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The Whistler #1

The Whistler

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We expect our judges to be honest and wise. Their integrity and impartiality are the bedrock of the entire judicial system. We trust them to ensure fair trials, to protect the rights of all litigants, to punish those who do wrong, and to oversee the orderly and efficient flow of justice.

But what happens when a judge bends the law or takes a bribe? It’s rare, but it happens.

Lacy Stoltz is an investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct. She is a lawyer, not a cop, and it is her job to respond to complaints dealing with judicial misconduct. After nine years with the Board, she knows that most problems are caused by incompetence, not corruption.

But a corruption case eventually crosses her desk. A previously disbarred lawyer is back in business with a new identity. He now goes by the name Greg Myers, and he claims to know of a Florida judge who has stolen more money than all other crooked judges combined. And not just crooked judges in Florida. All judges, from all states, and throughout U.S. history.

What’s the source of the ill-gotten gains? It seems the judge was secretly involved with the construction of a large casino on Native American land. The Coast Mafia financed the casino and is now helping itself to a sizable skim of each month’s cash. The judge is getting a cut and looking the other way. It’s a sweet deal: Everyone is making money.

But now Greg wants to put a stop to it. His only client is a person who knows the truth and wants to blow the whistle and collect millions under Florida law. Greg files a complaint with the Board on Judicial Conduct, and the case is assigned to Lacy Stoltz, who immediately suspects that this one could be dangerous.

Dangerous is one thing. Deadly is something else.

470 pages, Kindle Edition

First published October 25, 2016

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About the author

John Grisham

455 books74.4k followers
John Grisham is the author of forty-seven consecutive #1 bestsellers, which have been translated into nearly fifty languages. His recent books include The Judge's List, Sooley, and his third Jake Brigance novel, A Time for Mercy, which is being developed by HBO as a limited series.

Grisham is a two-time winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction and was honored with the Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for Fiction.

When he's not writing, Grisham serves on the board of directors of the Innocence Project and of Centurion Ministries, two national organizations dedicated to exonerating those who have been wrongfully convicted. Much of his fiction explores deep-seated problems in our criminal justice system.

John lives on a farm in central Virginia.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 7,604 reviews
Profile Image for Linda.
1,192 reviews1,242 followers
January 2, 2017
Like an ol' song from the renowned B.B. King: "The thrill is gone".

Oh, yeah. I'm gonna catch a lot of flack from the die-hard Grisham fans. Funny thing. I'm one of them. I've read everything "Grisham" from his very first to this current one. I'd read his grocery list, too. But this one.......

Something smells like three-day-old fish washed up on the shores of a Florida beach. Instead of rotting fish, it's a Florida judge who seems to be caught up in a net of judicial misconduct floating in the waves of bribes, illicit exchanges, and deeply hidden cash. The judge is a crafty one who buries her ill-gotten treasures like a sea turtle hiding her eggs in the sand.

Lacy Stolz and her partner, Hugo Hatch, are the legal investigators called in to check out the story of a whistleblower (hence the title). Greg Myers, who has changed his name and his identity like some people change their minds, is the man with the information. His past as a shifty lawyer gives off more shade than the local palm trees. Lacy and Hugo are taken for an unsettling ride as Myers ticks off time according to his own clock.

We're soon introduced to the Coast Mafia that has been in operation for some time. Add the unsurprising ingredient of a Florida Native American casino operating on the fringes of the law and you have the framing of this story.

As a tried-and-true fan, I have had my fingers on the pulse of the last few books by Grisham. They have been floating way under the current that is expected of this stellar author. They entertain, but they just don't seem to have "the thrill of the chase" that was once a solid credential of an offering by Grisham.

Grisham sells. We buy. And I always will with the hope that the tide will roll in, once again, with all that we've known to be "true" Grisham. This will be a satisfying read to some, but once you've tasted Champagne, a flat beer just doesn't have the same buzz.

Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,736 followers
November 11, 2016
About as mediocre as it gets. Not bad, not good . . . just soooooo plain vanilla. There may have been one exciting moment toward the middle of the book. The rest of the time it was just some lawyers and some judges and some bad guys doing some corrupt stuff, investigations, eating (so many descriptions of the food the characters eat - more so than story in some cases), etc. When the resolution of the story happened I barely noticed because the tone stayed flat.

I think Grisham used all of his excitement up in his earlier novels. Now he is just dictating boring court cases to us. But, I will still keep reading his books and looking for diamonds in the rough!
Profile Image for Maureen .
1,323 reviews7,104 followers
July 12, 2019
Having previously reviewed the 4 chapter version, I was given a copy of the book by Shotsmag and have now reviewed the book in its entirety. Thank you to www.shotsmag.co.uk for my copy in exchange for a fair and honest review*

Who judges the judges? Personally it's not something I've ever given any thought to, but John Grisham has created a unique and exciting storyline based around this very subject.

Lacy Stoltz investigates cases of judicial misconduct in Florida. She has her share of interesting cases but nothing that will set the world on fire, that is until Greg Myers approaches her with the mother of all judicial misconduct complaints. Under state law, Myers and his anonymous whistle blower are able to claim a portion of any illegal assets discovered from the investigation, and as investigations go, this one will go down in history.

Lacy, along with her working partner Hugo Hatch agree to meet Myers ( a somewhat shady character who lives on the periphery of society). He is a convicted felon, who lost his license to practice law, but he served his time and has recently had his licence restored. He claims to have evidence of a female judge being mixed up with the local mafia, saying that she's amassed a small fortune in illegal earnings from a casino and its surrounding condos. This case, if proven, could become a very dangerous assignment for Lacy and Hugo, and Hugo in particular has real concerns about becoming involved with the mafia, and its possible outcome. The case is presented to their boss Michael Geismar, and after much deliberation, it's decided that they will take the case on, with Lacy and Hugo being the main investigators.

And so begins the massive investigation to bring to justice the most corrupt judge in US history. It becomes clear that peeling away the many layers of deceit will not be easy, and as their powers are somewhat limited, the FBI are brought into play and work in conjunction with Lacy and the team. Companies and assets are well hidden but the whole team's determination is unquestionable. Of course, anyone who tries to take down the mafia are not in for an easy ride, but it makes for a truly exciting read.

This was an intelligent and gripping storyline, and took me into places I'd rather not go, thankful that I was reading from a cosy armchair, and with the distinct advantage of not being personally involved. The characterisation too was perfect, with completely believable personalities. What a thoroughly enjoyable and compelling read.
Profile Image for Maureen .
1,323 reviews7,104 followers
July 12, 2019
I was lucky enough to be offered the chance to read this short 4 chapter preview of John Grisham's new thriller 'The Whistler'. Well, who wouldn't want to read this excellent author even if it isn't the full book?

Lacy Stoltz investigates cases of judicial misconduct in Florida. She has her share of interesting cases but nothing that will set the world on fire, that is until Greg Myers approaches her with the mother of all judicial misconduct complaints.

Lacy, along with her working partner Hugo, agree to meet Myers ( a somewhat shady character who lives on the periphery of society). He claims to have evidence of a female judge being mixed up with the local mafia, and that she's amassed a small fortune in illegal earnings from a casino and its surrounding condos. This case, if true, could become a very dangerous assignment for Lacy and Hugo, and Hugo in particular has real concerns about becoming involved with the mafia, and its possible outcome. This preview certainly gives a strong flavour of what's to come and has left me feeling excited about its release. I realise that 4 chapters doesn't make a book so it's difficult to accurately rate and review but it's certainly whetted my appetite and left me desperate to read the rest of this intriguing storyline. I think John Grisham has written another winner here.

* Thank you to Netgalley & Hodder & Stoughton for my preview copy for which I have given an honest review*
Profile Image for Andrew Smith.
1,033 reviews563 followers
September 5, 2022
When Grisham is good he’s very good – witness Sycamore Row, The Litagators, and The Firm – but when he is bad…

In recent times I struggled through Gray Mountain and hoped it might just be a blip in the midst of a run of good form, but I’m afraid this one proves that not to be the case. The basic tale is of a team of government lawyers whose task it is to investigate potentially corrupt judges. A particular judge is fingered by a whistle-blower (hence the title) and the team set to work. What happens next is so mundane, so predictable, so dull that I can’ t bring myself to describe it further. Suffice to say that the narrative is totally devoid of surprises, save one incident early on which is the single interesting moment in the book.

If the characters had grabbed my interest (they didn’t) or if the dialogue had been sharp (it wasn’t) or if there had been a classic Grisham court scene – well, I needn’t continue, I think you get the point. To rub salt in the wound, the initial set-up was described in such a protracted manner I’d virtually lost the will before the story proper had begun. The whole thing is pretty much a disaster.

Two stars for me but only because I worked my way through the whole thing, hoping in vain to stumble across the redeeming moment the author had held back for the determined reader.
Profile Image for Matt.
3,666 reviews12.8k followers
November 7, 2016
I don't usually go for half-stars, but this one is more than a three and surely less than four. So... 3.5 it is!

In his latest novel, garnering many mixed reviews, Grisham seeks to offer readers yet another angle of the law in thriller format. Lacy Stoltz is gainfully employed with the Florida Bureau of Judicial Conduct, a branch of the state government tasked with keeping those who occupy the bench from stepping too far out of line. When Lacy and her partner, Hugo, meet with Greg Myers, he lets them know that he is acting as an intermediary for someone who has significant information on a corrupt judge, one Claudia McDover. Myers explains that McDover is apparently mixed up with a collection of men who call themselves the Coast Mafia, all of whom have pushed forward the building and maintenance of a casino, The Treasure Key, on tribal land belonging to the Tappacola. McDover and others have been receiving significant payments, contravening numerous laws. McDover is accused not only of ensuring that the casino moved forward, but oversaw a fabricated murder trial of one Junior Mace, a member of the tribe and strong advocate against the casino. With Mace out of the way, opposition by a segment of the Tappacola dissolved, paving the way for its construction and continued prosperity. With Treasure Key significantly in the black, McDover has been further compensated with a number of condominiums, another kickback for her steering judicial decisions in a favourable direction. Digesting all this, Lacy must await a formal complaint, understanding that it will rock the system if even parts of it can be proven. Myers agrees to get the wheels in motion, but warns Lacy about one Vonn Dubose, a member of the Coast Mafia and closely tied to Her Honor. Dubose has connections to men who could make people disappear or worse, which is why the actual whistleblower (or 'Whistler' in the vernacular) has yet to come forward themselves. Commencing her formal investigation, Lacy and her partner head to the tribal lands and begin asking questions about the casino and the trial of Junior Mace, who was convicted of killing his wife and close friend in an apparent fit of rage when they were found in bed together. Lacy learns that much of the testimony at trial was flimsy and that witnesses were given a great deal of leeway. While travelling home from their investigation, Lacy and Hugo are struck by a drunk driver, killing Hugo. In a coma for a time, Lacy is incapacitated and the investigation can go nowhere, the time limit for filing slowly ticking away. When Lacy is able to recover enough she has a newfound impetus to bring McDover down and have someone charged for killing Hugo. When Myers goes missing, Lacy realises that someone will stop at nothing to ensure this investigation withers on the vine and so she presses on, soon learning the identity of the Whistler. Now she has to protect this individual if she is to bring the full force of the Bureau of Judicial Conduct down on McDover, while using the additional resources of the FBI, who have jurisdiction on tribal lands when it comes to criminal matters. When the Whistler is apparently identified during monitored phone calls, Lacy must do all in her power to protect this person before all those who have the power to bring McDover down cease to exist. However, the Coast Mafia will do anything in their power to protect their greatest asset, the casino, and the judge who made it all come true. An interesting and unique take to the legal thriller, Grisham keeps the reader wondering throughout.

I have long enjoyed and respected John Grisham for his varied stories as they relate to the law. While I have struggled with some of his more recent novels, I think that might have something to do with the nuanced aspects of the legal world being explored, rather than diminished writing capacity on the part of the author. As always, Grisham uses a wonderful collection of characters from many walks of life to flavour his story effectively, as well as another southern locale to keep things close to home for him. What I found lacking was something I cannot place; as if the Grisham Spark was missing. The story flowed well and the narrative did not drag, but I was not captivated as I had been in earlier novels, which might have something to do with a lack of 'David versus Goliath' mentality that Grisham used to inject into his stories. While there was certainly a Good versus Evil theme to the book, I lacked a connection to the story that I often find when exploring the world of John Grisham. I have seen others review this book and offer similar sentiments, so I know that I am not alone. How to give insight to those who will read this before choosing to read the book, that is something with which I struggle. However, veteran Grisham fans such as myself know when something is off and won't stand idly by chalking it up to just a poor effort. I will admit, reading the prequel to this story, 'Witness to a Trial', did offer some interesting insight into the capital case of Junior Mace that plays a key role in the larger complaint against Claudia McDover. I am happy I took the time to do so and found it helped in that regard. Still, one can hope that this does not become the norm, where Grisham slides into James Patterson's mentality and rests on his laurels to make millions while churning out less than his best.

Kudos, Mr. Grisham for a good book. That je ne sais quoi seems to have been lacking, which I hope can be found by the next publication. I know your loyal fans will forgive you for it... once.

Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:
Profile Image for Gary.
2,590 reviews363 followers
August 21, 2016
I have read most of John Grisham's novels so I was always going to read this one and so when offered the opportunity to read this preview I had no hesitation. The only problem is as expected the preview only succeeded in drawing me in and left me wanting more. The book is out in October so not too long to wait but I wish it was sooner.

The novel starts with Lacy Stoltz an investigator who works on judicial misconduct cases in Florida. Up to now she has only worked on fairly small cases but suddenly she is thrust into the big time. Lawyer Greg Myers approaches Lacy and her partner Hugo on behalf of a whistle blower who has details of a judge who is mixed up with the local mafia. In combination with the gang the judge has managed to make illegal earnings from involvement in a casino and two of the people who opposed the casino are now dead. Under state law Greg Myers and the whistle blower are able to gain a slice of the illegally gained assets and are in a position to make a lot of money. But they first need to convince Lacy and Hugo that the case is genuine and the danger is worth the risk.

The four chapters I read set the story up and I need to hear more. I am sure this is going to be another John Grisham best seller.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Hodder & Stoughton for supplying an advanced preview copy of John Grisham's new novel 'The Whistler'.
Profile Image for James Thane.
Author 8 books6,913 followers
August 10, 2018
This is another entertaining legal thriller from John Grisham and it involves a corrupt Florida judge who has been taking humongous bribes to advance the interests of a crooked real estate developer. A shadowy figure using an assumed name contacts the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct claiming that he has incontrovertible evidence of the judge's crimes. He's blowing the whistle in hopes of claiming the millions of dollars in reward money that would accrue to someone who could bring the judge and her co-conspirators down.

The case is assigned to Lacy Stoltz, who has been investigating cases for the Board for nine years. Most of the cases that the Board investigates involve incompetent judges and are relatively slam-dunk affairs. Lacy and her partner, Hugo Hatch, have never had a case involving corruption on a scale this large, but in truth, hardly any investigator ever has.

It quickly becomes apparent that corruption on this level can also lead to danger of a similar magnitude. All sorts of very nasty people have been lining their pockets with the proceeds of this activity, and they will go to any lengths to protect themselves and the scheme that is enriching them.

Grisham excels at creating legal labyrinths that are really more like gauntlets, and then running his protagonists--and his readers--through them, often at breakneck speed. This book is no exception, and it's an entertaining ride, although I don't think it's on a par with his best novels like The Runaway Jury or The Firm. For whatever reason, it's not quite as compelling, and the climax is not quite as tense or satisfying. But these are relatively small complaints, and fans of Grisham's work are certain to enjoy The Whistler.
Profile Image for Blaine.
727 reviews580 followers
October 5, 2022
The truth was that, at the age of thirty-six, Lacy was content to live alone, to sleep in the center of the bed, to clean up only after herself, to make and spend her own money, to come and go as she pleased, to pursue her career without worrying about his, to plan her evenings with input from no one else, to cook or not to cook, and to have sole possession of the remote control.
I liked The Whistler more than most of Mr. Grisham’s recent efforts. He’s such a good storyteller, that it usually comes down to the plot. In this case, I enjoyed the out-of-the-box story of someone using the attorneys in charge of enforcing the profession’s ethics rules to try to break up a criminal conspiracy involving a judge. Hopefully this book portends a return to form for Mr. Grisham. Recommended.
Profile Image for Kay ☼.
1,925 reviews630 followers
October 3, 2021
It seems to me that John Grisham is trying to find a new hit series with a female protagonist. Although I enjoy this book, it wasn't much of a legal thriller like Jake Brigance series, PLEASE WRITE BOOK #3! In comparison, I prefer Gray Mountain to this one, but it doesn't mean this wasn't a good read.

update: Jake Brigance #3, A Time for Mercy came out Oct. 2020.
Profile Image for Monnie.
1,381 reviews761 followers
October 31, 2016
Quandary time: I really enjoyed this book - in fact, perhaps more than the last two or three from this popular author (if possible, I'd give it 4.5 stars). For openers, there's a noticeable absence of the industry-bashing that's been common of late (much to my dislike), and the focus is almost entirely on legal procedure that's reminiscent of earlier and, IMHO, more enjoyable works.

On the other hand, it struck me as different enough that it may not sit well with die-hard fans. Can I call it, for instance, a "high-stakes thrill ride" as claimed in the description? Simply put, no.

Don't misunderstand; there's plenty of action, beginning the minute Lacy Stoltz, an attorney and investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct, is contacted by Greg Myers, a lawyer who claims that a Sunshine State judge is the most successful judicial thief in U.S. history. The judge, he reports, for years has been taking huge cuts from a large casino operated by the Tappacola Indian tribe, construction of which was financed by a secretive organization called the Coast Mafia. But there are complications; first, Myers was at one time disbarred, so his reputation is questionable. And, he's representing the whistle-blower only by way of an unknown intermediary, whose name he refuses to reveal (he insists he doesn't even know the name of the whistle-blower). Because of the threat to his own life, he's been on the lam for years (Myers isn't his real name); and he admits his only motivation for coming forward now is that he and his client stand to rake in millions by filing a complaint with the Board of Conduct.

Painfully aware of those limitations as well as touchy jurisdictional issues between Florida law enforcement and Native American property, Lacy and her partner, Hugo, tentatively begin to investigate. Some of the dirt they dig up early on suggests that the FBI should be called in to help, but Myers threatens to back out if that happens. So, the partners set off to learn what they can given the legal restrictions - and from the git-go run smack dab into a hornet's nest that quickly turns deadly.

As I said before, the action is pretty much nonstop after that. So why isn't it a nail-biter? I'm not sure, except to say it's the style of writing. Dialog makes the characters seem real, but everything in between is pretty much a narrative so matter-of-fact that it's almost - but not quite - to the point of bland. This "just the facts" approach keeps the plot interesting as all get-out to me, but at the same time I never felt any particular excitement or sense of imminent danger; in other words, nothing that put me on the edge of my seat. That said, though, I finished the book in a day and a half just because I didn't want to put it down - hence my dilemma in writing a review.

In the end, I come down strongly on the side of well done. But in the final analysis, I guess other readers will just have to decide for themselves. Sorry, guys and gals, but it's the best that I can do.
Profile Image for Jim C.
1,489 reviews28 followers
December 16, 2022
This is the beginning novel of a series. This is a legal thriller from the author that might be the greatest author of legal thrillers. In this one we follow Lacy who works for a bureau that investigate judges and their wrongdoings. She is given a tip of a judge who might be in league with an organization that is skimming from a local casino. Lacy gets more than she bargained for with the investigation.

When I first started reading many, many years ago John Grisham was one of my go to authors. Nowadays not so much. But if this is any indication of what I have been missing he needs to be in my rotation more often. This is a typical Grisham novel. If you have read one of his novels you know what you are going to get. There will be some form of corruption within our legal system. There will be the underdog protagonist that is fighting to expose this corruption. And he will also give you enough background information on the characters that you will care about them. All of this is in this novel. It easily transported me back to my younger days and reading his novels. The conspiracy was well detailed, I cared about the characters as they proceeded with the investigation, and I was invested in how it would all play out with the finale. The finale might be the only flaw in this book and it really isn't a flaw. It was straight forward. I was somewhat expecting a twist or a reveal but it never happened. It did not deter my enjoyment of this book but it would have been a nice finishing touch.

Once again Grisham has written a very enjoyable novel based on the legal system. This is where he excels and this is a fine addition to his work. It wasn't too convoluted and I enjoyed the whole ride and the characters. I am definitely diving into the next book of this series.
Profile Image for L.A. Starks.
Author 11 books650 followers
February 6, 2017
One of Grisham's finest in his signature Southern raconteur style, with a big ol' plot that wraps around judge corruption (Grisham gets the legal points just right) and Indian gambling casinos. This book, as do some of his others, takes a welcome chance with POV--it is neither limited third nor omniscient, but something in between as readers are taken inside the heads of several characters.

In another refreshing change, the book easily passes the Bechdel test--that is, there are several strong female characters, and several scenes in which the women are talking about a subject other than men.

Many successful books center on family, and there is much in the way of caring, difficult and tragic family situations in THE WHISTLER.

Highly recommended.

If you like the Indian gaming setting and want to see it on a much bigger (and more-successful-in- meeting-tribal-needs) stage, take a look at award-winning STRIKE PRICE, a fictional thriller set amidst one tribe's half-billion dollar gaming business in Oklahoma, with backstory involving several other tribes forcibly displaced to the state during The Removal. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0991110706 Readers may also like the short story that informs STRIKE PRICE, "A Time for Eating Wild Onions," from the tense, volatile early 1970s. https://www.amazon.com/Time-Eating-Wi...
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,317 reviews4,839 followers
September 4, 2021

Lacy Stoltz and Hugo Hatch are lawyers with the 'The Florida Board on Judicial Conduct', which investigates claims that Florida judges are engaging in inappropriate or illegal behavior.

This can range from being drunk on the job, to propositioning attorneys for sex, to taking bribes.....or worse.

Even so, Lacy and Hugo are skeptical when a disbarred lawyer, who calls himself Greg Myers.....

.....claims that Judge Claudia McDover is in cahoots with the Coast Mafia - a criminal organization that engineered the construction of a casino on Tappacola Indian land in the Florida panhandle.

According to the informant, Judge McDover helped the mafia grab land for the casino (and other developments) by shady use of eminent domain.....

.....and she covered up the murder of a casino opponent by engineering the conviction of an innocent man - who's now on death row.

The tipster also asserts that the judge gets tons of cash skimmed from casino profits and accepts other perks - like expensive condominiums.

Lacy and Hugo look into the allegations, which seem to be true. The judge has been very careful though, and It won't be easy to prove she's guilty. So, to get a 'toe in', Myers makes a complaint citing McDover's ownership of illicit condominiums. This allows Lacy and Hugo to begin an official inquiry.

Though Myers signs the complaint, he's actually the 'spokesman' for a trio who want to take down Judge McDover. These three include a 'whistle-blower' close to the justice;

an intermediary;

and then Myers.

(IMO this hierarchy of snitches unnecessarily complicates the plot.) These tattletales are in it for the money, since whistle-blowers share in 'illegal gains' retrieved by the government.

As part of their inquiries Lacy and Hugo start to sniff around the casino, which alarms the Tappacola Chief as well as the Coast Mafia - which is run by Vonn Dubose.

As a result, Dubose arranges for his lieutenants to cause an accident that will intimidate The Florida Board on Judicial Conduct.

This incident results in a death and a serious injury. Afterwards the Chief and his minions try to derail any investigation into the tragedy - which occurred on Indian land.

The men who orchestrate the accident make some bad mistakes. This gives the FBI a wedge to expose the entire criminal enterprise. This is my favorite part of the book, since I always enjoy seeing the bad guys get their comeuppance.

Some interesting characters in the story include:

Judge McDover - a bottomless pit of greed; she amasses a mind-boggling collection of riches and her extravagant lifestyle is beyond belief. (Literally. I don't believe a judge can have numerous properties in foreign countries, fly all over the world on private planes, and spend infinitely more than she makes without Homeland Security or the FBI - or someone - noticing.)

Gunther - Lacy's businessman brother, who alternates between being rich and being bankrupt. He's an assertive, annoying guy.....but always has Lacy's back.

Vonn Dubose - a ruthless schemer who amasses bars, liquor stores, restaurants, strip clubs, hotels, convenience stores, shopping centers, amusement parks, golf courses, etc. Dubose is a wizard at hiding the ill-gotten gains....and will kill anybody that gets in his way.

The story also includes several FBI agents, various thugs, a couple of colleagues of Lacy and Hugo, a reputable Indian cop, and more.

For me this book is just okay. The plot is interesting, but not that original. And large swatches of the story don't move the plot forward, or seem to lead nowhere. This feels like padding to me.

You might enjoy the book if you like legal thrillers.....but temper your expectations.

You can follow my reviews at http://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot.com/
Profile Image for Labijose.
939 reviews400 followers
June 30, 2019
No diré que ha vuelto el mejor Grisham, pero sí que ha recuperado bastante de su esencia. Por eso me sorprende que tenga tantas reseñas negativas. Supongo que comparan “El soborno” con sus mejores obras, y esta quizás no pase a la historia, pero tampoco decepciona.

Con un ritmo pausado, pero para nada aburrido, el autor teje una investigación creíble, con personajes totalmente reconocibles. Quizás echemos en falta sus famosas descripciones judiciales, ya que en esta novela no hay escenas con jurado, ni fiscal, ni abogado defensor. Como contrapartida, asistimos a toda la investigación, desde la llegada de la denuncia contra una jueza, presuntamente corrupta, hasta el apresamiento de la enrevesada telaraña de delincuentes (una auténtica mafia), entre los que se encuentran los cabecillas. Todo ello llevado a cabo desde la Comisión de Conducta Judicial (Lacy Stoltz es un personaje entrañable), que tendrá que entregar al caso al FBI, tras el asesinato de su compañero.

¿De verdad gozan los indios de ese grado de impunidad en sus territorios? Si es así, sería una más de las muchas contradicciones de ese gran país, donde el capitalismo roza lo inverosímil.

Desde luego, esta novela me ha parecido inmensamente mejor que “Gray mountain”, un intento fallido de denuncia medioambiental de JG. Aquí se mueve más en su terreno. Y el resultado es un producto muy bien presentado, interesante, creíble, y con una resolución que además dejará satisfechos a muchos lectores. Yo entre ellos.
Profile Image for Jim.
550 reviews83 followers
February 7, 2017
Once upon a time when a new John Grisham book was released it was a magical moment. I would read the book as soon as I could get my hands on it. I was totally immersed. I'm talking about books like A Time to Kill, The Client, The Runaway Jury, etc. Every book was a great read, a page turner. Alas, those days appear to be over. Today it appears it is more about quantity rather than quality. Just crank them out. People will read them. I will say that I thought that this latest effort was better than Rogue Lawyer.

Lacy Stoltz is an investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct. She is a lawyer, she is not law enforcement. It is her job to respond to complaints dealing with judicial misconduct. It is more rewarding than working for some big firm cranking out billable hours. She has been with the BJC for nine years. Long enough to know that most of the issues are due to incompetence. Maybe an alcoholic judge who likes to hide a flask in his robes and has trouble starting court before Noon. Actually I found Lacy to be an enjoyable character. Someone you could get behind and like as you were reading. She is a single career woman in a noble profession. Her mother and Aunt think she is headed towards being an old maid but Lacy doesn't care. Basically she is happy with her life.

In this story a corruption case lands on her desk. A previously disbarred lawyer, Greg Myers, is back in business with a new identity and one client. There is a large casino on Native American land that was financed by the Coast Mafia. They (the Coast Mafia) are now taking a sizable skim of each month’s cash. They also have a judge in their pocket who is getting a cut and looking the other way. A judge who has stolen more money than all other judges combined. Not just Florida. In the entire United States combined. Greg Myers, an intermediary, and the client want to collect a reward under Florida's whistle-blower law. This complaint is not the usual run of the mill complaint that Lacy is used to dealing with. This one can be dangerous. Make that deadly. There are millions of dollars involved and there may have been other murders.

One of the problems I had with this book is the way it treated the Native Americans. The chief is corrupt. The council is filled with cronies and some, if not all, are also corrupt. The remaining members of the tribe are basically sheep. Life is better since the casino was built. Better schools. Better healthcare. They each get dividend checks from the casino. So they just go along. Like sheep. There is perhaps only one member of the tribe who is someone who will not just go along to get along. I think the author had a real opportunity here to present a better portrait of Native Americans.

Overall this was an okay book to read. I will probably continue to read John Grisham books as he cranks them out. The main character, Lacy Stoltz, was enjoyable as were a couple of others. Started out a little tepid, got lukewarm, and then warmed up towards the end. Never really got hot but I borrowed it from my local library so I didn't get burned. John Grisham is still an okay storyteller. Just doesn't seem to have what he used to have anymore.
Profile Image for Kon R..
227 reviews96 followers
May 15, 2022
I chose this book as my first Grisham because of the mixed reviews. I figured if I enjoyed it, I can look forward to reading his better works afterwards. After you read someone's best, the rest of their works, while still good, can feel mediocre in comparison. I absolutely loved it, which got me excited about diving through the rest of his collection.

Grisham turns on that slow cooker early on and halfway through it's sizzling hot. I enjoyed that the author wasn't afraid to show us what was happening with opposition. I feel like too many authors stick to the main character's narrative as the only way of gathering facts about what's going on.

I don't think there was a single character I didn't like. Lacy is obviously the star of the show, but I enjoyed her brother more. He was over the top energetic and funny. He kicked Lacy's butt into overdrive when she needed it most. Even the stuffy FBI had some life to it in this book.
Profile Image for Paul.
40 reviews21 followers
December 13, 2016
Three weeks from now, I will probably have no recollection of this book and I'm ok with that.

Edit (12/13/16--2 weeks later). Very little recall. All I remember was a casino, a crooked judge and a car accident.
Profile Image for Taury.
460 reviews81 followers
January 28, 2023
The Whistler by John Grisham was a pretty good novel John Grisham attorney, bad guy corrupt judge style. There were periods it just drug out and I would lose interest for a bit. Then I would get pulled back in.
Profile Image for Judy Collins.
2,508 reviews352 followers
October 28, 2017
OUTSTANDING! 5 Stars ++ Top 50 Books of 2016!

Following John Grisham’s great intro prequel, Witness to a Trial, a perfect set up to the highly anticipated, THE WHISTLER What is not to LOVE?

First and foremost, the “King” of modern legal thrillers. Grisham is back full throttle! 29 books #1 bestsellers

Indian Casinos: Unregulated, lots of cash and plenty who want a piece of it: Treasure Key, Florida Panhandle near Pensacola

A Whistle-blower: Love them! Exposing the unethical and powerful. Always danger and intrigue. Who is The Whistler?

• Setting: State of Florida My Sunshine State

Lacy Stoltz: Age 36, Single, sexy, smart strong female investigative lead for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct

Hugo Hatch: Male investigator partner: Funny, family man, former football star, married to Verna; 4 children,

• Themes: Corruption, Murder, Bribery, Gambling, Conspiracy, Money Laundering, Racketeering/RICO; Legal, Suspense, Humor, Crime; a little Romance

Honorable Claudia McDover: Age 56, The most female corrupt judge in America

• The Coast Mafia: Always a clever name for the bad guys

• Vonn Dubose: Ubervillain Mob Kingpin Gangster

Greg Myers: Codename, "Randy." (formerly Ramsey Mix) Lawyer, ex-con, a Jimmy Buffet type who lives on a boat, with one client. Reminds me of TV Series/Amazon Trial/Goliath Billy McBride (Billy Bob Thornton).

Last, but not least: Audiobook Narrator: Cassandra Campbell: Award-winning performance! She is without a doubt my favorite narrator with a wide range of voices. Top Audio Performance of 2016. Listen PRH Audio.

From the State of Florida, the book takes us from the coast: East, west, north, south, to the Florida Keys.

Picking up from Witness to a Trial, where we saw an innocent man convicted, a murder, a corrupt judge, a casino, and tribal land, as we move to the opening of THE WHISTLER, when a complaint is filed with the Florida Board Judicial Conduct in Tallahassee, Florida.

Overseeing judicial ethics and assigned to the investigative case is Lacy Stoltz and Hugo Hatch. Lacy single, and Hugo married, they are a funny duo and friends both at work and outside work.

They are on a road trip from Tallahassee to the east coast in St. Augustine, FL to meet with the informant. He has one client, a mysterious whistle-blower. Their boss says this could be big.

However, Greg has a shady past, and they are not sure if he is on the good side, or bad. If they can trust him. He wants to meet them in a remote area near the Tappacola reservation late at night, adding to the mystery and suspense.

There is a corrupt judge and she is tied into the casino with her monthly cash bribes. Of course, they have to get the goods and all the players involved for proof. There are real estate developments, land, and golf courses tied to corruption, among off-shore holdings.

Claudia also has a partner and the two women are quite loaded and know how to travel in style (and shop). The novel, as well as the prequel, revolves around a tract of Native American land that has welcomed gambling and can operate outside the Florida law. Acting outside the law, indeed. In America, Indians don’t pay taxes on casino profits. The Tappacola didn’t want to share.

To make things more interesting, the small Tappacola tribe has welcomed a group of mobsters, known as the Coast Mafia, to indulge in unlimited development in tribal land in exchange for a share of the casino’s profits.

Of course, anytime there is corruption, bribery, and coverups, the villains have to maintain their secret. Anyone coming close to the truth, they have the need to eliminate and coverup. Hence, the identity of a whistle-blower needs to be protected.

However, Lacy and Hugo have no idea how far this corruption goes, the elaborate crime scheme and conspiracy, and the danger they are placed in- the more they dive into the investigation. They do not even carry guns. Who knew their job would be so dangerous?

There is murder, and the Native American on death row, a gangster having anyone killed who gets in the way, and a crooked judge who looks the other way, keeping her hand out for monthly cash.

A high-stakes legal crime thriller of good versus evil, with a well-developed cast of characters. We get to see the down and dirty, greedy, rich getting richer, and eliminating anyone who gets in their way. An unfair judicial system portrayed brilliantly.

When the FBI gets involved, Lacy has a little romance with one of the agents, even though she is cautious. Grisham has more female leads in this novel than usual, which was a nice change. Of course, also included female leads in: Gray Mountain, landing on my Top Books of 2014.

What a great book! I can see this one as a hot movie. Grisham takes on top topics and unravels the complex web of deceit. Wow, Claudia was cold and evil and she loved her money and power.

As a former Florida whistle-blower myself (SOX 2002), making history; the Sunshine state has their share of dirty officials, corporations, developers, and politicians, in real life as well as fiction. speaking from experience.

Lacy, the heroine is a great character, and hope we hear more from her in the future. Loved the cover, reminding me of my two years in Key Largo, where I worked and resided selling real estate at a waterfront condo hotel with a yacht club.

Grisham shines with THE WHISTLER! What interesting topics- from well-researched Indian casino operations, with all the intense legal drama and judicial corruption, and no one does it better!

Buy the audiobook Grisham/Campbell a perfect duo for The Whistler, for my Top Books of 2016 List.

Profile Image for ♥ Sandi ❣	.
1,240 reviews1 follower
June 13, 2017
Layer after layer of crime, racketeering, money laundering, murder, the syndicate, a judge on the take, an innocent man on death row and an unnamed whistle blower. Typical John Grisham novel. Then bring in an Indian reservation, the Florida Judicial Board of Conduct and the FBI as the novel ramps up. This was a who dun it that you already knew who the bad guy was - the story revolved around how the bad guy was brought to justice. Many characters in this book, along with some twists and turns.
Grisham's writing is always superb, his storytelling without fault, and this novel was no exception. However I did not become as involved in this novel as I normally would. I cannot define my reason for my lack of genuine interest in this book, because I would readily recommend this book to others, I just was not as absorbed as I normally would be. I did read Witness to a Trial, which was the prequel and really enjoyed that brief build up to The Whistler. That prequel had me primed and ready for the novel.
Giving this book 3.5 stars - which may not be generous enough, but personally I did not connect with this novel like I normally do with Grishams work.
Profile Image for Stacey.
874 reviews162 followers
October 25, 2017
I like John Grisham, BUT this one left me feeling luke warm. Don't get me wrong dirty judges and stealing money from casinos is a great idea for an exciting story and it definitely had its moments. I liked the added romance for a little sizzle, but sadly this just fizzled.
Profile Image for Biggus.
259 reviews3 followers
February 25, 2017
If you want to stay a Grisham fan (and I am one, trust me) stay away from this one. Flat characters, no empathy at all and frankly, it is boring. I gave this one 8 hours (of 13, audio book) and I just couldn't stand any more. I've read all of his books and liked them all and loved many. One or two were clunkers, but I always finished them. Not this one though. :(

Sorry John, go back to the courtroom and keep away from this stuff.
Profile Image for Bj.
1,217 reviews263 followers
November 20, 2016
4 "A Casino, Mobsters & A Corrupt Judge" Stars for the story and 4.5 Stars for the narration!

The Whistler is a tale of the perfect storm of corruption, a corruption so profound and well hidden that it lasts decades and involves an entire Native American tribe, countless of mobsters that have previously evaded law enforcement attention, numerous murders, a corrupt judge, and her attorney, as well as loads of dirty cash. Going deep into how the organization of a Native American tribe and the federal laws that allow gambling on tribe lands work, as well as, the powers of a little known governmental authority whose job it is to investigate judicial misconduct, called the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct, Mr. Grisham's spare no detail account of the inner workings of these various matters are sure to keep the listener entertained and fascinated with learning more about these interesting matters. Moreover, the listener is sure to be glued to the edge of their seat as they work out who the secret mole, or "whistler," and intermediary actually are, as well as the enormity of the grandiose corruption scheme they are blowing the cover on. Moreover, as if the story were not reason enough to listen, Cassandra Campbell's adept narration makes this a great title to experience in audio format.

It all begins with a tip as to a corrupt judge who allegedly is skimming money, along with the help of the little known Coast Mafia, from a casino on Native American land. Although RICO cases and crimes on Native American lands are within the jurisdiction of the FBI, it is Lacy Stoltz, a lawyer who works for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct, who gets the tip based on a complaint of the judicial misconduct of a Florida judge. It is the informant's goal to earn a large fee under the related whistler statute for providing a tip that leads to the recovery of money from the corruption.

However, Lacey and her partner, Hugo, are immediately presented with several quandaries. First can they believe the informant? A person who refuses to be identified and who has only reached them through an unknown intermediary and the intermediary's counsel, who goes by the very common name of "Greg Myers." Moreover, Myers fully admits that he has a criminal record and was at one point disbarred for his past transgressions. As if that wasn't sketchy enough, Myers also seems to live beyond his means and constantly on the run on his expensive boat. Can Myers be trusted? Even if he can, Lacey's normal line of work involves sanctioning judges who commit small infractions, not organized crime. When she suggests that the Myers take his complaint to the FBI, however, he absolutely refuses. Stating he will never work with the FBI. Just who is telling the truth and who is corrupt in this story? And the deeper Lacey digs the more dangerous the situation gets when it becomes clear that someone wants to silence her investigation. Can she stay safe when she has no formal law enforcement training to guide her?

Cassandra Campbell provides a talented narration that is perfectly suited for a law enforcement drama or thriller. Using expert timing, Ms. Campbell's delivery is easy to follow and allows the listener to sit back and seamlessly enjoy the story.

Ms. Campbell also expertly produces different voices for each one of the various characters allowing the listener to know who is speaking in dialogues without the need to rely on dialogue tags. She even manages to make each character's voice match the personality traits that Mr. Grisham pens for each. For example, Lacey sounds like an inquisitive, energetic, and dedicated lawyer which matches her description, whereas her partner Hugo, who has 4 young kids and is constantly described as sleep deprived, sounds appropriately tired. Even the informant sounds appropriately anxious as the corruption scheme begins to unravel and it becomes a fight to see which side will win: good or evil.

All in all, I really enjoyed listening to The Whistler. As a lawyer myself, I found the description of the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct and how the Native American tribes are organized and self-governed fascinating. I also enjoyed the fast-paced action scenes as the corruption ring slowly begins to be uncovered. Although there isn't a lot of mystery or suspense surrounding this title, it is the action and interrelationships among this wide disparate group of criminals that is the draw of this legal based thriller. It's amazing to see that after decades of great legal thrillers, Mr. Grisham is still one of the best of this genre.

Source: Review copy provided for review purposes.
Profile Image for Tooter.
403 reviews161 followers
August 14, 2019
5 Stars. IMHO, this is one of the better Grisham novels I've read.
Profile Image for C..
770 reviews102 followers
November 10, 2016
I'd say 3.5 stars. Interesting story,but other than the car accident, no tension or suspense and the ending felt rushed. Really didn't feel much for the characters, either.

I did appreciate that there were only a few scattered-mild curses.

I want to try something else by him, but am having difficulty choosing a book, as most of his stories involve elements that I avoid, such as serial killers, or abduction/abuse/harm to a child.

'Runaway Jury'- is a possibility.
Profile Image for NILTON TEIXEIRA.
786 reviews239 followers
October 24, 2021
I’m a big fan of John Grisham I love his writing style. It does not matter if the storyline is not that thrilling. He is a great storyteller.
I’m not sure how I missed this one when it was released. Perhaps the ratings were lower than expected at that time. I know that to date only two books were not my favourites, The Brethren and The Testament.
This one is not bad. It’s all about an investigation.
The first 25% was a bit boring.
I was simultaneously listening to the audiobook and the narrator did not help (at 1.0x was so slow that it almost put me to sleep - some parts I increased the speed to 1.50x and 1.75x).
The story became more interesting around 30%, but still, I did not find it that thrilling.
I’m sad to say that this work is quite forgettable.
But I do love his writing.
Profile Image for Karan Rajpal.
67 reviews3 followers
January 6, 2017
This is not only the worst John Grisham book I've ever read (and I'd like to think I've read them all), but it is a very bad book in itself. It's the kind of books publishers and editors would give their flunkies to show them how bad a book can be if they don't pay attention to their craft.

The story, the construct and characters are okay. They exist in unknown, or little known cities and towns in suburban America, a Grisham specialty in a way. They do things which the mainstream has little idea about, and hence they are mildly fascinating. But the writing, and more than that, the editing and subbing is atrocious. There are pages of telling, not showing things. There are throwaway comments, asides about characters, and asides about those asides.

One would think Grisham was the last of the genuine author+bestseller combinations available, where the large numbers of books he sold did still left him a step ahead of other mass market authors. In The Whistler, he shows how much pressure a holiday bestseller can exert on a person who's (hopefully) rich to choose and execute his books.
Profile Image for Metodi Markov.
1,269 reviews291 followers
January 8, 2023
Поредната блудкава история, излязла под марката на гадния франчайз наречен "Джон Гришам".

Слаба фабула, досадни герои (победител by far е тъпия брат на главната героиня Лейси) и посредствен стил на писане - всичко това е запазена марка на този проект през последните няколко години.

Четеше ми се нещо развлекателно, но "Таен свидетел" не предлага почти нищо на читателите си. Тотална загуба на време!
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