Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
The Associate: John Grisham, November 19—December 4, 2016
My rating: ♦♦♦◊◊
Kyle is about to graduate from law school and is blackmailed by a shady organisation with an explosive video from his past. To make it all go away, he has to take a job at their selected law firm, and steal secrets for the other side of a multi-billion dollar corporate battle.
Given that it is set in a law firm, The Associate is, technically, a legal thriller. That it features not a single courtroom, judge, defendant or – who said thrill? – is a bit of a disappointment.
What you’ll take from this book depends on what you were hoping for in the first place. There’s a lot of information on the induction process at a big New York firm, and on the legwork required of fresh blood to bill huge sums for very antisocial working hours. For me, it was interesting. It was a side of law that isn’t written about very often and dull office politics have always fascinated me a little bit. Probably not the sort of thing one should admit to the world.
However, in terms of action, there is very little indeed. After establishing Kyle’s utterly unwinnable situation, he pretty much has to get on with it and just be a but grumpy.about it. His main conflict, such as it is, is the ethics of the whole thing. He feels bad about doing over his firm’s client because he’s such an integrity filled beacon of hope. Only, the whole reason for his pickle is that he was more of a booze-filled beacon of indifference in the face of some pretty horrid stuff not too long before and much of his motivation is avoiding personal shame so it’s not that easy to feel sorry for him.
The ending is somewhat weak. We coast into an underwhelming conclusion that acts as little more than a shrug and it sort of leaves the meh taste in your mouth that embodies the whole story. It’s not awful and you won’t hate it, and that’s kind of as good as it gets.