Quick Reviews: John Grisham’s The Broker, The Associate, and The Litigators

I’m reading faster than I write blog posts (which is old news with me, actually) and so here I am with my thoughts, albeit short, before I lost my drive yet again (thank God for petiks Fridays!).

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It’s been a while since I last read a Grisham but a good friend gave me a copy of The Broker a few weeks ago and because I was due for another read, I decided to start. I finished it soon enough and decided to start another from my Kindle. Result: A John Grisham reading marathon of 3 novels for more or less two weeks.

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The Brokerthe-broker

by John Grisham

Published: 2006

Summary from Goodreads:

In his final hours in the Oval Office, the outgoing President grants a controversial last-minute pardon to Joel Backman, a notorious Washington power broker who has spent the last six years hidden away in a federal prison. What no one knows is that the President issues the pardon only after receiving enormous pressure from the CIA. It seems Backman, in his power broker heyday, may have obtained secrets that compromise the world’s most sophisticated satellite surveillance system.

Backman is quietly smuggled out of the country in a military cargo plane, given a new name, a new identity, and a new home in Italy. Eventually, after he has settled into his new life, the CIA will leak his whereabouts to the Israelis, the Russians, the Chinese, and the Saudis. Then the CIA will do what it does best: sit back and watch. The question is not whether Backman will survive, there is no chance of that. The question the CIA needs answered is, who will kill him?

Quick Thoughts:

The first parts were interesting enough. I loved reading about Italy: the culture, the language, the architecture, the coffee! I was also intrigued of the scandal that brought Backman to jail. Halfway through, however, Backman’s routine in Italy became tedious and boring. There were parts that read like a travelogue instead of a legal thriller. It was a good thing that the female tutor came into the picture and that was when the story picked up again. What I appreciate in this book was Backman’s resolutions and the existential questions he asked of himself and which made him decide to do the things he did at the later part of the story. The Broker contains the usual Grisham that I loved (and then eventually got tired of): political intrigue, conspiracy, CIA, and cliffhanger endings. I was looking for a bit of courtroom drama but it seems that Grisham didn’t want any in this book. This was only an okay read for me but it seemed that I missed legal thrillers because I decided to read another Grisham after I was done.

P.S. If I have enough time, it would be interesting to learn Italian. And if I have enough money, it would be lovely to go and visit Milan. 😀

My Rating: 3/5 stars.

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the-associateThe Associate

by John Grisham

Published: 2009

Summary from Goodreads:

Kyle McAvoy possesses an outstanding legal mind. Good-looking and affable, he has a glittering future. He also has a dark secret that could destroy his dreams, his career, even hislife. One night that secret catches up with him. The men who accost Kyle have a compromising video they’ll use to ruin him–unless he does exactly what they say. What they offer Kyle is something any ambitious young lawyer would kill for: a job in Manhattan as an associate at the world’s largest law firm. If Kyle accepts, he’ll be on the fast track to partnership and a fortune. But there’s a catch. Kyle won’t be working for the firm but against it in a dispute between two powerful defense contractors worth billions. Now Kyle is caughtbetween the criminal forces manipulating him, the FBI, and his own law firm–in a malignant conspiracy not even Kyle with all his intellect, cunning, and bravery may be able to escape alive.

Quick Thoughts:

The Associate was reminiscent of one of my favorite John Grisham books, The Street Lawyer. In both books, John Grisham explores the realities of big firm vs small firm law practice. It also explores the ethics and morality of the law profession. Up to what extent can a man compromise his principles and his profession? Up to what extent can a man continue to do something he hates to do just to save his own skin? I loved how the story unfolded and though admittedly the ending felt a bit abrupt, in hindsight I felt that whatever Kyle did at the end was already beside the point. What was important was John Grisham was able to drive home a point, and what that point was I leave it up to you, dear reader to find out.

P.S. Kyle’s dad is worthy to mention. I wonder why Kyle didn’t go to him sooner (after that university “incident”) but there wouldn’t be a story in the first place if he did, right? 😉

My Rating: 4/5 stars.

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The Litigatorsthe-litigators

by John Grisham

Published: 2011

Summary from Amazon:

Oscar Finley: street cop turned street lawyer. Wally Figg: expert hustler and ambulance-chaser. David Zinc: Harvard Law School graduate. Together, this unlikely trio make up Finley & Figg: specialists in injury claims, quickie divorces and DUIs. None of them has ever faced a jury in federal court. But they are about to take on one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the States. David gave up his lucrative career at Chicago’s leading law firm for this: the chance to help the little guy stand up to the big corporations. But if Finley & Figg have right on their side, why do his new partners feel the need to carry guns in their briefcases? David thought he was used to cut-throat law from his days at Rogan Rothberg, but this is something else. He knows he was right to get out. He just may live to regret his new choice of firm…

Quick Thoughts:

Of the three John Grisham books I read recently, The Litigators is my most favorite. It reminded me of why I loved reading legal thrillers and of why I was in the legal profession. It even affirmed my decision of staying put in litigation rather than slaving away in corporate work. I loved the characters especially the lawyers from the boutique firm of Finley & Figg and had a good laugh at their courtroom (mis) adventures. In this book, I was able to witness enough trial and courtroom action I’ve been looking for in the two other Grisham books. The subplots were equally engaging and I had an interesting intro to product liability and ambulance chasing. At most times comic, The Litigators also showed the heart of law practice. At one point, especially towards the later part, I became (slightly) teary-eyed and cheered David Zinc on in his quest for justice and retribution. This book is easily one of my most favorite John Grisham books next to The Street Lawyer and The Partner.

P.S. Book-pushing this especially to my lawyer friends. 😉

My Rating: 4/5 stars.

 

 

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