John Grisham is one of America's most celebrated writers. From A Time to Kill to the present his books have all been best sellers and have been made into extremely popular movies. His fans have stuck with him even when he seemed to be losing his writing edge, as some of his latest books indicated. Although his legal thrillers were his most popular books his writings have verged off into Christmas tales, or stories about baseball players or young sleuths.
Now comes The Litigators, the book that takes us back to the Grisham of old. It is a legal thriller that entertains and amuses. Grisham is not known for being a writer of humor but some scenes in The Litigators are laugh out loud hilarious.
The plot concerns a young lawyer named Daniel Zinc who works for a prestigious law firm. As the book opens Daniel is on his way to work. His feet are leaden and his body is tired. With each step he realizes just how much he hates his job. He hates the overlong hours he has to work. He hates he never gets a chance to see his wife. In short hating his job makes him hate his life.
When he takes the elevator to one of the top floors in the building where he works he realizes he just can't do this anymore. He leaps back into the elevator and makes his escape. As the elevator descends his spirits rise. He flees the building and ends up in a bar where he tries to sort out his future between drinks.
Eventually he ends up by chance at the doors of "Finley and Figg," a "Boutique" law firm, which is a glorified way of saying they chase ambulances. David settles in with these two guys and tries to resurrect some of their cases. Eventually Wally Figg gets a lead on a drug that has harmful side effects. He is sure this is their ticket to easy street, and David goes along for the ride.
The rest of the book is centered around this case and how it affects all three men. It is a fascinating look at a side of practicing law you rarely see. This is not a book about powerful people but rather about the little guys who are just trying to survive.
John Grisham takes you inside this world and gives you a full tour. It is a fascinating trip and one he describes with relish. Wally and his partner Oscar are polar opposites of David but somehow there is a common ground where they meet. Reading about this "marriage" of opposites is truly enjoyable.
John Grisham has been around now for quite some time. The Litigators is proof positive he is not getting older; he is getting better.
The Litigators is published by Doubleday Publishing. It contains 400 pages and sells for $28.95