The Associate by John Grisham – Book Review: Kyle McAvoy comes from a small but decent family. He is setting out on his adult life, his career. His father is a small time, small town lawyer and Kyle is on his way to the Bar exam with the same kind of career in mind, when a stranger approaches him with an offer he can’t refuse.
The stranger, Bennie he calls himself, has moving pictures of a drunken college orgy, complete with embarrassing sound, and Kyle is involved, though never a major player. In future Kyle will do as Bennie says or the Internet gets it, the pictures that is.
So Kyle does what he is told. He enrols with the largest law firm in America, nay the known world, working a hundred hours a week, with explicit instructions to obtain information, specific papers, to steal intelligence, about a forthcoming court case that will set records of every kind.
So begins Mister Grisham’s latest offering, his 22nd if my maths are correct. The beginning is somewhat reminiscent of The Firm, don’t take my word for that, the publishing house themselves are saying so, though that is about all that reminds me of that book.
When I was reading it I found myself thinking of the works of John Le Carré, in places it is more like a spy book than a traditional Grishamesque law thriller, and then the following day when watching an interview from the man himself, I was intrigued to see that he nominated Mister Le Carré as the writer he admired the most, the writer he always ordered every new book hot off the press.
So it is true, we are all influenced by the writers we read. We can’t avoid that and it’s no bad thing.
The Associate has come in for an amount of stinging criticism, some of it justified, some of it not. In some places Grisham-slagging is becoming something of a national sport. The guy has only sold upward of 250 million books so he must be fair game, for some people that is.
The Associate is still a great page turner, the writer holds the reader’s interest as he always does, no, the criticism surrounds the ending, not that I am going to go into any detail of that here. Let us just say that the book leaves open several substantial threads as if an early sequel is planned.
Listening to Mister Grisham’s future plans, somehow I doubt that. It would seem that any potential sequel is a long way off.
Perhaps the ending is just too subtle for the average Joe (like me your honour) to fully grasp, or may be, just may be, Johnny G has given some thought to introducing the thinking reader’s ending where the reader fills in all the blanks to suit themselves, something that I think John Le Carré is a past master at.
I enjoyed the book, but then again I have enjoyed everything that Mister Grisham has ever written. If you are new to his work you may wish to start somewhere else, but if you are not, read it for yourself and see if you can make more of it than many of the readers and critics have done so far.
One thing is for sure, John Grisham’s next book will be looked at with more than the usual curiosity. Personally, I can’t wait.
Miss McCulla is a retired English teacher of 32 years. She has Mastery of the grammar and mechanics of English, and has taught expository, fiction writing, and rhetorical skills to hundreds of students and aspiring writers throughout her career. She has written/edited/self-published five books, and currently manages and edits a writing blog called The Underground Tutor where she gathers essays, articles, entries, papers, manuals, profiles, criticisms, analyses of literature and general interest examples, along with years of “teacher tips” and common grammar corrections.
Some papers will be marked so you can see the rationale of a teacher. FUN!
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