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John Grisham

A-The LitigatorsPerennial best seller John Grisham returns with yet another legal thriller in The Litigators, his 25th novel. Previously reviewed: The Confession (3 of 5 Stars Jan/Feb 2011), The Associate (3 of 5 Stars Mar/Apr 2009), The Appeal (3.5 of 5 Stars May/June 2008), The Innocent Man (3 of 5 Stars Jan/Feb 2007).

The Story: Idealistic, young, Harvard-educated lawyer David Zinc has had enough of working for a major downtown Chicago law firm and its soulless demands on his life. He abruptly quits one day and goes down the street to a bar. On a bender, Zinc literally stumbles into the tiny, squalid law offices of Finley & Figg, a lousy, lazy team and dejectedly joins their ambulance-chasing ways as their only associate. Though the majority of cases involve quickie divorces, one of the partners, Wally Figg, has a plan to make a quick buck by climbing aboard a class-action suit against the makers of a faulty drug. Despite the thin evidence, Zinc soon finds himself embroiled in a lawsuit against Big Pharma, which just happens to be represented by Zinc's old law firm.
Doubleday. 400 pages. $28.95. ISBN: 9780385535137

Cleveland Plain Dealer 4 of 5 Stars
"Rightly criticized for populating his fiction with characters as flat as an LSAT booklet, Grisham this time puts three dimensions on Oscar Finley and Wally Figg, partners in the ‘boutique firm' of Finley & Figg. ... As with so many best-selling thrillers, style takes a back seat to getting the story on the page." Andrea Simakis

Irish Independent 4 of 5 Stars
"John Grisham has said that he isn't writing serious literature, that his aim is to grab readers. And with this latest novel, he's succeeded in doing just that--yet again. The Litigators is a thrilling romp through the murky world of lawsuits and shysters--rich and poor." Rowena Walsh

Columbus Dispatch 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Although Grisham's legal thrillers have always had their share of humor, The Litigators veers heavily toward sitcom. This will disappoint anyone seeking the taut suspense of The Firm." Tobin Harshaw

Washington Post 3.5 of 5 Stars
"And if you think you know where this is heading ... yes, you do, and no, you don't, because Grisham swerves clear of the usual melodramatic devices. ... At the risk of making Grisham sound pretentious or--worse--boring, I would argue that his true subject--now that he has the luxury to explore it -- is how the law serves as both accessory and antagonist to our dreams." Louis Bayard

USA Today 2 of 5 Stars
"Grisham's winning recipe--sympathetic characters and gripping drama--is missing. ... Sadly, the ratcheting-up of suspense, the way Grisham so effectively pulls us into his stories--he did it in his last two legal thrillers, The Confession and The Associate--is missing." Carol Memmott

Critical Summary

Although Grisham continues to follow the plot crafting and writing style that have made him an international sensation, The Litigators--another slick morality tale, this time, an attack on individual and corporate greed--doesn't pack quite the same punch or have the same suspense as previous works such as The Firm. Most critics felt that the thriller falls into sitcom mode, particularly when Zinc enters the courtroom, and that the secondary characters (a secretary, a mass-tort king, a legal assassin leading the Big Pharma defense) remain flatter than they should be. Then again, since this is Grisham, readers don't necessary expect the highest caliber of writing or characterization. What we want is a thrilling ride--and The Litigators mostly delivers.