Top positive review
Another creative legal thriller, from a master storyteller
Reviewed in the United States on October 19, 2021
This legal thriller from John Grisham follows Lacy Stoltz, a character from a previous book called The Whistler, as she works on a new case. Lacy works for the Florida Board of Judicial Conduct (BJC), and investigates corrupt judges. This book takes places three years after the events of The Whistler, and Lacy is getting bored with her job. Things get a little more interesting when she meets Jeri, a woman who is convinced that there is a judge in Lacy's jurisdiction that has murdered several people. Now all they need is some proof...
The book has 46 main chapters, and a total of about 356 pages of story in the digital version.
I haven't read The Whistler yet, but this book works as a stand alone story and you don't need to have read The Whistler to enjoy this book. There are some references to things that happened in that previous story, but they are all explained well and aren't vital to the plot of this book.
This thriller is a bit different than most, as it starts out right away in the first chapter with Jeri already believing that she knows who the killer is, but the problem is getting enough proof to bring him to justice. Since the man that she has been watching is a judge, he knows the legal system well and knows what to do to avoid detection. What follows is an intriguing game of cat and mouse, with some tense moments and unsettling details.
The story changes perspectives a few times, so you get to see the point of view of different characters, including a killer. The chapters are just numbered, not named after the character that you are following, so you have to pay attention. I prefer this style, as it is more of a surprise when you jump to a different character.
Grisham really develops the characters in this story, as you learn about the protagonist's work life, as well as their interpersonal relationships. This makes sense, as it seems like the plan was to use the characters in multiple books.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. The beginning of the story is really an attention-grabber, and even though there were slower paced parts that dealt with character relationships, there was always enough mystery and action to keep me reading. The ending wasn't the most surprising, and even though I had a good idea where it was going, I actually wasn't very disappointed in the execution. I might have preferred a slightly different conclusion, but I still appreciated how the loose ends were wrapped up. It is almost more about the journey than the destination with this one. The way Grisham writes the motivations of a killer, and makes it seem believable, is always unsettling.