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The Whistler: A Novel Paperback – July 11, 2017
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We expect our judges to be honest and wise. Their integrity is the bedrock of the entire judicial system. We trust them to ensure fair trials, to protect the rights of all litigants, to punish those who do wrong, and to oversee the flow of justice. But what happens when a judge bends the law or takes a bribe?
Lacy Stoltz is an investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct. It is her job to respond to complaints dealing with judicial misconduct. After nine years with the Board, she knows that most problems are caused by incompetence, not corruption.
But a corruption case eventually crosses her desk. A previously disbarred lawyer is back in business, and he claims to know of a Florida judge who has stolen more money than all other crooked judges combined. And not just crooked judges in Florida. All judges, from all states, and throughout United States history. And now he wants to put a stop to it. His only client is a person who knows the truth and wants to blow the whistle and collect millions under Florida law. When the case is assigned to Lacy, she immediately suspects that this one could be dangerous. Dangerous is one thing. Deadly is something else.
Look for John Grisham’s new novel, The Judge’s List!
“[A] main character [who’s] a seriously appealing woman . . . a whistle-blower who secretly calls attention to corruption . . . a strong and frightening sense of place . . . [John Grisham’s] on his game.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“[John Grisham is] our guide to the byways and backwaters of our legal system, superb in particular at ferreting out its vulnerabilities and dramatizing their abuse in gripping style.”—USA Today
“Riveting . . . an elaborate conspiracy.”—The New York Times Book Review
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“A main character who’s a seriously appealing woman . . . a whistle-blower who secretly calls attention to corruption . . . a strong and frightening sense of place . . . Grisham’s on his game.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“A fascinating look at judicial corruption . . . an entirely convincing story and one of Grisham’s best. I can’t think of another major American novelist since Sinclair Lewis who has so effectively targeted social and political ills in our society. In Grisham’s case, it is time at least to recognize that at his best he is not simply the author of entertaining legal thrillers but an important novelistic critic of our society. In more than 30 novels, he has often used his exceptional storytelling skills to take a hard look at injustice and corruption in the legal world and in our society as a whole.”—Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post
“Grisham's latest involves the rich and powerful and an abuse of the justice system. Grisham novels are crowd-pleasers because he knows how to satisfy readers who want to see injustice crushed, and justice truly prevails for those who cannot buy influence.”—Associated Press
“Grisham has become an institution. For more than 25 years now he’s been our guide to the byways and backwaters of our legal system, superb in particular at ferreting out its vulnerabilities and dramatizing their abuse in gripping style. He excels at describing injustice and corruption. Grisham’s legal knowledge is impressive, and his ability to convey it unparalleled in popular fiction.”—USA Today
About the Author
- Publisher : Anchor; Reprint edition (July 11, 2017)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 432 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1101967676
- ISBN-13 : 978-1101967676
- Lexile measure : 840L
- Item Weight : 12 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.22 x 0.87 x 7.97 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Top reviews from the United States
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* some spoilers
The plot is laid out early in the book - there is a corrupt judge colluding with some thugs to skim money at an Indian casino. To expose the corruption, there are a few individuals trying to blow the whistle on the judge to collect cash under the whistle-blower statutes. The whistle-blowers submit a complaint to the agency that investigates rogue judges and an investigation begins. These facts are known early on. The problem is - that's the entire plot. There are no twists or turns it goes in a fairly straight line from corruption complaint to indictments with few surprises along the way. There is also a huge loose end as we never find out what happens to one of the characters who was falsely imprisoned for murders he did not commit. Since this character is a main focus in the prequel, the failure to tie up that loose end is irritating.
All in all - it is just an uneven effort. A disappointing novel from an author from whom we all expect better.
This novel made me realize how deeply I have been affected by Fairytales and “happy ever after” stories. I was not prepared for the unexpected. I followed the story line thinking that this would be a smooth run since the lead-off investigators were not the type to encounter violent confrontations. But just as I was becoming settled in my comfort zone of expecting a non-violent outcome to judicial misconduct a tragic upheaval put a sudden end to my fairytale expectations.
In “The Whistler” John Grisham keeps us in the dark and in suspense about a secret whistleblower who wants to expose an intricate scheme of casino skimming and money laundering, orchestrated by a mafia don with help from a corrupt judge.
This story generates tremendous interest in challenging the conventional Wisdom that good always overcomes evil. It raises doubt as to whether it is worth the fight at great loss of lives and suffering. Grisham invites us to watch a “David versus Goliath” duel. Can the grossly underdog, the Whistler and collaborators, outmatch the enormous power of an elusive mafia Don and his team? Can the Whistler and team remain invisible long enough see the dismantling of the Don’s empire?
This is one fight that had me hyperventilating and sweating from beginning to end. It started out as a cerebral “Shylock Holmes” venture but along the way it picked up visceral elements. It was a good mixture of pathos, friendship and romance. I throughly enjoyed reading a different type of legal thriller coming from John Grisham. It’s a beautiful non-fairytale novel.
Don’t get me wrong. I still love Fairytales and the “Happy Ever After Stories”. That will not change. However, in future I will be open to reality: things do go wrong, the best of us do die(tragically too soon), the most perfect plans do go awry in execution. The one lesson I take from this: read with an open mind and do not be ambushed by unexpected turn of events. I will surrender to the story line.
Top reviews from other countries
The background is a casino built on Indian land in Florida. It massively enriches the Tappacola tribe whose land it occupies, but it enriches further still the ruthless and violent crime organisation – the Coast Mafia – that is working in the shadows of the background. Nor does that Mafia, or its puppets in the Native American tribe, stop at the Casino: golf courses, housing and entertainment developments follow, all of them delivering huge revenues in well-laundered money to the criminals behind them.
One of the associates of this criminal endeavour is a judge who has been delivering judgements that the gang needs, in turn for a generous share of the proceeds. They include the case Grisham describes in the prequel to this novel, ‘Witness to a Trial: a Short Story Prequel to The Whistler’, in which a Tappacola opponent to the casino is murdered and his associate is framed for the crime.
The novel starts with the matter of the judge. An anonymous tipoff, ultimately from a mysterious whistle-blowing mole who gives the novel its title, is received by the Board of Judicial Conduct. Lacy Stolz, the protagonist, has been assigned the case and we begin to follow her investigation from page 1.
Of course, there is far more than judicial misconduct at stake. Behind that single offence lies a whole criminal conspiracy. And it’s violent.
Grisham takes us into that world in a thoroughly gripping series of events. There are enough bodies on the way for us to believe it possible that they may ultimately include the people with whom we sympathise the most. So will the novel end with the gangsters coming out on top and our protagonists dead? Or, on the contrary, will the criminals be unmasked, arrested and punished?
You want to know? You’ll have to read the book. But don’t worry: you should be highly entertained on the way.
Like Camino Island this feels like a man going through the motions [to meet a deadline or a contractual obligation?], because while he's not run out of ideas he has run out of steam.
Read only if you are John Grisham completist.
The characters are well formed and inter-links in the storyline are well through out, as with his other novels. An enjoyable read that was good but not perfect.
I'd recommend this to others, particularly if you are a John Grisham fan.