John Grisham is out with another legal thriller – The Litigators. This is another one of his classic small time boys versus the big legal giants. This time round, it’s a jaded legal giant associate lost it and joined a couple of ambulance chasers, in a massive mass tort pharmaceutical company, represented by his ex legal giant.
If you’ve been reading all of John Grisham’s novels (like myself), it’s kind of a mix of some of his last books; The King of Torts (about mass tort filing against a large pharmaceutical, mix with The Rainmaker (a fresh law grad against giant legal boys), mix with The Street Lawyer (a large firm associate turned into a street lawyer).
Don’t get me wrong, all these books are good individually. The Litigator doesn’t disappoint with riveting plots and twists in storylines, strong characters and keeps you guessing until the very end.
Excerpt from John Grisham’s website on the book:-
The partners at Finley & Figg—all two of them—often refer to themselves as “a boutique law firm.” Boutique, as in chic, selective, and prosperous. They are, of course, none of these things. What they are is a two-bit operation always in search of their big break, ambulance chasers who’ve been in the trenches much too long making way too little. Their specialties, so to speak, are quickie divorces and DUIs, with the occasional jackpot of an actual car wreck thrown in. After twenty plus years together, Oscar Finley and Wally Figg bicker like an old married couple but somehow continue to scratch out a half-decent living from their seedy bungalow offices in southwest Chicago.
And then change comes their way. More accurately, it stumbles in. David Zinc, a young but already burned-out attorney, walks away from his fast-track career at a fancy downtown firm, goes on a serious bender, and finds himself literally at the doorstep of our boutique firm. Once David sobers up and comes to grips with the fact that he’s suddenly unemployed, any job—even one with Finley & Figg—looks okay to him.
With their new associate on board, F&F is ready to tackle a really big case, a case that could make the partners rich without requiring them to actually practice much law. An extremely popular drug, Krayoxx, the number one cholesterol reducer for the dangerously overweight, produced by Varrick Labs, a giant pharmaceutical company with annual sales of $25 billion, has recently come under fire after several patients taking it have suffered heart attacks. Wally smells money.
A little online research confirms Wally’s suspicions—a huge plaintiffs’ firm in Florida is putting together a class action suit against Varrick. All Finley & Figg has to do is find a handful of people who have had heart attacks while taking Krayoxx, convince them to become clients, join the class action, and ride along to fame and fortune. With any luck, they won’t even have to enter a courtroom!
It almost seems too good to be true.
And it is.
Ahhh… John Grisham. If you don’t know, John Grisham is one of my favourite authors. He writes mostly legal thrillers. You might already be familiar with his work – a number of his books have been converted into the big screen; like The Firm (starring Tom Cruise), The Pelican Brief (starring Julia Roberts), The Runaway Jury (starring John Cusack) and many more.
Much of this story surrounds around the two street lawyer, Finley and Figg who were both hoping this giant mass tort pharmaceutical case will give them the riches they see happen before. The main character, David Zinc, can get a little bland as a character, compared to the other more colourful supporting characters. In many case, the unexpected, sporadic, messy, greedy character of Wally Figg can easily steal the show, if this was made into a movie.
Regardless, the chase of these inexperience boys against the large law firm of this allegedly faulty drug gets you wishing and hoping for a sudden twist of happy ending. Without giving the storyline and ending away, you should read this book – as the ending was a little unexpected for me. Maybe I was thinking and expecting too much.
Nevertheless – I give this book a 3 out of 5. It’s not John Grisham’s best work. My favourite has always been A Time To Kill, when it tackled a much more controversial topic of race segregation, lynching and injustice in a touchy subject.
Whether you’re a Grisham fan or if you just plain like legal thrillers, this is still a good read. I’m a little worried about Grisham coming up with more fresher materials in future, if he continues to write more legal thrillers. This book is quite a good example of him somehow recycling old characters and plots. Not his best work.