Book Review · reading

Book Review: The Associate by John Grisham

Blurb from Amazon:
Kyle McAvoy grew up in his father’s small-town law office in York, Pennsylvania. He excelled in college, was elected editor-in-chief of The Yale Law Journal, and his future has limitless potential.

But Kyle has a secret, a dark one, an episode from college that he has tried to forget. The secret, though, falls into the hands of the wrong people, and Kyle is forced to take a job he doesn’t want—even though it’s a job most law students can only dream about.

Three months after leaving Yale, Kyle becomes an associate at the largest law firm in the world, where, in addition to practicing law, he is expected to lie, steal, and take part in a scheme that could send him to prison, if not get him killed.

With an unforgettable cast of characters and villains—from Baxter Tate, a drug-addled trust fund kid and possible rapist, to Dale, a pretty but seemingly quiet former math teacher who shares Kyle’s “cubicle” at the law firm, to two of the most powerful and fiercely competitive defense contractors in the country—and featuring all the twists and turns that have made John Grisham the most popular storyteller in the world, The Associate is vintage Grisham.

The Associate starts out strong, very promising, very interesting, but it loses speed very quickly. I bogged down in the middle and barely finished it. Not that it doesn’t have an interesting story and some very nice twists; it does. But the plot meanders and doesn’t really go anywhere.

By the end, Kyle, our clever hero, solves his problems, but there are questions still left unanswered; we never find out who the villain is or where he comes from. There are hints, but nothing solid. I started losing interest when Kyle was working in the law firm. It went on and on about billing, how tedious the work was and how long the hours were.

The parts I did like were few and far in between. I liked how when Kyle came to the city and was looking for a place to live, he tells the bad guy (his handler) one thing and takes a different apartment. Kyle gained time and cost the guy money. I liked the scene when Baxter went into a bar and struggled not to get a drink.

The part where his father negotiated with the girl’s lawyer was good, too, I liked how he used the video. But that part could have happened earlier and nothing would be lost. Well, the story would have been almost over. Almost, because the threat of the video was still there and the handler could have published it as revenge.

During the course of this novel, Kyle somehow manages to elude the master spy, somehow manages to get around him. Kyle was a law student and then a lawyer. He reads mysteries and spy novels, visits spy stores and somehow manages to gain the knowledge to evade the master spy? It doesn’t make much sense to me.


5 thoughts on “Book Review: The Associate by John Grisham

  1. Interesting that two of you found this book failing, I wonder if when an author becomes so well know like Grisham, they don’t try as hard any more?

    Thanks for the review Sonia. ^__^

    1. Thanks Helen! I don’t know. Maybe. I know there are some real popular writers I used to love whose books just don’t excite anymore.

  2. I just read this and found it disappointing too. Grisham does a good job of character development, as always, but the story goes nowhere. You wonder early on why Kyle doesn’t seek a few trusted people to confide in instead of just complying with the blackmailer. When he finally does seek help, the problems simply evaporate along with the villain. No explanations, no epilogue, no closure, loose ends everywhere. It’s like the publisher held him to a deadline and said “Just send us what you have so far.”

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