Sunday, November 11, 2007

Book Review: Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less by Jeffrey Archer

I first read this story as a teenager on the recommendation of a friend and really enjoyed it; I read it again as an adult and it was just as fun but I found it less than perfect. This is the tale of how four strangers band together to trick a swindler out of the exact some of money that he extorted out of them. The entertainment of this book is in the ingenious, but fairly implausible, ways in which the four manage to regain their lost money and although the reader never learns anything much about any of the characters and the style of writing is not particularly intricate, the sheer audacity of these schemes is enough to make up for this.

Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less can most certainly be classified as pulp fiction but, in my opinion, it is one of the best in this often diabolical category. The plot is certainly only loosely linked, lurching tenuously from one confidence trick to the next, but the elaborate nature of these tricks and the intense desire for revenge that the four characters possess are the strengths that counter any weaknesses in this novel.

An easily read story which works nicely as a light read in between more challenging material, this is an enjoyable and memorable story, just don't expect anything more than mindless entertainment.

I would recommend this book to people who are looking to read something quick and not too challenging and it is certainly suitable for teenagers as well as adults. If you are looking for a novel with interesting and developed characters, this is not for you and it could certainly never claim to be literary in style - just good fun.

Score: 6.5/10

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