A Simple Plan by Scott Smith

A Simple Plan - Scott B. Smith

The plot of this book, deceptively simple but with rich undertones, is what made this book for me.


I picked this up primarily because I was looking for a simple read. Then I got my hands on the audio book and found that I really liked the narrator, so got stuck in.


The action starts pretty quickly in this first-person story which is about two brothers, Hank and Jacob and their friend Lou, who find three-million dollars in a duffle-bag inside a plane wreck. It’s narrated in the past-tense by Hank, the older brother of the two.


It appears, on the surface, to be a very simple plan, whereby they take the money and split it between themselves. Hank is cautious, though and decides to nominate himself as leader, stashing the money for six-months in case anyone comes looking for it. If no-one does, then they’ll split it up amongst themselves. If someone does come looking for it, though, he’s promised to burn the money.


It doesn’t take long for everything to start to unravel and become increasingly complex while in a bid to try and secure the money. It’s easy to follow, though and easy to pick up after setting down for a day or two. Like quite a few other books I’ve reviewed, this is one that it’s best to know as little about before reading. With that said, I won’t go into any more depth about it.


Hank was the character that was the most fleshed out, but I never really warmed to him. He always acted like he knew best and was quite condescending. For example, Jacob was overweight and Hank said that he would always be that way, regardless of the amount of money he had. I thought to myself, how the hell would he know that Jacob would always be overweight? Do people never lose weight? It seemed to me that he was saying that people could never change. As hard as it is for that to happen, I still think there’s the capacity. Especially in consideration of weight loss. Another thing was that every time he spoke to his wife he declared her opinion as completely correct, without a doubt. He only questioned her once or twice and that got a bit tiresome.


Jacob was my favourite character and I felt quite sympathetic towards him. Lou was a typical one-dimensional character who felt a bit clichéd at times and didn’t really grow or change at all. Hank’s wife, Sarah, was unlikeable but served to add depth to Hank. That’s the one thing about Hank that I liked, he changed throughout the novel and it can’t be argued that he had depth and had to make some tough choices. It could be argued, though, that Hank always had a latent demon inside of him and was waiting for the opportunity to use it.


The book was overly long and would have held tension better if it’d been cut by about 50-100 pages, but that aside, it did keep my attention throughout. There were a few unexpected twists that increased my enjoyment and a word of warning, it got quite gory at one point.


There was a nice twist in the end that I didn’t see coming and wrapped things up well.
The author only wrote one other book and that’s a pity, because I would be interested to see his other work.