The Firm by John Grisham

The Firm by John Grisham

The Firm by John Grisham

 

The Firm, by John Grisham, is a cleverly plotted work of legal fiction written by John Grisham and published in 1991. It was immensely successful and was then, in 1993, made into a film with Jeanne Tripplehorn, Tom Cruise, and Gene Hackman. The Firm also spawned a television series in 2012.

This was Grisham’s second work, following A Time To Kill which was published in 1989. After The Firm’s success his first book then came to prominence and was also hugely successful, being made into a film. The film A Time To Kill starred Matthew McConaughey, Ashley Judd, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey, Kiefer Sutherland, Oliver Platt, Donald Sutherland and Patrick McGoohan.

The name of the main character, Mitchell “Mitch” McDeere, must be ingrained into the minds of all lawyers and prospective lawyers in North America and beyond and especially to tax specialists.

The novel has terrific pace and great character development as it races through its cerebral path and cat and mouse chase.

John Grisham is one of the heavyweights in the written fictional word and rightly so.

McDeeres graduated with a top degree in accountancy and then went on to graduate, third in his class, from Harvard Law School. He had two brothers, one died in Vietnam and one is in prison, a fact he would rather keep quiet.

He is married to a school teacher, Abby.

Mitch gets a superb financial offer from a law firm in Memphis, Bendini, Lambert and Locke, a small tax law firm based in Memphis. After joining he is under great pressure to study and pass the bar exam. Mitch is assigned to the maverick partner, Avery Tolar.

Shortly before McDeere starts, Marty Kozinski and Joe Hodge, two of the lawyers in the firm are killed in the Caymans Islands, in a scuba diving accident. Mitch goes to the funerals and then finds out that three other lawyers who worked for the firm also died. His suspicions are aroused and he contacts a fiend of his brother, Eddie Lomax. Lomax is a private investigator and he agrees to start working the case.

Suspicious, he hires a private investigator, Eddie Lomax, an ex-cellmate of his brother Ray, to investigate the deaths of the attorneys.

Lomax is killed, but not before he warns McDeere to be careful. He had found out that the other three lawyers had also died suspiciously.

McDeere is targeted by an FBI agent, Wayne Tarrance. He finds out that the FBI are watching the firm.

McDeere goes to Washington, D.C. on a business trip where he is informed by the FBI that the firm is a front. It looks after the financial affairs of the Chicago Morolto crime family.

McDeere’s work has been honest thus far, but the lawyers are gradually enmeshed in the criminal side of the firm including tax fraud and money laundering operation.

The lawyers, once drawn in cannot leave, if they try to then they are killed.

Mitch finds out that Kozinski and Hodge were in contact with the FBI when they were murdered.

The firm’s security chief, DeVasher, becomes suspicious that he is getting involved with the FBI.

McDeere agrees to assist the FBI in return for 2 million dollars and his brother, Ray’s release from prison. Tammy Hemphill, Lomax’s secretary, helps McDeere to copy thousands of incriminating documents at great personal risk.

A leak in the FBI leaves McDeere exposed and he escapes stealing 10 million, as he does so, from one of the firm’s Grand Cayman bank accounts.

The FBI indicts many of the present and former members of Bendini, Lambert and Locke. They also indict a large group of suspected members of the Morolto family. The charges range from money laundering to, the not so sexy, mail fraud.

Mitch, Abby and Ray then live a contented life in the Caymans, living off the money.

John Grisham is an American attorney, politician and novelist specialising in legal thrillers. In an interview on the Charlie Rose show in 2016, Grisham said that his favorite author is John le Carré. The New York Times said of the book, ‘Mr. Grisham, a criminal defense attorney, writes with such relish about the firm’s devious legal practices that his novel might be taken as a how-to manual for ambitious tax-law students.’

John Grisham is one of my favourite authors and The Firm, one of my top picks for a holiday read.

The Rooster Bar by John Grisham

The Rooster Bar by John Grisham

The Rooster Bar by John Grisham

The Rooster Bar by John Grisham.

What’s to say about John Grisham – except SUPERB! Some of my favourite books and films.

The Rooster Bar is another winner and is utterly engrossing.

It’s an ingenious novel relating to a group of third year law students Zola, Mark and Todd who spend much of their spare time in The Rooster Bar where Todd serves drinks.

They realise that they have been conned. They went heavily into debt borrowing money to pay for the courses at a poor law school where the graduates rarely pass the final bar exams and then get low grade jobs when they do.

They find out that the law school is one of a group of them owned by a dodgy hedge fund in New York who also specialise in student loans.

Deciding that they want to get their own back, they realise that there may also be a way to make some cash into the bargain.

The Rooster Club is a great novel by a fabulously inventive writer, John Grisham.

mio

The King of Torts by John Grisham

john grisham the king of torts

John Grisham The king of torts

John Grisham’s The King of Torts is, as one might expect,  a legal suspense novel which was published in 2003 and which remained in the top 15 of the New York Times Best Sellers list for more than 20 weeks having been in first place initially.

The novel centres around a lawyer, Clay Carter and what can be, the sordid world of the class action. Mr Carter doesn’t earn much working for the Office of the Public Defender, though he has high aspirations. Reluctantly, he takes on the case of Tequila Watson, a man accused of a random street killing. A random murder in Washington, D.C. sees the case of Tequila Watson pass before Mr Carter who reluctantly takes it on. He does not know why he killed Pumpkin, his friend.

However, the case is set to change Mr Carter’s life and fortunes. A shady individual, oddly named Max Pace, alerts Clay to a conspiracy that has been perpetuated by a pharmaceutical company. They have been conducting medical trials on recovering drug addicts. However, worryingly they have not obtained their consent first. Tequila was one of the unlucky ones to be part of a trial and doubly unlucky in that Tarvan, the drug, does not work in 10% of cases. Though it does not work in those few cases it has an unpleasant side effect in that it leads patients to commit random murders.

Max Pace is used by the drug company to make contact with Clay in an effort to keep a lid on their unsavoury practices and to keep victims quiet by paying them off with muchos dineros. Though Clay is concerned with the process he soon turns into a convert when he sees the vast sums of money to be made. Clay’s fortunes don’t come from winning cases but from forcing the pharmaceutical companies to settle out of court at the earliest point. He departs from the Public Defenders Office taking some colleagues and setting up his own firm.

Clay begins his slide into a murky world as Max Pace gives him insider information on other dangerous drugs that he may be able to profit from.  Clay rapidly reaches the dizzy heights among other established tort lawyers in the city. Clay’s meteoric rise, however, comes to the notice of the authorities and he is soon under investigation for such things as insider trading to name but one.

Clay’s luck rapidly changes as he is badly beaten up and hospitalised and as one of his biggest cases loses and his unhappy clients turn on him and begin to sue. Despondent, he eventually flees to England with his girlfriend, Rebecca.

Though I did enjoy the rollercoaster ride of The King of Torts novel by John Grisham it did in parts seem to lose momentum. The plot is good, the characters strong and the novel flows, but it is just not totally convincing. However, that said, it is still a great read while soaking up some rays on a tropical beach.

Buy The King of Torts now on AMAZON

The Racketeer by John Grisham

The Racketeer

The Racketeer

The Racketeer by John Grisham tell the story of the life of Federal Judge Raymond Fogletree and his sudden and mysterious death. It’s surprising that these Judges don’t run into more difficulties when considering the enormity of the cases they deal with and the, sometimes, severe sentences they have to hand down to very dangerous individuals and organisations.

John Grisham states that in the USA only four active Federal Judges had previously been murdered, someone had just increased it to five.

The Judge’s body, along with that of his young secretary had been found in his lakeside cabin in the basement. The FBI had found the bodies after being alerted to the Judges disappearance by his law clerk. The clerk had become worried when the Judge didn’t turn up for Court on the previous Monday morning. The FBI checked the crime scene and found no forced entry and no indication of a struggle. Only the bodies showed evidence of a crime and the FBI felt it was someone close who had committed it.

The storyteller did not know the Judge but he did know why he was killed and who had done killed him. The only problem, a fellow lawyer, he now languished in prison.

The Racketeer is a piece of murder, mystery fiction which has a dark Noir feel to it. As always a tense and clever plot which has strong currents flowing through it. Well worth a read. Well done Grisham!

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