Rudy Baylor is a newly-qualified lawyer: he has one case, and one case alone, to save himself from his mounting debts. His case is against a giant insurance company which could have saved a young man's life, but instead refused to pay the claim until it was too late. The settlement could be worth millions of dollars, but there is one problem: Rudy has never argued a case in court before, and he's up against the most expensive lawyers that money can buy.
Reviewed on 11th January 2010
This Grisham is a good read - it's certainly picked my interest in his novels back up again after the disappointing read that was 'The Chamber'. Baylor is, as per the Grisham cliché, a fresh out of law school lawyer, thrust into the evil scheming world of American court cases. In this case, he has to sue an Insurance company, and really it's far too easy for him.
There are some problems with this book. It flip-flaps around. The narrator (it's first person) starts off lucky for a few chapters, then gets really unlucky, then flips back to lucky, before suddenly diving back into unluckiness... and the ending is exactly the same as the end to every other Grisham legal thriller I've read. It's unbelievable. Also, Grisham is sadly deficient when it comes to writing romance - the characters meet, then nothing happens, then suddenly they are instantly in love having barely said a word to each other. I hope this is one area in which he improves, or drops.
But this book is good fun. After the somewhat slow start in which we're tempted with three different plots - and if I hadn't read the back cover blurb I wouldn't know which would be the one to take off - it turns into a bit of a romp, as the young lawyer makes fools of his enemies. It's entertaining and the story flies by. Sadly though only two of the plots are resolved, and then only one decently... it almost seems like Grisham started writing without knowing how big one of the plotlines would get, then wrote one out halfway and tried, failingly, to back out of the other.
But I want to end on a happy note, because I did enjoy this book, and it's got me back into a Grisham reading mood. I'm ready to meet the next fresh-faced newly graduated lawyer, and find out what evils he is fighting.