The Associate (John Grisham)

What is it about John Grisham? For about 20 books now, he takes the same general idea of an attorney struggling to beat whatever version of the legal system has him perplexed at the moment. Pretty much every time I pick up a Grisham book, I know exactly what I am getting. Same basic plot line, same general outcome. Usually I hate that in an author. Surprise me! Shake things up a bit! Maybe there is something about the relative predictability of John Grisham that I like after all.

Kyle McAvoy is a successful first year associate at a gigantic Wall Street law firm, only he is being blackmailed to commit corporate espionage. In undergrad, Kyle had the distinct misfortune of having passed out during a fraternity party gone haywire, and now 7 years later a video has mysteriously surfaced of 4 frat brothers in a room with a girl who was quite inebriated herself. The actions of 2 of the guys with the girl are questionable, and could possibly put them all in prison. The video has now fallen into the hands of some opportunists hoping to use Kyle to sneak out secret files for a major lawsuit that the firm is working on. His extortionists are very well-connected, very threatening, and have access to an endless supply of money and technology. They follow Kyle for several months as he tries to stall the inevitable breach of security to his firm. Like Grisham's other stars, Kyle McAvoy is smart and works hard to find a way out. In the end, he does...sort of, but the reader is left wondering about the permanence of his newfound peace and happiness. This ending was quite unsatisfying after such tension buildup. I would rather have seen Kyle McAvoy live happily ever after or die from a puzzling car bomb than to just have to wonder about him! Grisham, oh Grisham. Write me some more southern legal lit, just for old times' sake!