This week’s New Title Tuesday pick, The Whistler, by John Grisham, is for those seeking an end to corruption and all the wrongs in our world. It has been a couple of decades since I first read The Pelican Brief, The Client, and The Firm. Then came the many movies.
Admittedly, there’s a bit of formula to these types of legal thrillers, but Grisham literally wrote books about fighting for the underdog and ending the injustices caused by the crooked rich and powerful.
Publisher’s Summary: From John Grisham, America’s #1 bestselling author, comes the most electrifying novel of the year, a high-stakes thrill ride through the darkest corners of the Sunshine State.
We expect our judges to be honest and wise. Their integrity and impartiality are 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 orderly and efficient flow of justice.
But what happens when a judge bends the law or takes a bribe? It’s rare, but it happens.
Lacy Stoltz is an investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct. She is a lawyer, not a cop, and 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 with a new identity. He now goes by the name Greg Myers, 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 U.S. history.
What’s the source of the ill-gotten gains? It seems the judge was secretly involved with the construction of a large casino on Native American land. The Coast Mafia financed the casino and is now helping itself to a sizable skim of each month’s cash. The judge is getting a cut and looking the other way. It’s a sweet deal: Everyone is making money.
But now Greg 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. Greg files a complaint with the Board on Judicial Conduct, and the case is assigned to Lacy Stoltz, who immediately suspects that this one could be dangerous.
Dangerous is one thing. Deadly is something else.
Grisham is prolific – thirty novels and six titles in the Theodore Boone series for youth. There is no doubt that it would be more than challenging to make each one fresh and edgy. However, readers like me have a need for the bad guys to get caught sometimes, and Grisham provides that dependable cathartic source of justice.
Grisham adds a new element to the formula in The Whistler. The attorney for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct, Lacy Stoltz, is not a brittle, damaged mess that we often see in investigators. She’s a strong, independent female at the helm. The plot is fueled by other intriguing elements, a tribal casino, the Coast Mafia, the whistle-blower, and of course, crooked judges.
As Patrick Anderson wrote for The Washington Post, “The Whistler is 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. Lewis’s scathing portraits of our Main Streets, Babbitts and Elmer Gantrys won him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1930. 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 novelist critic of our society.”
Happy Reading, Susan C.
These and so many more by Grisham can be found at the O’Fallon Public Library:
Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer (for youth)