How a casual relationship became an addiction, and “How to Succeed in Evil”

I don’t think my acquisition of free e-books reached the level of addiction until after I had read “How to Succeed in Evil” by Patrick E. McLean. (Unfortunately, no longer free, but very much worth $2.99 on Amazon.)

Something about the title of this book caught my attention (probably the super-coolness of it), although the genre/subject matter was not in my “normal” reading fare. It was one of my earlier Kindle downloads, and it sat on my Kindle for probably a good month or so before I got to it, amongst my much smaller e-book library which contained, at the time, only books that I truly think I would have at least picked up at the library knowing that I’d have to drive back and return them within four weeks if I didn’t like them.

And then, I found myself at the end of my very conservative list of purchased (for free) or library-loan e-books, and there was this one sitting there, gathering dust, so to speak. At that point, I wasn’t checking my e-mail lists of free books daily (since I did not yet have the addiction), so instead, I opened up this book.

I’m not a fan of super-hero fiction. And although I do enjoy humor, I’m generally very picky about the comedy I read.

However, for reasons I don’t quite understand, I LOVED this book.

This is not your stereotypical story of super-heroes and villains. Instead, it is the story of an “evil efficiency consultant,” Edwin Windsor, who helps scoundrels to see the best use of their villainy. Throw in a few characters that are less “Dr. Evil” than they are “Dr. Slightly-Maladjusted-With-Destructive-Tendencies” and you’re in for a rollicking romp through a world where super-heroes and their counterparts are an accepted phenomenon and you might just find yourself rooting for the bad guy. Unless you just feel so sad that the super-hero is such an inept pawn in the game of life.

When your work is so likely to involve major, cataclysmic events, obviously one will need the services of a “good” attorney (or should I say, “bad” attorney). Either way, he has an attorney, Topper, who might be kinda one of those things, I think. Several of the reviews on Amazon mention Topper as a highly irritating character and suggest that the book might have been better without him. I disagree. This was the character that I could most clearly see if this tale were to ever be made into a movie. Totally Danny DeVito, by the way. (And if any movie execs happen to be reading this blog: Please, please, please do make this movie!)

If you’re looking for a new author with extraordinary skill for the written word, this is not the book for you. However, if you’re searching for an exceptional storyteller, look no further, Patrick E. McLean will entertain and enthrall.

I have seriously considered purchasing all of McLean’s e-books. And probably will at some point, even with a seemingly endless free library of reading choices. The only reason I have not done so yet – because I am cheap, and I have been borrowing them from the Kindle Lending Library (using my gifted Amazon Prime account).

And while I wasn’t as enchanted by “The Merchant Adventurer” as I was by “How to Succeed in Evil,” I’m finding myself even more in love with the tales in “Stories I Told Myself.”

My verdict: These stories are worth the read, even if you do have to purchase them. I’m thankful to have gotten “How to Succeed in Evil” for free, because otherwise I would never have discovered these books. I’m also thankful to Patrick E. McLean for opening my eyes to a whole new way of looking at my Kindle reader – for the knowledge that a free e-book takes nothing more from me than a miniscule amount of my bandwidth and a few minutes of my time to peruse the first few pages, if I desire nothing more. And that small investment can pay off in hours of quality reading entertainment.

I’m also slightly mad at Patrick E. McLean for starting this new addiction. But mostly thankful.


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