The Litigators, John Grisham

John Grisham, who really wrote

The Litigators?

(10/31/11)

I listened to the Audible.com version, thus my comments relate to both the plot
(such that it was) and the reader.

Please let me rant:

Until the big courtroom scene, I do not believe the words of this book were written by JG. I believe it was either a student’s effort at mimicry or a formulaic software program where names and scenes were tossed and spit out as a story. The story was weak and no anticipation was built into it. When David first happens into Finley & Figg, there was so much complaint about his former boss, I expected the boss to be found dead and David accused. That would have been a much better story. This mess was like a big soup pot wherein alcoholism, sexism, ageism, fat-ism, and stupid-ism were all put together to create a reason to have a trial. The trial, as expected, was an exercise in futility, but it served the purpose of trotting out beautiful, intelligent women for big corporate (read:
bad guys) to ogle and demean.

The saving grace, in the last 40 minutes of 11 hours was another fiasco. While it is all very sweet to hope for the kind of CEO we learn of at the end, it is unlikely and the results were too swift and also unlikely — the corporation “caved” under so little pressure.
As for the reader: He often sounded like Christopher Walken. It was the wrong voice for this book. Not one of Grisham’s previous recorded books ever sounded like this. I do not know if an author gets to prep the reader or even review the reading but this guy mispronounced words — specifically Chicago words. He pronounced LaSalle Street as Lasall, and the town of Des Plaines as deplanes. While that’s not a huge deal, it contributed to my dislike for the book. The fact that it was in Chicago was a little disconcerting, since I love the Mississippi novels so much, but as I live here, it’s fun to listen for landmarks and references. Those that were accurately named (not renamed as fictional) were obviously gleaned from some reference book and had not the ring of any authenticity. Tha may all
be the fault of the reader’s lack of preparation, but it mattered in the listening.Strange and inexplicable: There is a dog in the office who gets fed, but never taken OUT? There was no scene that I can recall that mentioned AC (Ambulance Chaser) getting out to do his business. A small thing, I know, but goes to making me think JG didn’t touch this text.
When David is at the BIG TRIAL, he has reams of information about a variety of other products manufactured by the defendant. We heard nothing about David’s research. Where did it come from? When did he do this? While he was walking his infant on the hourly shifts he shared with his wife? Come on!

The tying up of loose ends was fast and stupid. Finley and Figg were losers to massive degrees, but their savior, David comes in with a safety for all. When he walked in, he had money saved from his old job and he spread it around freely. Why? He didn’t believe in those two yokels, not in the firm, not in the big case. We knew he was spontaneous and crazy when we met him, but this behavior is not sensible from within the context of the book. At the end, the savior comes through again, and the two hapless idiots get to skate on in their stupid lives. David is so “good” that his one dubious move, which could have caused him some bad press and bad luck, also evaporated.

The bar scenes at Abner’s were the only times the book felt “real.” They were so good that I thought I was reading a
Lescroat/Dismas Hardy book. Overall, I am shocked by the poor quality of the story, the writing and the reader. I am glad it was offered at below regular price, so I didn’t use an Audible credit for it. Still, at $17, it was expensive.

If JG really wrote this, I must extrapolate the following:
1. He is subliminally poking fun at: poor people, fat people, drunks and “hot” women.

2. He may overtly poke big corporate greediness and unscrupulous manufacturers, but his real targets seem to be the poor and uneducated. It took David (corrosion-resistant) Zinc to swoop down on the law
firm, the poor immigrants, and the big bad capitalists, and David was not even well versed on the law and its machinations.

3. I do not have the text to refer to but at one point toward the end the author refers to a drive for one of  the lawyers as a small Asian woman of dubious ethnicity. While the word “dubious” is appropriately used, it has a negative connotation, as if the uncertainty of her ethnicity is dubious — not that the specific ethnicity was dubious. Call it nitpicking, but there are several of these plays on words that make question author’s true feelings about some people. He maligned the clients of Finley & Figg for taking the bait on Krayoxx making them seem stupid, obese-lazy and oh, stupid. They got their come-uppance in the Krayoxx trial. But the Burmese clients, with their gentle and self-effacing ways, well, they do better. They had the benevolent CEO.
4. It was a silly book. It had elements of Carl Hiaasen and elements of top-rate Grisham. It had some Jonathan Kellerman (but not enough) and it had some Dismas Hardy. David’s capacity for saving the firm and its deserving clients had a dose of Jack Reacher (of the intellectual variety); that is, his efforts were superhuman, a tad ridiculous and somewhat unsupported by reality.
So, why did I take so much time writing this? Shrug.. I expected more and got less. I am complaining. I am complaining about what I perceive is a laziness a carelessness by well-loved authors. Maybe they are contracted to put out work on a timetable. This one felt like an obligation rather than an enjoyable undertaking by one of my favorite authors. I regret that I have to wait for the next one to come out. I will wait for the reviews to hit before I invest money or anticipation in acquiring it.

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