Every year, on 31 December, Hank and his older brother Jacob make a pilgrimage to their father's grave.
They have never been close - indeed, they have never even liked one another - but they keep this promise, made to their father before he died.
This year Jacob's friend Lou comes with them. As they drive towards the cemetery in Jacob's truck through the snowbound landscape, a fox runs across the road, and they skid on the ice and crash.
Jacob's dog chases the fox through the deep snow. The three men follow him, beating their way through the drifts, until they come to a valley where they see a small plane, belly down in the snow.
In the pilot's seat is a dead man, his eyes pecked out by the crows.
In the back they discover a duffle bag. In the bag is 4.4 million dollars. A Simple Plan is a novel that slowly but surely grips the reader by the throat as it unfolds in an inevitable and doomed spiral of events, through murder, betrayal and mass killing.
From its deceptively simple beginning, to its horrific and surprising conclusion, it marks the debut of an extraordinary new talent.