The Associate

5.5 Too little too late

Mr. Grisham has a passion to write legal stories, out of his 22 novels 17 are legal stories. He is pretty good at it. He masterfully lead us into big legal corporations: the dirty fights between firms, the exhaustive pressure on junior associates, the grill of bar exam and all the other indulgences the Big Apple are to offer.

The story told a bold blackmail story that involves billions of dollars and top secret military technology. It was a story about a promising Ivy League student who was forced to become a spy in a reputed legal firm. The arch enemy in the story was an ingenious underground operative Bennie, who was depicted as a cold blooded, fast thinking and determined. It was amazing to see how Bennie infiltrated the seeming bullet proof law firm.

However, I didn’t buy the book to learn how a law firm works. It wasn’t supposed to be a book about New York big law firms, it supposed to be a thriller that stimulate reader’s adrenaline, it supposed to grasp readers’ breath; I didn’t find that excitement until the very last few pages that described the arm wrestling between FBI and the professional criminal group. And somehow the author wanted the thrill to extend indefinitely and decided to leave many of the questions unanswered.

How did Bennie outsmart FBI? Who is the other spy Bennie has planted in the firm? Who is Bennie? Whom is he working for? Who made the video and how the video has been obtained by Bennie?

The ending was too short and not at all settling. It becomes irritating after hours of useless pondering of those questions. It further damages my sentiment to the overall evaluation of the book. It didn’t give me the urge that I got to finish it; I couldn’t put down the book! I thought many of the suspension would be realized at the end but nothing happened. Not even a thoughtful twist. The end was too plain.

The only effect the book might leave over is that many people would be thinking twice now before they hire a big legal firm. Nevertheless, the people who can afford to spend millions of dollars may hardly have the time to read this book. Or do they really care about how much they paid for his lawyer’s leisure dinner?


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