Book Review: The Associate by John Grisham

038551783101_sx140_sclzzzzzzz_My husband and I are long-time John Grisham fans.  To be honest there have been a couple that we weren’t very fond of, but not this one. This book is Very Good. We both agree. The fun thing about liking the same author is that it gives us a chance to thoroughly discuss the book and thus prolong the pleasure. Today I’m going to let you in on our discussion. But first let me give you the summary of the book.

Kyle McAvoy, a callow Yale Law School student, dreams of a public service gig on graduation, until shadowy figures blackmail him with a videotape that could revive a five-year-old rape accusation. Instead of helping those in need, McAvoy accepts a position at a huge Wall Street firm, Scully & Pershing, whose clients include a military contractor enmeshed in a $800 billion lawsuit concerning a newly-designed aircraft. McAvoy can avoid exposure of his past if he feeds his new masters inside information on the case.” – from Publisher’s Weekly.

Jay and I could probably discuss this book  for hours. I didn’t think you’d stay with me that long so, I’m going to pick out just three of our discussion points and share our answers.

What do you think of the main character, Kyle McAvoy? Any other characters that stand out?

  • Jay: Kyle was interesting although not unique. He had a secret that could hurt him but it wasn’t exactly true. It’s like the idea that your hidden fears are greater than they really are. He got himself in a box and had to bale himself out. The character I was disappointed in was the dad. He should have figure out what was wrong with Kyle when he didn’t go into public service law. 
  • Margot: There was no doubt that Kyle was smart and clever. The dark secret from his past was stupid but then most college kids do stupid things. I thought that being smart and clever was the key to the rest of the story. His plan to outwit the blackmailer was something I didn’t see happening. I thought he might end up calling on his dad. There were other characters I also liked: the female lawyer, the dad and the lawyer Kyle finally uses to help him. 

What about the plot – believable, fast-paced enough, too complicated, etc.?

  • Jay:  It was a pretty good plot – a tradional Grisham: big distain for lawywers, corporations, etc. [He must have really been burned at some point in his career.] For my taste it could have been a little more complicated – make me guess a little more. The only part that was unbelieveable was that the law firm would add first year lawyers to work on a billion dollar super-secret case. A major flaw was the character of Baxter and the preacher. It was a distraction when he didn’t get involved in the plot.
  • Margot: For me it was a simple plot that kept moving. Most of it was believable. I could see a major law firm being so competitive and secretive and working the new associates like dogs. What I didn’t like was the ending. Overall, the ending was believable but they left some things just dangling. 

How does this book compare to some of Grisham’s other books?

  • Jay: It’s up to standard with the good ones. I probably think this way because there is more of John Grisham in this book. I’d put this book and The Runaway Jury on your list of best Grisham books.
  • Margot: My favorite Grisham’s are The Firm, Pelican Brief and The Brethran. This one might come in fourth. If you look at his list of books, in order of publication, the first eleven are great. Then he went off in a different direction for a while. Now, with this one, he’s back with what he does best – good legal thrillers. I hope he can do some more of these.

The Associate by John Grisham was published by Doubleday, 2009. If you have reviewed this book, let me know. I’ll be glad to post a link with this review.

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20 Responses to Book Review: The Associate by John Grisham

  1. Kathy says:

    What a fun review. I’ve got this book, but I’m letting my dad read it first.

  2. Cerrin says:

    wow I am going to have to read this before you get here so I can join in on the discussion.

  3. How nice that Jay is a willing participant in your book blogging adventures!

  4. stacybuckeye says:

    What a fun idea! I like it 🙂 I’ve got this one here, waiting to be read.

  5. Beth F says:

    What a great post! Terrific idea — another version of the joint review!

  6. FleurFisher says:

    Margot, it’s lovely to think of you and your husband reading together. My fiancé only reads non fiction and mainly military history and travel so we read together but very different books. He also enjoyed the Steinbeck book you recommended a few weeks ago – thank you!

  7. Wendi B says:

    What fun (and a great review)! I’ve been trying to find a book that both my husband and I might enjoy so we could talk about it. . . this might be a great one to do. 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by Thingers last week! I’ve got the post up for this week, have you seen the new customizable widgets on LT? ~ Wendi

  8. BooksPlease says:

    There are just a few authors that both my husband and I read – John Grisham is one of them – Ian Rankin and Ian McEwan are two more. We haven’t read this one – is it new?

  9. Kaye says:

    I agree with Jay on The Runaway Jury. I still think that is one of his best books. Great discussion! You should do this more.

  10. Krakovianka says:

    I JUST managed to get hold of a copy of The Appeal and read it, and I was congratulating myself on being up-to-date with my Grisham reading. This post is the first indication I had that he’s published another one.

    Well, when the chance comes, I will read it. I read them all. 🙂

  11. Pingback: Saturday Review of Books: April 11, 2009 at Semicolon

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  13. apdinesh says:

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  14. Biil D says:

    Thanks for your reviews I just finished the book and very much enjoyed it the whole while thinking I can’t wait to see the movie version and who will play the main parts? The problem I also had was the ending whick left me disapointed.

    It seems Mr Grisham could even do a sequal with all the characters and loose ends brought together HINT HINT MR G.

  15. Lisa V says:

    This was my first John Grisham book and I loved it.

    Fantastic review – I have a couple of extra thoughts that I would be interested in your opinion on (if your interested?)

    I loved the story, and most of the characters were well presented, like you, I feel Baxter and the minister was a distraction, I think something happening to Joey may have had a bigger impace on the reader, especially as I would have considered him the key perpertrator in the video, and he had a far better backs story than Baxter.

    Also, I felt that the father going to the lawer and making a settlement was highly unbelievable, given the way the female lawyer was shown to be very pro-women and her apparent concern for and closeness to Elaine, no way would she have settled at 10k per year when she knew what Kyle earnt and the apparent damage the incident did to the girl.

    Finally, like you, I found the end left too many questions unanswered and at one point I thought that maybe it had all been an elaborate plot by Elaine to get money from the boys given the timing of the financial agreement and the disappearance of Bennie which would have been an intriguing plot…if a little out there for the book.

    Overall though thoroughly enjoyed it, couldnt put it down!! Going to try The Last Juror next.

  16. I always love the novels of John Grisham, they are full of suspense and surprises :

  17. All of the novels of John Grisham are very good, i love all the stories ~’`

  18. Jim Miller says:

    Just this minute finished the book. Loved it all the way through until the end. It’s like I just finished a delicious meal, but left the table still hungry. I’m a big fan of Grisham’s and enjoyed this book. as someone mentioned above, there’s lots of room for a sequel. As for the Baxter subplot, believable, but a bit over the top. No real need for so much of Manny and the recovery; almost filler.

    As well, I didn’t think that Kyle needed to give up so much during the last Scully meeting. He could have bargained with them because of the ‘Mole’.

    Thanks for the opp to post my thoughts,


  19. Christian says:

    I sort of found your site by accident, but your website captured my eye i thought that I would post to show you that I like it.

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