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John Grisham is my all-time favorite author of legal thrillers. I have read all of his books, except those which do not fall under the legal genre. There have been times when my husband had to put a pillow over his head to block out the light of the lamp because it was after midnight, and I was in bed poring over every page of Grisham’s latest novel, just having to get to that story’s ending . . . I am just not sure where that Grisham charisma has gone in his 2011 outing The Litigators.

I love Grisham’s writing so much that I did not even save myself some money by waiting on the paperback, and I did not even wait for the stress of my semester to be over, I ordered and received this book in March this year. I pushed studies aside, telling myself I am justified in procuring my stress reliever, but as a long time reader of John Grisham, The Litigators, was a disappointment. I usually finish a novel in less than a day, but it took me 5 months to get to the end of this novel.

The book is set in downtown Chicago, and chronicles the decisions of David Zinc, a disillusioned, young lawyer who leaves the large firm life, and joins the questionable “boutique firm” of Finley & Figg. The road from high profile firm employee to street lawyer is not an easy one for David, especially working with ambulance chasers like Oscar Finley and Wally Figg. The firm gets caught up in a potentially lucrative litigation case, and this is the crux of the entire novel.

To a first time reader of Grisham, this book is excellent, since it reveals many of his strengths, his detailed portrayal of characters, his handle of the law, his ability to craft a mystery and evoke that “edge-of-your-seat” feeling in a reader . . . if you have never read any of his other books! The problem I had with this book is that there was nothing new; it was fairly predictable, the pacing was slow, and I did not feel truly invested until the last four chapters. As I was reading, I could identify modified plotlines and characters from his other books.  I was reading and thinking O, that’s like in the ‘Rainmaker’ or O yes, the same kind of thing happened in ‘The Street Lawyer’ or Hmm, very ‘King of Torts.’ I understand how hard it is to come up with new ideas, especially when one is a prolific writer, I sympathize, but that sympathy does not do much in alleviating my disenchantment.

When all is said and done, I am a great believer in second chances, so I am eagerly awaiting “The Racketeer,” which comes out in the Fall. The only difference is, I think this time, I’ll wait for the paperback.

Best always,

Essay Kay