Chidambaram Annamalai's Reviews > The Firm

The Firm by John Grisham
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Jun 24, 11

bookshelves: fiction, legal, thriller
Read in June, 2011

Mitchell McDeere graduates from Harvard Law and is about to begin his career as a lawyer. Blessed with superhuman capabilities handed down generously by Mr.Grisham himself, Mitch finds no trouble in getting nailing three top job offers: two from from Wall Street, one from Memphis. Among other things, Mitch graduates with top honors, is among the top five in his class, was a quarterback at school, is an athlete (but his diet is mainly alcohol and cheeseburgers for the remainder of the novel), works for 20 hours a day, and, of course, requires hardly any sleep. Yet, unwittingly (oh, how I love the innocence), lured by money and associated perks, our man finds himself as a tax lawyer in the Memphis law firm Bendini, Lambert & Locke, where more sinister dealings happen under the cover of a legitimate law firm business.

The story-line never launches itself into the epic thriller that the plot threatens to become, the pace is completely off, and I can safely say that there is no single point of real suspense in this novel thanks to the some early giveaways with which you can construct most of what's about to happen (mhmm, no twists either). The novel starts somewhat promising but crumples into a muted, unimaginative ending with nothing much left to say.

A horrendous lack of detail regarding the crucial money laundering activities, non-existent lawyer talk, no legalese, and, worst of all, no gun descriptions or explanations for what the hell Mitch does 20 hours a day, seven days a week with the obscenely large files handed to him. He works on them! See? (Some brilliant explanation that involved checking client deposits and interest details (lol!) were scattered in the beginning, but Grisham gives up on the pathetic explanations eventually)

The book is so full of repetitions it makes you want to kill yourself for reading it. Every single bar in the Cayman Islands that finds mention in the book involves the three same things. Always! Islanders are playing either darts or dominoes. There is always a band that is tuning up. Mitchel orders the same kind of beer and cheeseburgers.

Our guy Mitch barks orders to an FBI Special Agent in the early parts, and the relationship deteriorates later when Mitch can't help calling Tarrance an idiot every time he is required to say something. Not joking. Tarrance is a sock puppet character who does not come up with any good ideas during these conversations. Why converse at all?!!! Sadly, Tarrance is made to alternate between: "Will do", "I'll ask my boss", or make some feeble attempt at bargaining in a deal or ask a stupid question. The last three options don't bode well for poor Tarrance, and all such replies are followed up by Mitch calling him an idiot.

When the FBI and the Mafia are hot on his tail, Mitch also finds, serendipitously, the assistance of an ex-con while being holed up in a room at a seedy Motel along Pacific Beach. The Mafia also give false leads to the FBI to throw them off his trail. Who needs the FBI, right?

The absolute worst--and this no writer should engage in--is an extended recital of the events occurring up to a certain point in time in the form a nervous realization by one of the characters, completely ruining the pace and putting the reader to sleep.

Eventually you will be tempted to assume that Grisham doesn't have a brain.

The book fails to entertain just as much as it fails to inform. The uninspired title should've been a giveaway, but I read the book only because I heard that this was Grisham's big break that made him famous in the 90s. I most certainly can't see how. I don't advise you to try either. Yuck!
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Sanjay Varma awesome review!!! :-)


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