There is really nothing wrong with this book. But there’s nothing special about it, either.
The plot is exactly what you might expect, given the title. A group of people want to ‘get even’ with someone who never seems to get his comeuppance. Does this plot sound familiar? Think The Sting; think Ocean’s 11; think any revenge book or film.
So if the plot is not extraordinary (and it’s not) then the only thing to redeem it would be the characters and the characters here are a stereotypical average rag-tag bunch of misfits: a disbarred lawyer, an arsonist, and a woman who will sleep with the enemy to keep him off-balance.
Much of my distaste for the novel comes from the heavy-handed misogyny. It’s one thing to have characters speaking poorly of women and/or treating them like nothing more than sex objects. That can be a definite means to establish a character (albeit a pretty easy way to do so). It’s another thing to have the author doing it. For instance … our lazy, unmotivated (by his own admission) protagonist wakes up to a blow-job from the nubile front desk girl, because … well, he’s so manly and she’s just a stupid, cute young thing – of course she would want to pleasure him!
As you might expect in a one-dimensional story, three-quarters of the book is set-up (and sex). We know what the plan is pretty early on and author Di Filippo doesn’t deviate from that. The only question is: will they succeed? There’s a lot of story you have to get through before you can find out, and Di Filippo does manage to give us a couple of false endings before the last page, and the last two chapters are actually pretty interesting.
The writing itself was fine, the characterizations lacking, and the plot paper-thin. This does not make me eager to read another Di Filippo novel and I can not give this much of a recommendation.
Looking for a good book? Cookie-cutter characters, poor impressions of women, and a one-dimensional plot make Paul Di Filippo’s The Big Get-Even a novel worth missing.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Big Get-Even
author: Paul Di Filippo
hardcover, 345 pages