Review of “The Associate” by John Grisham

Note: This review is by my husband Jim.


This is another taut, legal drama from former lawyer John Grisham. The plot involves recent Yale Law School graduate Kyle McAvoy, who has been spurning offers from big law firms so he can do legal aid work for migrant workers. Unfortunately, a man named Bennie Wright wants to steal secrets from one of those big firms, and knows something in McAvoy’s past that will kill any career McAvoy has in mind. Wright thus is able to “persuade” McAvoy to join this firm and help him obtain classified military information, which the firm has because of a monumental suit it is litigating.

The plot is a little strained; one wonders why someone as bright and altruistic as the hero doesn’t seek the help of a good criminal lawyer, the Justice Department, and the FBI on page 50 rather than on page 300, but it wouldn’t be much of a story if he did. Nonetheless, the book is worth reading to get a flavor (if a bit exaggerated) of the trials and tribulations of young associates in big law firms. Having once been one myself (i.e., a young associate in a big firm in Chicago), I could empathize with Kyle as he struggled with the pressure and temptations of life in the fast lane.

Evaluation: Grisham never lets the narrative stall, and although it is not as breathtakingly paced as The Da Vinci Code, this one will keep your attention.

Rating: 3/5

Published by Doubleday, an imprint of The Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., 2009


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6 Responses to Review of “The Associate” by John Grisham

  1. sandynawrot says:

    I used to read Grisham. He’s fairly predictable but he does keep things moving, interesting. I don’t think I’ve read any of his stuff since “An Innocent Man”, his foray into true crime which I loved.

  2. BermudaOnion says:

    Yeah, for me, Grisham’s work isn’t as good as it used to be. I’ll probably skip this one.

  3. Sounds like this may not be one of Grisham’s best. It’s been awhile since I read him.

  4. Ti says:

    I had a Grisham phase when he came out with his first few books. Read them and loved them. I even loved the Christmas one that was the basis of the movie Christmas with the Kranks, but I can’t read him today. Too commercial.

  5. stacybuckeye says:

    Grisham is hit or miss for me. Glad this one passed the ‘ young associate in a big firm’ test!

  6. litandlife says:

    As much as Grisham can become formulaic, he can deliver a great read.

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