Saturday, July 27, 2013

Book Review: The Associate by John Grisham

The Associate
Author: John Grisham 
Released Date:  January 1st 1999
Publisher: Century

It's a deadly game of blackmail. And they're making him play.

Kyle McAvoy is one of the outstanding legal students of his generation: he's good looking, has a brilliant mind and a glittering future ahead of him. But he has a secret from his past, a secret that threatens to destroy his entire life.

One night that secret catches up with him in the form of a deeply compromising video of the incident that haunts him. Kyle realises that he no longer owns his own future - that he must do as his blackmailers tell him, or the video will be made public, with all the unpleasant consequences.

What price do they demand for Kyle's secret? It is for Kyle to take a job in New York as an associate at the largest law firm in the world. Kyle won't be working for this company, but against it - passing on the secrets of it's biggest trial to date, a dispute worth billions of dollars to the victor.

Full of twists and turns and reminiscent of The Firm, The Associate is vintage John Grisham.
*Goodreads Blurb*


The Associate is my first John Grisham read, but I did not wholly enjoy it like I thought I would.

It tells the story of Kyle McAvoy, a twenty-five year old about to graduate from Law School and plans to work for a public-interest firm. One night a man appears with an incriminating video, secretly taken by a cell phone, which reveals the details of a drunken party few years earlier. The video contains evidence that some of Kyle’s friends may have slept with a girl who may have been unconscious at the time. There’s actually nothing to incriminate Kyle except that he was in the video, drunken and nude. And that’s embarrassing. Thus begins the blackmail: in order not to release the video to the public and to stop a potential rape allegation, Kyle has to work in one of the biggest law firms in the world and steal documents related to a lawsuit between two defence contractors.

Well, the blurb says the book is reminiscent of The Firm, but I haven’t read The Firm, so I can’t compare both books. The story spans a period of ten months. The beginning and middle of the books sets up the story in a fairly slow pace, showing what the life of a first year associate is like at a big Wall Street firm. Then the ending moves in a very fast, non-stop pace. I like John Grisham’s style of writing; there wasn’t too much legal jargon, but I was pleased to learn a few. The book is mainly set in New York, but we are transported back and forth to Pittsburg and York, Pennsylvania.

I liked the main character, Kyle McAvoy, felt some sympathy for him and the grave circumstance hanging over him. Although contemplative at times, I thought he was brave to match the blackmailer’s schemes. I think he’s the only character with enough depth in the story. I liked other characters like the beautiful Dale, who wears fine dresses; Joey Bernardo, Kyle’s friend from Yale University. But I didn’t connect with them. 

My put off with this book, however, was the ending. The last pages seemed rushed and there were lots of unanswered questions. It left me with a feeling like I’d eaten a good meal, but without any water to wash it down my throat. In other words, the meal got stuck in my throat and I couldn’t digest it.

Well, because I couldn’t digest this meal, I’m giving it 3 (***) Stars.

I’ll still check out other meals in the Grisham Restaurant. I think I’ll go for the ones prepared in the early nineties.

Ps: This is my 100th post! :) Thanks to everyone who's every stopped by this blog. You rock!


  1. Happy 100! I have really enjoyed your posts. This Grisham book is new to me, but The Firm, The Rainmaker, and A Time to Kill are a few of his bests. I will say the beginning of A Time to Kill still haunts me. I love the movies too (except for The Chamber). Great description about how the read sat with you. I've had experiences like that before, but never put words to it like you. Yeah, where's the glass of water?
    I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend, Kaykay!

    1. Thanks a lot, Robyn. I'll check out the books you mentioned when next I buy books. I've seen the movie for A Time to Kill, although I didn't start it from the beginning. I loved Samuel L Jackson's performance. :)

      I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend, too.

  2. Happy 100th post! That's awesome! :D I haven't read anything Grisham, but I've heard about him every now and then. This sounds interesting though. Sorry this one didn't blow you away. Hope you enjoy the next Grisham you pick up more.:D

    1. Thank you, Sarah. Yeah, I'll go for his earlier works next. I think they're better than the recent ones.

      Have a great weekend! :)

  3. I loved Grisham as a teenager/ kid. I read most of his books about the age of 12- The firm, A time to kill and The Pelican Brief(which by d way was my favorite).

    But, I kind of like tried reading his books now, and boy it was difficult. I hate the way he decribes goons and he began to sound alike in most of his books. Esp when describing corporate New york Lawyers. I read the first few chapters of The Associate and got bored. His more recent work about a young boy called Theodore Boone (hope I got the spell right) didn't pack as much punch as I expectedm

    Kay, try - A painted House, and The king of Torts. U might like.

  4. Hi, again. Congrats on your 100th post. Thank God for the opportunities blogging has presented to us all, to show case our various talents.

    Plus, u might like Jeffery Archer

    1. Oh, thanks a lot, Funmi. I bought The Firm and a Time to Kill at a used-books bookshop today, as well as some other interesting novels. I hope to read them soon. I'll keep an eye out for other books you and Robyn recommended.

      And oh, I've read one Jeffery Archer, The Burma Legacy. 5 Stars! :)

      Have a wonderful week! :)

  5. Quite an impressive review, KayKay. Legal jargon (or any other one can think of) can be an impediment to a book. I've not read any of John Grisham's books, but I hear about him very often. Maybe sometime soon I'll have to buy one and read.

    1. And happy hundred posts to you! I'm five away from the mark.

    2. Thank you, Uzo. I hope you'll enjoy the one you read. I bought two of his early books: A Time to Kill and The Firm.

      I also wish to say Congrats to you on your 100th post. :)

  6. I agree completely with your review.I also was so DISAPOINTED in the ending....there should be a sequel to answer all the loose ends