About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Associate by John Grisham

10. - 473.) The Associate by John Grisham – Kyle McAvoy, son of a small town Pennsylvania lawyer, is getting ready to graduate from Yale law school. His plans to do public law for a few years before heading to the big firms of New York are turned upside down by threats related to a potential multiple date rape by his fraternity brothers early in his university life. Industrial spies get him to join the world’s biggest law firm with the intention he will provide secret information on a gigantic corporate lawsuit over the development of a new U.S. Air Force bomber. Grisham portrays the total grind of life in a New York legal factory. McAvoy starts at and goes late into the night every day. I cannot see why anyone would accept such a life. Billing is worshipped and questionably calculated. I am busy as a lawyer but I am able to carry on activities and be part of organizations. Grisham continues to create page turning plots. I raced through the book. For the first time there was a twist or two that did not ring true. The ending was subtler than I expected. I wonder what my son Jonathan, considering entry into a demanding big firm, would think of the book. The relationships and opportunities between small town and big city law in the book are so close to our lives. I hope Grisham is back to Mississippi in his next book. Hardcover one more time. (Feb. 23/09)


Since writing the review my son, Jonathan, has joined a big firm in Calgary. The contrast in the book between the practice of law in a huge urban centre and a small rural centre resonates deeply with me.


  1. Bill - What an interesting plot point - small town law practice vslarge practice. And I'm glad to hear that you found the book's portrayal of life in a large firm was authentic. I can't imagine either living a 7:00am-midnight work life... The Grishams I've read also explore characters and portray how the legal questions in the novels affect the characters; in fact that's one thing I like about them.

    I wish your son much success with his law practice.

  2. Margot: Thanks for the comment. As you can sense I do not admire big firms who become legal factories. Thank you the kind wishes for Jonathan.

  3. Bill, being a lawyer yourself I can understand your interest in reading and reviewing a Grisham book. How close is he to the real thing? Do you agree with everything he writes? I have read Grisham's early novels of which I liked THE PELICAN BRIEF and THE CHAMBER.

  4. Prashant: Most of the Grisham books feel real enough to me to be convincing. Those set in the American Deep South are closest to the "real thing" of legal practice. I think Grisham is a genius at creating interesting lawyers.

  5. The Rainmaker is both serious and very witty. I laughed out loud and admired the creation of a health insurance company scam -- and its unraveling, by the main lawyer.

    The Client features a woman lawyer, played well in film by Susan Sarandon, who puts a child's welfare ahead of her own.

    The Chamber explained much to me about the u.S. death penalty system. What a revelation. Executions are a blood sport, like the gladiators of Rome.

    I've read so many of Grisham's books, which I like. A Time to Kill, the first one is good, so is the movie.

  6. kathy d.: Thanks for the comment.

    I think Grisham's books have worked well in movies. I enjoyed Julia Roberts in The Pelican Brief and thought A Time to Kill was a powerful movie.

    If someone asks me about the death penalty I suggest they read the Chamber. If you have not yet The Confession I recommend the book but not if you are in a down mood.