Book Review: Frank Di Filippo’s The Big Get-Even

Get EvenThe Big Get-Even follows a mixture of somewhat (or formally) bad people who ultimately end up doing a positive thing all in the name of revenge. Author Frank Di Filippo mixes a style of noir and caper with a vengeance, and adds in a dash of romance combined with a decent amount of sex appeal. This all makes for a read that is difficult to put down.

Disgraced former lawyer Glen McClinton has been on a probated straight and narrow for two years. Still facing three years of probation for white collar fraud (brought on by his drug addiction), he had plans to stay on the right side of the law to keep himself out of prison. By chance, he ends up using Narcan to save the life of Stan Hasso, whom he finds overdosing in his car. What he thought was a one-time good deed for someone he never expected to see again turns into a business venture hell bent on getting revenge on Hasso’s former boss, Barnaby Nancarrow, who sold him out to the police once his fire setting services were no longer needed. The plan would ultimately set Nancarrow back $20 million on an old resort that is ultimately worthless (in their eyes).

The plan itself is a complicated one that requires a small team to help pull off, as well as a lot of convincing to actually get McClinton on board. Hasso assembles a team of Ray Zerkin ( a computer whiz kid who is the most likable character in a story filled with likable characters), Vee Aptekar (a looker planning to use her body to lure Nancarrow and extract some revenge for herself) and his girlfriend, Sandralene. He even gets a state senator on board to help sell the pitch.

With the team and land in tow, they go about getting the resort open for business (to keep up appearances), which turned out to be the most difficult and costly part of their plan, but it kept their parole officer at bay and turned them into heroes with the locals, who had fond memories of the resort from their youth and were desperate for work. Once open, all they had to do was wait for Nancarrow to visit. While not easy, everything seemed to come together rather smoothly. Most challenges were resolved easily, which seemed a little far-fetched at times.

The Big Get-Even is a wonderfully put together piece of fiction. Di Filippo paints a vivid setting of the resort, making the reader feel like a vacationing visitor. All of his characters have clear back stories and a realness that makes them relatable in some way, shape or form. Though flawed, they are all likable, even the antagonists. The plot itself is incredibly thought-out, adding plenty of action, humor and suspense, with an unexpected climax. While it is geared toward fans of the crime genre, this book was conclusively written for fans of great overall writing and storytelling.

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