From John Grisham, America's number one best-selling 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 US 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.
©2016 John Grisham (P)2016 Random House Audio
Grisham is my favorite author. His work is consistently good. Campbell ruined the work by her weak performance. I hope the publisher will choose a male narrator next time.
I have waited months for the next John Grisham book. I've never been disappointed...until now. This book has no depth, no substance and the narrator has zero personality! It drags on and on. Agonizing is the best description. Tune to put the quill away John. Should have stopped while you were on top.
If this were a Stephen King book, it would definitely be a trunk novel.
King talks about his trunk novels as something he wrote and didn't like enough to publish but was too good to throw out. So he puts them in a trunk where they remain for a few years, and may eventually get recycled.
That's what this feels like. That Grisham has recycled something that didn't quite make the cut in his earlier years.
First, the technology is dated. Everyone knows what a burner phone is. Evidently Grisham doesn't quite grasp the concept. Or the concept of how recording devices work these days. Or what a home burglar system does. It gets quite tedious.
Second, there's nothing in the story to place it in time. It doesn't tell you if it's supposed to be set in the 80s, 90s, or present day. It's like someone went through with a word processor and removed anything that would pinpoint a decade.
Third, the characters are wholly unlike Grisham's other works. They are bland, undeveloped, and boring. There's nothing to make you connect with them or like them.
The only little bit of grace this book has--if you're interested--is perhaps seeing what an author looks like before he became a good author. There are faint flashes of brilliance, but not enough to save the story.
If it's not a trunk book, then Grisham is losing his touch and needs to think about resting on his laurels.
The story was craftily constructed like a spider weaves a web, first with a broad framework and then filling in the details. As for the dirty rotten scoundrels, I won't give away the ending. Some of the writing did not sound like Grisham, though, a trait I've noticed in some of his recent books. The narrator was, without a doubt, the worst I've ever heard. Thank goodness the story was so good, otherwise I would not have been able to get beyond the first chapter.
great story, narrator cannot do male voices
Dick Hill, Ron McLarty,
This is the first Grisham book I've ever stopped reading, or in this case listening to. Cassandra Campbell cannot do male voices. Unless a line in the book is followed by "he said" or "she said" I can't tell which gender just spoke. She might be great with some other formats, but I'll not buy another audible book - my favorite way to enjoy a book - with her as narrator. I've been spoiled by the great narrators, like Dick Hill with the Jack Reacher series, Ron McLarty and others.
I love espionage, legal, and detective thrillers but listen to most genres. Very frequent reviews. No plot spoilers! Please excuse my typos!
I'm a fan of narrator Cassandra Campbell. She was great in co-narrating Small Great Things. When Breath Becomes Air, The Help, etc., but The Whistler is not good material for her to solo narrate. I found much of The Whistler audiobook to be boring; I'm uncertain how much of that was the material vs. the almost emotionless voice of the narrator.
I've been very critical of some recent Grisham novels in my reviews, especially Gray Mountain and The Rogue Lawyer. The Whistler is, unlike those two novels, a very good story, a story worth listening to. But Grisham saves most of his tight prose for the epilogue. The body of the novel is not interestingly written. I suspect my 4 star rating is being a bit kind.
The dialog or the reader or both seem stilted, hesitating or inauthentic. For so much buildup the story is somewhat disappointing. Usually I am a fan and find his stories to be very good, but I think this one comes up short. Others may not agree.
I really liked the concept of the story described on the jacket (investigating crooked judges) so I had high hopes for this book. To say it falls short is kindness itself. The book doesn't establish any intimacy between the reader and the primary characters before you're plunged into an unrealistic maze with a multitude of names and places you won't care enough to follow. Also the perils of their assignment don't thrill or bother the reader because the main characters are flat and uninteresting. Even the crimes narrative lines are corny and hackneyed. By chapter three you'll already come across ex-ball players, American Indians, the Mob, gold-diggers, con artist and red-necks. As for the performance, the narrator's qualification seem to be a clear voice and age appropriate tone. I couldn't pick her from a crowd of her peers if my own life depended on it.
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