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5.0 out of 5 stars A career's beginning for a young lawyer in trouble
Lately, or at least in the latest books I've read, Grisham likes to leave an open ending, highlighting how it is by no means the most important part of his novels. It is not for the possible ending, in fact, that I found myself compelled to read "The Associate" in a few days, continuing to turn the pages, even in the most absurd hours just to go ahead and waiting...
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Compares Poorly to The Firm
The Associate is further evidence that John Grisham's best legal thriller writing was in his early days. From the concept for the plot to the character development to the ending, this novel shouldn't get past the defense's request for summary judgment to dismiss the book without offering a defense of the request.

If you haven't already read The Firm, The...
Published on Jan. 31 2009 by Donald Mitchell


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Compares Poorly to The Firm, Jan. 31 2009
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(#1 HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Associate (Hardcover)
The Associate is further evidence that John Grisham's best legal thriller writing was in his early days. From the concept for the plot to the character development to the ending, this novel shouldn't get past the defense's request for summary judgment to dismiss the book without offering a defense of the request.

If you haven't already read The Firm, The Associate would almost come up to average level. I'm sure you have read The Firm (probably one reason why you picked up The Associate), and in every aspect of The Associate you'll wish you were reading The Firm.

Don't judge the book by its first 57 pages. Those pages are vivid, interesting, compelling, and will get your heart pumping. After that, it's all downhill . . . a long way down.

So what's it all about?

Kyle McAvoy is a third-year student at Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut where he's the star of the show as editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Review. Having grown up in Erie, Pennsylvania where his father runs a "serve-the-people" practice rather than a "take-the-peoples'-money" practice, McAvoy is planning to take a job as a poverty lawyer for 2-3 years.

Fate intervenes while McAvoy is coaching a youth league basketball game. The FBI wants to talk to McAvoy. Before the night is over, a series of events begin to unfold that make McAvoy a pawn in a game so big he cannot even imagine who the players might be. It's all tied up with a moment he would rather forget, even though he doesn't remember much about the moment through the mists of time and drunkenness.

As a result, McAvoy joins one of the nation's largest and highest paid firms, Scully & Pershing, as a litigation associate. Once there, he's abused, overworked, and bored to death like everyone else chasing the plum of a partnership. McAvoy has another boss, the mysterious Bennie who wants secrets from the firm . . . and will seemingly stop at nothing to get those secrets.

Can McAvoy do what's right and escape the clutches of Bennie? That's the primary suspense in the story.

Don't read any further if you think you might want to read the book. Let's start with the plot's premise in explaining the book's weaknesses. I could not imagine someone with McAvoy's legal background and status knuckling under to this kind of blackmail without getting help from professors and a father who is a lawyer. If McAvoy had asked for help, the plot would never have developed.

From there, the blackmail activity puts enormous resources into influencing one law student. That makes no sense. There had to be easier ways to steal the information. I've been in many of New York's largest law offices after hours, and the security wouldn't be hard to overcome.

The side plot of a college rape doesn't add anything to the story other than to make it disgusting to read. Surely, Mr. Grisham could have thought of something else to blackmail McAvoy for that wouldn't leave such a bad taste in the reader's mouth.

On the character side, I didn't find myself rooting very much for McAvoy. And the other characters weren't particularly sympathetic either except for Baxter Tate, just before he was murdered. The character development was modest at best. The only character which came alive for me as a person was McAvoy's father.

Let's face it. Large law firms are indescribably dull unless you happen to be assigned an interesting question to research. There's a reason for that. Young associates don't know enough about the law to do very many people any good, but they can do a lot of harm. Picking such a firm for the story gave Mr. Grisham a target to criticize . . . but not much of interest to write about. Based on my experiences with top New York lawyers and the associates who carry their brief cases around, the criticisms rang more hollow than true.

Having McAvoy play cat-and-mouse with Bennie and his merry men did provide a little amusement, but to me it just stretched out the story to little purpose.

The ending just felt like the book contract required that so many pages be written and that Mr. Grisham wanted to wrap it all up quickly. Obviously one of the partners was playing ball with Bennie . . . but why . . . and what did they hope to accomplish by involving McAvoy?

I suppose that I'm supposed to riddle over that set of questions (like The Lady or the Tiger?). I didn't riddle a bit because I didn't care who did what.

I think I'll wait to look at a few reviews in the future before I read any of Mr. Grisham's future legal thrillers.

Your Tags: john grisham, legal thriller, suspense, mystery, blackmail, rape, yale law school, espionage
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5.0 out of 5 stars A career's beginning for a young lawyer in trouble, July 9 2014
This review is from: The Associate (Kindle Edition)
Lately, or at least in the latest books I've read, Grisham likes to leave an open ending, highlighting how it is by no means the most important part of his novels. It is not for the possible ending, in fact, that I found myself compelled to read "The Associate" in a few days, continuing to turn the pages, even in the most absurd hours just to go ahead and waiting with anticipation for the time when I could take the book in my hands.
It was what's inside the book, the details of the story, to keep me glued.
This time the author describes as a young graduate in law finds himself working in a large studio in New York, where the watchword is only one: billing. There is no form of protection for young lawyers, who are almost enslaved and taken every ounce of energy just to bill as much as possible in the hope of having a future in that study.
Getting in touch with this "underground" world, you are left to imagine why these people are extremely unlikely to have a decent social life and you cannot remain unimpressed, even if you only try to compare it with what happens in Italy. In my country, because of our mentality, which is very different from the American one, nothing like that could happen.
And it is precisely for this reason that, as always, Grisham's stories fascinate me: the extreme remoteness from the reality in which I live, because they open a window on what seems like a different planet. In narrating yet another "legal" story the author shows you real people, to whom it is impossible not to become attached.
Unlike other "choral" novels, here you have a well-defined protagonist, who is in a situation seemingly without a way out (he is, in fact, blackmailed), and you follow his troubles trying to picture how he could get out from them. Before all this, the ending of the story is just a background and you cannot but appreciate the skill of the author in getting you involved page by page, so that you are sad when you get to the last page.
Grisham is confirmed with this book as one of the greatest storytellers of our time, capable to go beyond the genre, in which apparently he fits (legal-thriller), to give us so intense stories as to seem terribly real and from which you always have something to learn.

Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli, author of Red Desert - Point of No Return
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2.0 out of 5 stars Like a good sexual buildup, but fails at orgasm.., Sept. 10 2012
By 
F. Khan (Toronto, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Associate: A Novel (Paperback)
Seriously, I was not expecting such an unresolved ending by Grisham. My first thought was there must be a sequel. Or that Grisham was testing alternative styles of ending and this is his first such project. Needless to say, if this was a first book by Grisham it would have been an epic fail. The triumph of good over evil is a staple ending of all crime and legal thrillers and is what drives the reader's 8-hour journey through the writer's created world. Unfortunately, The Associate is a noir which leaves the protagonist without hope, and the reader without closure.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Only half a book?, May 22 2012
This review is from: The Associate: A Novel (Paperback)
I agree with just about everything that has been written here ... first off the plot and the whole premise of the blackmail was a stretch to put it mildly. Even after I decided to push through and 'forgive' that I found myself questioning every plot twist with "yeah but why doesn't he just go get help" or something similar. Worst of all though was the lack of reward for pushing through to the end - it honestly feels as one reviewer already wrote, as if J.G. was contracted for x number of pages and just stopped once he got there. So many plot lines left mid stream .... avoid.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Latest Grisham Lawyer thriller, March 16 2009
By 
Linda Hutchinson "Some people try to turn bac... (Aurora, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Associate (Hardcover)
This is not Grisham's best.. it's still very good but doesn't have the "can't set it down" quality that some of his have. Still a very good read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Easy to put it down!, April 9 2009
By 
Joozer Karimjee "Joozer Karimjee" (Brampton, ON. Canada.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Associate (Hardcover)
Very dissapointed. Nothing like John's earlier titles. I am half wondering if its the same author. The plot is interesting in which a bunch of bad guys are asking Kyle to spy information from a legal firm. The bad guys are supposedly hi-tech, very well organised and extremely smart - makes you wonder why they would want an Associate to spy for them, then?! Kyle is forced to spy based on some flimsy video, which I did not think it was very damaging to Kyle. I have ready 75% of the book and am NOT looking forward to finishing the remaining 25%.

I am first going to read reviews before I buy any of John's next book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Grisham's best, March 29 2011
By 
Toni Osborne "The Way I See It" (Montreal, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Associate: A Novel (Paperback)
Grisham's best known trademark is his ability to write mesmerizing legal thrillers. With a political overtone to his one, he has brought us another story that is absorbing enough to keep readers attention. If you liked "The Pelican Brief" and "The Firm", you may want to read this one.

The hero is Kyle McAvoy, onetime editor of the Yale Law Journal, whose post-graduation plans were to work as a legal-aid representing illegal migrant workers. His dream is chattered when he is visited by Bennie Wright, a sinister fellow who has discovered a skeleton in Kyle's closet: a video of Kyle's fraternity brothers, gang raping a girl in his apartment while he watched on. Bennie threatens to make it public and destroy Kyle's legal career if he doesn't accept a job at the prestigious law firm of Scully& Pershing. He needs Kyle inside the firm to obtain confidential information and documents regarding a law suit against two defense industries.

We have two main themes playing throughout the novel that criss-cross each other, first the novel highlights the extreme pressure of being an associate in a powerful firm where it is expected two work limitless billable hours in order to artificially inflate their customers bill. The other is Kyle's reluctant role as Bennie's in house spy.

The author usually writes intricate plots that have his readers flipping page after page. This novel started in the same manner but for some reason mid-way, the storyline fizzled and the pacing began to bog down. Although not unique, Kyle's character is interesting and rather smart. I particularly liked his clever plan to outwit Bennie; it provided some unpredictability and helped maintain my attention. As for the supporting characters, most were rather dull and some I would even consider a distraction to the main plot. I felt Grisham ran out steam towards the end, this has left me with a so so memory of the novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story, but unfinished, Nov. 15 2010
By 
David Huntley - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Associate: A Novel (Paperback)
I found this to be a great thriller, not up to The Firm, but better than some other Grisham novels. I had much difficulty putting it down, and I did so only twice - for dinner and for sleep. It falls flat at the end, as though Grisham had come to his quota of pages or run out of ideas. Too bad. I gave it 4 stars to offset some of the 1 star reviews.
This review is of the 2009 hard cover edition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, not great but an enjoyable read and escape!, Nov. 6 2009
By 
David W. Wildeboer (Lacombe, Alberta Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Associate: A Novel (Paperback)
I just finished reading The Associate. It's a wonderful Grisham legal thriller. I found it hard to put down and finished the last 2/3rds in one sitting tonight. I had an inkling of what would happen to Kyle McAvoy but overall the ending and the events preceding it caught me off-guard. In fact, this is a Grisham book that frankly cries out for a sequel. What happens next? I want to know and likely so do many other readers.

I won't go into the plot and characters. Other reviewers have done it but I don't want to spoil the story. Suffice to say, it is crafted a lot like many of Grisham's other legal thrillers, but hey, it works! I was engrossed and if I hadn't needed sleep and to work, I probably would have read the whole book in one sitting. No, it isn't The Firm, but then, that's a classic - and if you haven't read the novel but seen the movie, read the novel as it's much better.

I rounded up on my rating - I'd give it a 3.5. The characters could use a little more fleshing out, especially some of the secondary ones. Some of the plotting too could use a little more exposition but then, my favorite author is Tom Clancy so I'm spoiled with details. Overall though, I found this a much better novel than other reviewers have. Give it a chance!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Truly Awful, Aug. 1 2009
By 
Wes Lau (Markhma, ON, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Associate (Hardcover)
PLEASE DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME with this book!

The book is slow-paced, uninteresting, and flaccid. A deplorable excuse for suspense and literature.

In all honesty, I cannot even begin to understand the individual who rated this book five-stars and said (s)he couldn't put it down. If anything, I beg of you, from one literate person to another, NEVER pick up this book.

It is a shame that John Grisham relied so heavily on the success of his other books to carry him. The only reason this book got published is simply because of his past works. This book is horrid in every sense. The character development is non-existent, the plot is desperately unfocused an full of filler, and the conclusion (it hurts me to even call it a conclusion) is pathetic. It has nothing to do with the conclusion being cliche or nonsensical. It has everything to do with John Grisham getting bored of his own book (I don't blame him; actually, I do, because the book horrendous) and whipping up a limp conclusion in five minutes just to finish the book. There is zero closure.

If you see the book at bookstores, you'll notice that it doesn't read "#1 Bestseller" on the cover and nowhere in the book or on the jacket are there any reviews for the book. Why? Because all critics probably agreed that this book is perhaps one of the greatest crimes committed to the literary world.

If you have money to spend, buy the book and burn it to save others from the pain of reading this pathetic stack of paper.
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The Associate: A Novel
The Associate: A Novel by John Grisham (Paperback - Sept. 22 2009)
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