Do you remember Mitch McDeere?

He's the young Harvard Law grad who gets paid an incredible salary, given a new BMW, and gets a fashionable home with a cheap mortgage to go to work as as associate with Bendini, Lambert and Locke in The Firm. McDeere suspects something isn't right when he attends a memorial service his first day on the job for a couple of firm lawyers who died in a freak scuba diving accident only days before.

Do you remember Jonathan Harker? He's the young British solicitor sent to Transylvania to assist Count Dracula in buying property in London. Harker suspects something isn't right when the locals start making the sign of the Cross and giving him crucifixes when they learn of his ultimate Transylvanian destination.

Soon, Mitch McDeere learns he can't leave the Firm.

Soon, Jonathan Harker learns he can't leave Dracula's castle.

The Firm tells the story of McDeere's defeat of his evil law firm. Dracula tells the story of Harker's defeat of his evil client.

Until I read Dracula, I thought John Grisham had created the modern legal thriller. He didn't. Bram Stoker did almost a century earlier.

The details vary, of course. Jonathan Harker escapes from Count Dracula's castle out of camera range. By that time, Dracula is already in Great Britain sucking out the life force of beautiful young victims there. The Firm's story is of McDeere's escape from the law firm that is sucking the life force out of vital young attorneys in Memphis.

McDeere succeeds in bringing down Bendini, Lambert and Locke only with the help of several compatriots willing to endanger themselves. Traumatized from his imprisonment in Transylvania, Harker recedes in Stoker's novel and his resourceful wife, Mina, a few others willing to encounter danger, and the terribly odd Dr. Van Helsing map out strategies to end the undead Count Dracula's reign of terror.

The Firm's power is so pervasive it seems supernatural. Count Dracula's power is so pervasive because it is supernatural.

Law firms can suck the life force of its attorneys. Bad clients are an evil of their own. Both The Firm and Dracula are allegories on horrors common to the practice of law.

Stoker's storytelling lacks the skilled pace of Grisham's best work. Still, read both novels and consider for yourself.

Jackson Burnett
Author of The Past Never Ends, a legal mystery
June 19, 2013

The Firm by John Grisham Dracula by Bram Stoker





"Morgan was subservient to no one except the law and his own conscience."
From Jackson Burnett's The Past Never Ends.


The Past Never Ends by Jackson Burnett
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message 1: by Cathy (new)

Cathy DuPont Jackson: Nice read and interesting. Who would have guessed about the book, Dracula, and The Firm and drawn that commonality?

I'm so ignorant of those old classics and I should remedy that.

Bad clients are an evil of their own. I just bet they are!

You write so clean and clear. I just love your writing.


message 2: by Jackson (new)

Jackson Burnett Cathy wrote: "Jackson: Nice read and interesting. Who would have guessed about the book, Dracula, and The Firm and drawn that commonality?

I'm so ignorant of those old classics and I should remedy that. ..."


Some of the classics are just miserable to read. Dracula isn't one of those, and Cathy, if you haven't read it, I suspect you'd like it. It's not a long book. The pacing is a little funky but the story doesn't really bog down anywhere.

Thanks, too, for the thumbs up on my writing. You may remember several parts from The Past Never Ends that demonstrate how bad clients are truly an evil of their own.


message 3: by Cathy (new)

Cathy DuPont Jackson wrote: "Cathy wrote: "Jackson: Nice read and interesting. Who would have guessed about the book, Dracula, and The Firm and drawn that commonality?

I'm so ignorant of those old classics and I should ..."


Yes, Jackson, I remember them fondly! :-)


message 4: by Jackson (last edited Jun 20, 2013 06:23AM) (new)

Jackson Burnett The Phantom of the Opera is a favorite, too. I like the story better but the narrative (or maybe the translation) could be better. Thanks for your comments, Cathy, and thanks for liking this post.


message 5: by Cathy (new)

Cathy DuPont Jackson: Picked it up today and odd, maybe, the edition I bought isn't listed. Published in 1988 by Aerie Publishing.

Must be 500 listed? You see that?

Hope to get to it sooner rather than later.

Thanks for recommendation.


message 6: by Jackson (new)

Jackson Burnett Dracula is a good book to add to your collection. I hope you like it. Pretty sure you will. Heck, you finished Story of O. You'll definitely enjoy Dracula in comparison.


message 7: by Cathy (new)

Cathy DuPont Jackson wrote: "Dracula is a good book to add to your collection. I hope you like it. Pretty sure you will. Heck, you finished Story of O. You'll definitely enjoy Dracula in comparison."

Yes, I believe you that I'll enjoy it more than "O" that dumbass. Bet ole Drac wasn't a dumbass.

Meant to say that the cover of Dracula looks like a pulp cover. I'll post it soon with the book ID which I had to create since it was not listed. Not listed out of the 500 m/l that were listed. I'm the only one on GR who has read this edition?


message 8: by Jackson (new)

Jackson Burnett Cathy wrote: "Jackson wrote: "Dracula is a good book to add to your collection. I hope you like it. Pretty sure you will. Heck, you finished Story of O. You'll definitely enjoy Dracula in comparison."

Yes, ..."


You may have a collector's item!


message 9: by Cathy (new)

Cathy DuPont Jackson wrote: "Cathy wrote: "Jackson wrote: "Dracula is a good book to add to your collection. I hope you like it. Pretty sure you will. Heck, you finished Story of O. You'll definitely enjoy Dracula in compa..."

I'll take it. Only 50 cents!


message 10: by Jackson (new)

Jackson Burnett Cathy, have you read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Tales of Terror? You know the story already. The book didn't resonate much with me.

Have you read Frankenstein? I should probably give that one a look at.


message 11: by Julie (new)

Julie Saeger Nierenberg An interesting blog post, Jackson. I never read Dracula. Guess it's high time I did. I have always read and enjoyed anticipating Grisham's books; comparing to Dracula will be fun! Speaking of anticipating, I am poised to read your next book too!


message 12: by Cathy (new)

Cathy DuPont Jackson wrote: "Cathy, have you read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Tales of Terror? You know the story already. The book didn't resonate much with me.

Have you read Frankenstein? I shou..."


Sorry, Jackson, missed your post. And no, should have read Dr. J/Mr. H. but haven't. I need to read Dracula next, for sure. Next book? Huh, huh? I'm with Julie!


message 13: by Jackson (new)

Jackson Burnett Thanks for the encouragement, Julie, Cathy. It really please me you read The Past Never Ends and liked it.

Grisham is a great storyteller. Dracula surprised me because the telling of the story was relatively modern. Even though you kind of know the story, it's good to see how the narrative goes.


message 14: by Cathy (new)

Cathy DuPont Jackson: You have a fan club catching on here with me and Julie.


message 15: by Ron (new)

Ron Vampires are everywhere. Thanks for connecting those two dots.


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