John Grisham’s new book, The Associate (2009), is predictable Grisham, almost too predictable. The premise is good, the fast paced style is good, but the characters are not as fully developed or as interesting as you expect to get with a Grisham legal thriller.
Kyle McAvoy is a Yale Law School student, editor of the Yale Law Review, who expects to do public service work for a couple years and go on to a successful law career. His father is a small-town lawyer, but Kyle expects to do more. Shortly before graduation Kyle is contacted by a paid thug and blackmailed into accepting a position with the largest law firm in the world – with the objective of forcing Kyle to become a spy or mole and retrieve documents that are critical to a huge lawsuit. It is never clear who the thug(s) work for – one of the corporations, the opposing firm, or possibly the government. It is never clear if Kyle is the only spy.
The cause of Kyle’s blackmail is an incident that happened while he was in college, involving fraternity brothers, drugs, booze, etc. Kyle and the brothers don’t learn a morality lesson. They learn pretty much to be careful what you do – not because it is wrong but because someone could be watching.
Grisham’s The Associate is a decent read despite the lack of good character development, right up until the end. The end was disappointing; it made me think “that’s it?” There could have been so much more to this book. I would like to read another Grisham that is as good as The Firm or The Pelican Brief…
EVPL has The Associate in print, large-print, audio, and as a download. For other books by this author, click here.