Thursday, December 31, 2009

Book Review: The Associate

If you had to choose just one fiction author's books to read for the rest of your life, who would you choose? Perhaps if you're into horror, then Stephen King. Harry Potter fans would have to choose JK Rowling's output. Maybe Agatha Christie or PD James would get your vote. Mine, and I suspect, quite few others, would go for John Grisham.

I can well remember reading my first Grisham book. I was sitting in my first car, the red Renault Clio, in a car park in Whitehead while my wee brother was playing junior soccer. Dave Lowry had lent me a double volume, and I was hooked. The Partner was quickly read, and I soon had purchased the entire back catalogue to read them in my own time and to have the books for multiple re-readings.

Well, after twenty or so books, John Grisham is still on top of his game, writing to the highest quality. The stories are gripping, with excitement mounting, the characters are believeable and you do feel as if you know them. The suspense continues throughout, and the ending to the stories is sometimes unexpected bit always fitting.

In this particular story, The Associate is a highflying law student, about to graduate. His plan is to work for a public interest firm for a few years before working for a big firm and making his fortune. But something is haunting him from his past, and the information has fallen into the wrong hands. Kyle finds himself being blackmailed into spying in the top law firm in the world for their opponents in the run up to a huge trial.

Along the way there's an insight into the life of a lawyer starting out, the heavy hours, the work conditions, and the pressures to perform. The themes of fraternal friendship, of repentance and of the past's hold on the present are discussed. And as the final hundred pages are reached, the tension increases with every page. How is it all going to finish up?

Within the story there are also some particularly Christian themes. We're introduced to a pastor who was converted in prison with a lengthy account of his conversion and subsequent dependence on the Holy Spirit. I'm assuming that John Grisham is a Christian himself, because similar themes have appeared before, most notably in The Testament, where one of the main characters is a missionary in the Chaco. I also enjoyed his description of a by-the-book Episcopal funeral service, where the person remembered wasn't known to the rector. A nice touch and very realistic!

As I said at the start, give me John Grisham's writings any day and every day. My favourite fiction writer, and The Associate fits the bill nicely.

1 comment :

  1. I just finished it and am starting on Ford County Stories now... will let you know what i think...

    Thought the Associate was great, back to the old style that we love.