By John Grisham
Another fastpaced courtroom thriller by the unchallenged master of the genre, Grisham, this one deals with the sudden career crisis faced by David Finch, who is employed by one of the leading legal firms in the country Rogan Rothberg. One fine morning, FInch has an epiphany of sorts and escapes the firm, metaphorically speaking, spends the day at a bar getting totally toasted, and winds up at the office of Finley & Figg, who are nothing more than lawyers at the bottom of the lawyer food chain. Finch decides to join them as an associate, a decision his wife Helen is wary about, but decides to support.
Parallel to this is the brainwave of one of the associates to sue a giant manufacturing firm for one of their anti cholesterol drugs which they believe is responsible for heart damage and eventual death of those who take them. Sadly though, their case isn’t well researched and they flounder into situation after situation, when up against the well prepared lawyers hired by the third-largest pharmaceutical company in the world they’re up against. There is an interesting subplot about lead poisoning of a child thanks to vampire teeth toys which have been painted with toxic paint, which adds the tearjerker element to the plot.
This book stands apart from the Grisham novels one has read before with a sudden lighthearted touch. The characters are etched out delicately, with an underlying empathy for the situations each of them find themselves in, the courtroom drama is not as tautly paced as it in his previous novels, but the focus of this novel, though on the case is also about the lives of the lawyers involved in this case, how their lives unravel or come together as the case might be as the trial progresses.
The book takes a dispassionate look at the herd mentality of the mass tort lawyers and their penchant to jump onto a possible bangwagon without properly assessing whether they have a case on their hands. And sprinkled into this novel are some genuine laugh out loud moments which make you do a double check as to whether it is truly a Grisham at hand.
Definitely a read. But not, I would say, among those books you would remember Grisham by.