy (not to be confused with unpleasantness, crudity or rudeness) is clever and fun to read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable: original and entertaining. May 10, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a fun book for me to read. The concept was original and the characters were well-wrought. The author's writing style is smooth, and sets a good pace that encourages the reader to continue. Both the story and characters were entertaining and good for a few chuckles. I will definitely be purchasing more titles by the author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eloquent and surprising April 3, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I picked this book up half expecting it to be sort of generically-written, more or less predictable fare. Like going to see pretty much any movie that comes out of Hollywood anymore. My logic was that being generic and predictable doesn't automatically make something devoid of entertainment value, and this is quite a deviation from what I've been reading lately. It'd be a nice change.

Happily, my expectations were nowhere near the reality. This book is clever. It's VERY clever. I have about a dozen pages of underlined material from it in my Kindle clippings. The narrative style is, very simply, well thought out and immensely satisfying. There's a lot of detail put into descriptions of people and places, but in SUCH an enjoyable way. ("The trailer hit the house sideways. The effect is impossible to adequately describe, but just imagine that someone has nuked the entire Victorian era.") The characters are equally enjoyable -- sympathetic and complex, all with brilliantly well-conceived appearances and mannerisms that make them instantly intriguing and loads of fun to read about.

There are a couple of things keeping me from giving this book 5 stars. First is its rather abrupt and somewhat confusing ending. I'm not sure whether it was intended to be a setup for a sequel or what, but it felt unnecessary, nonsensical, and almost like some kind of half-developed afterthought that was pretty jarring compared to the very well constructed and written... everything else.

Second is a rather annoying lack of payoff for (no spoilers) something having to do with a character's backstory that seems to have been introduced as a potentially major plot point but is never explained or even referenced directly any time thereafter.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice read
Funny and original. Overall I enjoyed the book, except the ending seemed abrupt. Maybe intent for a cliff hanger, but really just seemed like a quick end.
Published 3 months ago by Robyn Y.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Fun
Enjoyable fun read. Interesting take on super heroes. Nice humor and a logic approach to problem solving. Can't wait to continue the story
Published 4 months ago by Hardell Ward
3.0 out of 5 stars I got attached to the characters
I loved this book. There was so much thought, so much action, so much reaction, that I can easily believe Edwin's consulting firm would have a place in real life. Read more
Published 5 months ago by August
4.0 out of 5 stars a fun summer read
A great world with pretty fun characters. It's a quick and easy read too. Perfect for the kindle. I'll definitely be reading the sequel as well.
Published 6 months ago by Peter James Freeman
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful read
Rarely do I find stories that are well-tailored to my liking, so finding this little gem was simply delightful. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Entraya Crosshill
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book at Patrick E. McLean
After getting this book for free on a special promotion, I now have a new favorite author. "How to Succeed In Evil" will delight humor fans, and probably fans of science... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Dara Autumnleaf
3.0 out of 5 stars Strong characters
The characters where enjoyable and the book was generally enjoyable but did seem stitched together at times - that was when I paged a little faster.
Published 7 months ago by Kumaran
4.0 out of 5 stars good find!
i may not have picked this book up in normal circumstances, but amazon offered it free one day, and i am glad i read it. now, i need to find the rest of the series
Published 7 months ago by sabrina duncan
2.0 out of 5 stars couldn't quite decide what it was
I had the feeling that the author couldn't quite decide where he wanted to go. Humor? Farce? Serious adventure? Read more
Published 8 months ago by Alexander Gray
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read that was impossible to put down
An insanely enjoyable concept with well written, fleshed out characters. I started reading this book at 3am on a Monday and finished within 24 hours. I just couldn't put it down. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Daniel Mcgowan
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More About the Author

Patrick's work ranges from the autobiographical, to the absurd and fantastic. Describing himself as a "writer raised by Economists" his perspective on the world is naturally unusual. From violent revenge and musings on the value of life from a character who is dead (Unkillable) to the rage and frustration of a consultant who grows so sick of having his advice ignored that he decides to take over the world (How to Succeed in Evil) Patrick's work is high-concept, penetrating satire that manages twists and turns while never shorting true psychological insight into fascinating characters caught in desperate situations.

In 2005, feeling that "he wasn't putting any torque through the axle of the world" he started the Seanachai podcast ( He wrote and produced an original short story or essay every week for a year.

Among his influences, Patrick cites Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, Mark Helprin, S.J. Perleman, H.L. Mencken, Albert Jay Nock, Hafiz, Homer and George RR Martin.

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