Thursday, December 15, 2011

The LItigators - John Grisham

When I go on vacation, I always like to bring a Grisham book along.  With his formulaic plots, I feel at home no matter where my travels take me.  With The Litigators, however, I really felt like he'd not just recycled general plot structure, but actual plots themselves.  He never tires of having the main character start out at a prestigious law firm where his billable hours are through the roof and he's treated absolutely horribly by some managing partner.  In this one, the main character has had enough of it, and simply decides one day that instead of going to the office, he'll just go drink at a bar instead.  Once he's ruined his chances of making partner, he stumbles drunk in a cab and ends up at the law offices of two ambulance chasers.  He decides to join their ranks, and from that point you know he's about the hit the jackpot.  At this point, Grisham also recycles one of his favorite plots lines - that of the big-time plaintiff's attorney (featured prominently in The King of Torts).  You want the former firm guy to succeed, but you don't want him to succeed in the slimy way of these plaintiffs' attorneys who just collect clients to increase their share of the attorneys' fees but don't actually care about the people they represent.  And so Grisham's main guy has to walk a fine line.  And he does it pretty well.  I did find myself pulling for him and his pro bono representation of an immigrant family whose son is on life support after chewing on a lead-filled toy from Mexico.  At this point in his career, it does seem like Grisham is just phoning it in, piecing together his past characters and plots,  But, I still need the same kind of mindless reading when I'm on vacation, so I think I'll keep getting his latest release. 

No comments: