Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Associate – John Grisham

©2009, Doubleday, New York

John Grisham’s latest release is another trip down the legal thriller aisle. Kyle McAvoy is the chief editor of the Yale Law Journal in his last year of law school. As he prepares for graduation and his opportunity to face the dreaded bar exam, McAvoy is ambushed by a non-person who has access to information about a deep, dark secret in the young aspiring lawyer’s past and uses this information to blackmail Kyle into foregoing his plan to spend a couple of years with a charity-type firm and opt to accept a position as a first-year associate in the world’s largest law firm.

The purpose is legal espionage. Kyle is supposed to work his way into a particular team in order to steal sensitive information for his new “handler”.

The book is fast-paced and easy to read, in the fashion of much of Grisham’s writing. The language he uses is a bit saltier than normal. While Grisham doesn’t keep all cursing out of his writing, he seems to shake the salt-cellar a bit heavier in this new book. A couple of the side stories provided by the blackmail scheme are pretty intriguing. In particular, I was really drawn in by the turn-around story of McAvoy’s frat buddy Baxter Tate.

Another throw back to previous Grisham stories is the soft ending. Several questions that need to be answered aren’t, but these distractions don’t take away the enjoyment level for the reader. I give The Associate three out of five stars.

—Benjamin Potter, March 17, 2009

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