The Street Lawyer
Michael was scrambling up the ladder at Drake & Sweeney, a giant D. C. firm with 800 lawyers. The money was good and getting better; a partnership was three years away. He was a rising star, with no time to waste, no time to stop, no time to toss a few coins into the cups of panhandlers, no time to walk around them on the sidewalk, and no time for a conscience. But a violent encounter with a homeless man stopped him cold. Michael survived; his assailant did not. Who was this homeless man? Michael did some digging and learned that he was a mentally ill veteran who'd been in and out of shelters for twenty years. Then, Michael dug a little deeper, and found a dirty secret, and the secret involved Drake & Sweeney.
Reviewed on 14th September 2010
Grisham has returned to his standard pattern of story. Young lawyer becomes dissatisfied with his job at big firm. Leaves, sues them. Even the ending fits the normal plot.
Michael's life is changed when a homeless man storms his office and takes him hostage, and decides to switch his focus from earning money to helping people on the streets. The other characters seem to have been plucked from the Grisham plot of stock characters.
This book is a bit of a slow burner, with little in the way of action (of the courtroom variety) until the very end. It takes a long time setting up the character and situation before he starts to get moving. Even then, the plot chugs slowly on and doesn't pick up until the final couple of chapters.
What makes this book more interesting than previous Grisham novels though is that there is very little in the way of law involved. It's a lot more about people and highlighting the plight of the homeless. This is does very well, with various scenes and locations intricately described to give the reader an idea of what Michael is seeing.
I enjoyed reading this one, despite its speed and the conclusion being over a little quickly. The tidying up of loose ends at the end also left me a little unsatisfied.