How to Succeed in Evil by Patrick E McLean

How to Succeed in EvilSummary: Real evil isn’t the villains, it is the accountants/consultants behind the villains

About 6 or 7 years ago I was listening to a lot of independent fiction that was read by the authors.  This started with Cory Doctorow but then I found other independent authors that were doing similar things through podiobooks or other sites.

One of the books I remember enjoying was How to Succeed in Evil.  But it seemed to be more of a short story/novella than a fully developed book.  And I remember looking for the next chapter because it seemed like it just ended.  Evidentially, it did just end and McLean or someone else just stopped recording the rest of the book.  As I was scrolling through books that were available to borrow on Lendle, I found a kindle version of How to Succeed in Evil.  I enjoyed it before, I thought I would figure out how the book ended.

The kindle version is the same basic idea as the original podcast story, but not the same book.  Edwin is a consultant.  He works with people that have superpowers to figure out how they can use their powers to make money.  For the most part he works with villains because they are the ones that are willing to pay.  But he has a lot of nut jobs that want to take over the world, break into banks and use violence.  Edwin is opposed to all three, not on moral grounds, but pragmatic ones.  What will you really do if you take over the world, why not just buy the world once you take over all the money.  And breaking into banks violates his cost benefit analysis (great couple of pages talking about the risk analysis of breaking into banks).  And violence in general does not solve problems, but creates them.

As a concept, this is a great idea for a book.  But the execution is just ok.  There are too many characters that are not fully developed and do not really have a place in the story line.  And while I enjoy poking fun at the old superhero stories and government and corporations, that is not enough to really build a whole book on.  Instead it seems like there are at least three or four different story lines that do not really fit together that well and none of them are fully developed.  It feels more like a series of episodes that are not fully resolved more than a full novel.

I finished it, but even the end just left me feeling meh.  I think this would make a great short story or novella.  But as a full novel, it is just not developed or fleshed out in a way that I really care.  Overall, I would skip it.

Purchase Links: Kindle Edition

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