My rating: 2 of 5 stars
**I would like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review**
When I stumbled across the premise for Paul Di Filippo’s The Big Get Even I was so excited. The book promised a good old-fashioned, fun caper/heist story and I couldn’t wait to read it. Having never read anything by Di Filippo before, I took a chance on this one because, in truth, I’m a sucker for a well done heist story. Unfortunately, this one did not measure up for me.
It started well enough. Glen, our protagonist, checked a lot of the prerequisite boxes for a character who would attempt said heist. He was desperate, lacking in morals, but likeable enough for a certain type of reader to pull for him to succeed. His partner in crime added a nice counter point and I enjoyed the quirky set of circumstances that brought them together. We were off to a good start. And then… the story stalled.
I won’t give anything away, in case you wish to chance this one yourself, but the promised heist did not begin until about the 90% mark and was over within a few pages. The majority of the book was squandered on the describing the minutiae of day-to-day operations of running a resort. More than once I set this book aside in frustration over the lack of progress and the wasted potential. I believe this could’ve been far more entertaining if the author had allowed the story to progress. The classic heist premise does involve showing planning but it also incorporates roadblocks and action points to keep reader interest. Sadly, without those, it doesn’t work.
Once we did get around to the heist, it got good real fast and I considered a higher overall rating until I reached the end. Let me say, I have nothing against cliffhangers. I won’t hold a cliffhanger against an otherwise well written book. But there’s a difference between a cliffhanger and just dropping the narrative. The ending honestly read like the author was out of pages so this is all you get.
Add to all of that the sexist overtones, and I couldn’t rate the book higher than I did. Di Filippo’s female characters need work. They served two purposes throughout the book—used to clean and used for sex. It’s 2017 and discerning readers require more from their female leads. I can accept a certain amount of this is owed to the criminal nature of the protagonist but, there was far too much of it throughout the book.
A disappointing 2 stars.