When I moved out of my parents' house many years ago, I left behind many books that I had accumulated. Some of these were from college and several were books I had obtained as a teenager through the Doubleday Book Club. There is also a large collection of books that had been acquired by my father, my brothers and sisters, and perhaps others. Being a notoriously slow reader, I still have not read most of these books.
Whenever I go to visit my mother, a visit which usually lasts from one to two weeks, I typically read at least one of the books from her home library. I always bring a few books with me to read on the plane or wherever else I may be waiting, but the lure of those books that sit at my mother's house always makes me put aside my new reads to lose myself in one of the old books.
I had never before read anything by John Grisham but I was certainly familiar with him since he is a "star" of the modern literary world. I had seen the Grisham book-based movie RUNAWAY JURY, mainly because a friend of mine had a part in it, but I found it to be a pretty mediocre film. I wouldn't blame Grisham for the problems with the movie version since I understand that the filmmakers pretty well changed a lot from the book version. And not being a particularly big fan of the legal thriller genre I have never been very curious about John Grisham books. But this one was there for me to read so I gave it a shot.
The story involves recent Yale Law graduate Kyle McAvoy who has a dirty secret in his past which sets him up for blackmail. A mysterious group recruits him to accept a job at a major New York law firm where Kyle will be stealing secrets concerning a client that is involved in highly secret defense projects. Soon Kyle finds himself to be a pawn in a very dangerous game. The reader is taken into the world of aspiring wannabe lawyers and a behind closed doors look into the legal megafirms. It all seems highly accurate and mildly interesting, but I say with a yawn--So what! The story is short on intrigue and excitement and adds up to a big nothing in my view.
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate Grisham's writing expertise. This was one of the reasons I opened the book in the first place. John Grisham has a reputation as a best-selling novelist and I wanted to see what this reputation was all about. Grisham has a skill of moving a story along and keeping the reader's attention. At no time did I consider giving up on the book, but likewise at no time was I excited about what I was reading. Grisham definitely has mastered the skill of hooking the reader. His dialogue is strong and many of the descriptions are vivid. However, the storytelling lacked substance and enthusiasm.
While reading this I almost had the impression that THE ASSOCIATE was just written in a formulaic manner in order to fulfill Grisham's obligation to the publisher or merely to make money. The book is not good literature, but it is a quick and mindless read. I had the feeling that once he got past page 300, Grisham just decided to wrap up the story to get it over with while disregarding the reader's satisfaction. The story just kind of runs out of steam and then it's over with no real conclusion.
What happened here? Did Grisham dead end with the story and not know where to take it? Or is there an even more devious scenario? The book is open-ended which leaves it wide open for a sequel. I can see another three or four hundred pages of continuing the story. Did John Grisham just hack out this trite piece of work in order to set hooked readers up for a sequel? I certainly won't be reading it unless I find another free copy somewhere. And my curiosity hasn't been whetted to read any more Grisham.
If you've read THE ASSOCIATE or any other Grisham novels I'd like to hear your opinion. Did I get it right or wrong in my review? I don't read much in top selling books, but if you do please tell me--is much of the best seller list literature drivel? Is mindless diversion what most of the general reading public is looking for?