THE ASSOCIATE by John Grisham
During Hour 21 of this year’s Fall Readathon I wrote some quick thoughts on The Associate so that I could capture them at the moment I closed the book. That was certainly the best method for this novel, as it could easily become one of the more forgettable Grisham legal thrillers. It’s not a bad story; it’s just not up to the level of suspense and intensity that I have come to expect from John Grisham. Still, I enjoyed the reading, and it was a perfect choice for such an extended period of time. The Associate won’t be one that I return to through the years, but for what it is, the book is worth a read for any Grisham fan.
The story follows a young man just out of law school who is blackmailed into joining New York City’s largest firm in order to steal confidential documents. The publisher’s own summaries wanted to paint The Associate as the next Firm, but there is really no comparison. This book’s young lawyer is not nearly as interesting as Mitch McDeere, and the story has little to no suspense when compared to The Firm. Instead, The Associate plays like a TV movie-of-the-week, although the main character isn’t quite as interesting as most TV lawyers on current series. I still wanted to see how it all ended, but I wasn’t anxious to turn the pages. I was simply comfortable in the reading and had time to do it. Had that not been the case, I wonder if I would have continued to pick it up over the course of a week or more. I’ve always said Grisham books are like comfort food for me, and The Associate can be added to that category if only because I could relax and breeze through it. Sometimes that’s all a book needs to do.