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on October 25, 2011
Early on in Grisham's career, he wrote with fire. He went off against the ills of the legal and political systems, kicked greed between the legs, and did it all with some memorable, believable characters. His success was not surprising. Then, he stumbled. He lost the fire. I barely hung on through books like "The Brethren" and "The Broker." But last year's "The Confession" showed him kindling some new heat over a subject he is passionate about, and I applauded it, even if it was a bit stale at times.

"The Litigators" is the first Grisham book I've had fun reading in a long time. I get the feeling he had fun writing this one. We meet grouchy Oscar Finley and plucky, unethical Wally Figg, partners at Finley & Figg. These are some humorous, annoying, even likable guys scraping to make a living through any client and situation possible. They're propped up a the tough secretary. They're bottom feeders. Along comes David Zinc, who can no longer stomach the hundred-hour work weeks at a legal firm where 600 other lawyers are employed. He goes off the rails, decides to check out one fine morning, and ends up drunk hours later on the steps at the ignoble Finley & Figg. Despite his recent bender, he's actually a guy who loves his wife, albeit not always well, and still retains some ethical and legal standards, since he's not yet stepped foot into a court or heard the way things go down between a rascally attorney and a leering judge.

With Finley & Figg adding Zinc to their recipe, the mixture bubbles over. Figg stumbles into a potentially huge torts lawsuit against a pharmaceutical manufacturer (while scraping for clients at a funeral home, no less), and he starts signing up other clients (ones who are alive, thank goodness). In his enthusiasm, he drags along Zinc and senior partner Finley, eventually landing their tiny firm in court against a formidable armada of attorneys.

As I whipped through the pages, I found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion--and for all the right reasons this time. Grisham gives us some great characters, three-dimensional, likable, understandable, despicable, and everything in between. This is the Grisham I remember, one who was passionate, even fiery, but who also loved people and never forgot they were the driving force in his stories. Something has shifted. That fire is back. And this is easily my favorite Grisham in years.
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on October 25, 2011
Without the Compelling economic and political sidelights of the excellent Chaos and Kingdom, The Litigators is by far one of the best from one of the greatest legal thriller writers of all time. In his latest installment, Grisham introduces a quarter-life crisis uptown lawyer who's found new energy in an ratty-tatty ambulance-chaser law firm in the wrong part of town. There are a lot of problems with this struggling firm, not the least of which is they don't have enough money to even purchase an "¿Accidentes?" billboard.

Their opportunity comes in the form of a class action lawsuit against a big Pharma company who's latest cholesterol drug is killing people (maybe). What ensues is a compelling struggle to uncover the truth in an balanced tale that addresses the pros and cons of corporate and legal America. Grisham brings the story full circle when the protagonist and his rag-tag bunch of litigators take the class action all the way to the supreme court and face off against a legal team led by the same company the protagonist left.

If you had given up on Grisham recently, this might be a good book to get back into his work. It's a unique take on the legal thriller and a well-crafted story. Highly recommended!
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on October 25, 2011
I have been a Grisham fan for a long time. Some of his books I loved and some not so much. The Litigators was one I loved. The characters come to life and are each an interesting study in human dynamics. With charaters that seem alive and with a gripping, entertaining story, what was not to like ?? I found the book in my mailbox on Monday, October 24th and finished it today the 25th. A book you cannot put down is a book worth reading.
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on October 26, 2011
Long time fans of John Grisham will love The Litigators, which is one of his best books in years.

You can read the plot elsewhere, but suffice to say unlike some of his recent efforts, this book not only keeps you interested right to the end, but provides a satisfactory ending that doesn't leave the reader feeling short-changed. Some recent Grisham books seem to spend a lot of time setting up the characters and the plot, and then end with a whimper. This breaks the trend.

I've got every one of Grisham's books and this one ranks in the top half-dozen. There was always the feeling of "just one more chapter before I put it down" which (let's be honest) can't always be said.

For those who've fallen out of love with Grisham, maybe give this one a try before you give up all together! Highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon November 4, 2011
Street Law has its own rules; the attorneys "chase ambulances," process no-fault divorces and literally run after cases no higher-class law firm would ever consider. Street Law litigators are often sole practitioners; Grisham fashioned a two-guy office and then added a Harvard grad making it three semi-desperate counselors.

I enjoyed this book on many levels. I work in Chicago for Litigators, not the low-level "boutique" firm of Finley and Figg but a mid-sized prominent defense firm which gave me an advantage in terms of legalese and the procedures. I could not identify with Oscar Finn, the aging attorney, who felt he wasted the last 30 years with this crummy practice or Wally Figg, a drunk who is chasing the big pot of gold and will pull almost anything to sign up a client. However, I have met many David Zinc's, the burnt-out bright attorney who knows he cannot stand one more 100 hour week of entering billable hours for his cold-hearted large firm.

Grisham recaptured the heroes of his earlier books in David Zinc. We first meet David when he is enduring a full-fledged panic attack, as he is about to begin another day at the Rogan Rothberg 600 attorney firm. After losing all control, David spends the rest of his soul-searching day in a neighborhood bar and later he drunkenly washes up at the doorstep of Finn & Figg. David teams up with these low-level guys and begins to learn their ropes and seizes the moment. He is a good man with a beautiful, smart wife, Helen. He does not cut corners and uses his own money to help and investigate a horrific injury to a Burmese boy. In this case, Grisham aims his anger at American toy companies who have bought Chinese toy manufacturers that apparently manufacture lead poisoning rather than safe toys.

Suffice it to say, Grisham was able to neatly include the mistreatment of illegal immigrants, the hypocrisy of the drug companies (Varrick Drugs is the chief antagonist), the frauds who will try anything to cheat someone out of money, product liability law and the real victims. The main culprit is mass tort litigation where the victims remain victims while the plaintiff and defense lawyers reap the millions. Grisham slows David's progress but the reader knows that this Harvard grad is really smart and when he can understand the particular law, Federal court and how to litigate, we know he will be a star. Through it all, David is a good friend and a reputable attorney (despite Wally's influence). One of my favorite scenes takes place when David explains his new career to his father, a judge in Minnesota. Expecting the judge to be of no use or patience, his response is not volatile. Later, we learn his father taught David the moralities of the court decisions.

Grisham has crafted an entertaining book, once again. Some parts were totally unbelievable and he gave the reader almost every character imaginable: the slovenly ex-wife looking to score big in a lawsuit, the beautiful, sexy defense attorney (Nadine) for the drug company, sarcastic but loyal secretary (Rochelle) to Oscar and Wally, the bartender who has heard it all (Abner's), and of course, the insurance companies who will continue to profit win or lose. The reader prevails in this clever tale; it's a fun page-turner that really does not insult one's intelligence. Setting the story in Chicago, of course, adds to the lack of civility and no holes barred zingers. However, he had several errors regarding Chicago areas and neighborhoods. These would be quite obvious to a Chicagoan. He needed a native Chicago editor! 4.5 stars
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on October 29, 2011
I pre-order all Grisham's books - he is on my must read list. I was disappointed in The Litigators. Very slow starting - I kept turning pages waiting for that hook, that "I can't put this down" feeling. The book ultimately delivers some laughs and the courtroom scene we expect in a Grisham offering, but it failed to live up to his reputation. Average at best, and I expect more from John Grisham.
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on October 30, 2011
I read this in one day, and I hated to put it down for one minute. John Grisham is one of my favorite authors and I always enjoy his books. I must say this was one of the most entertaining reads that I've read in a long time, I hate that I read it so fast, I could have savored it for at least a few days, but it was just so enthralling!! This should be made into a motion picture, I would love to see this on the big screen.
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on November 2, 2011
Never has Grisham written a funnier work. The characters are interesting and sympathetic, but also highly comic! The ultimate of the cholesteral drug lawsuit is almost inevitable from the beginning, but the final reversal of fortunes is most gratifying. Don't know if the law really always works this way, but perhaps it should.
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on February 5, 2012
John Grisham will always be one of my favorite authors. "The Firm" is one of the top 5 books I have ever read, and a fictional book like "Bleachers" showed his incredible versatility as a writer. But based on his last two books, "The Confession" and "The Litigators" (the latter of which I just finished), I believe he has maxed out on legal thrillers. It's like a star athlete who has lost a step and can't compete at the highest level any more. In TV terms, in my opinion, he has "Jumped the Shark."

This book starts out slow, picks up a little steam during the trial, but never came close to getting to the point where I "couldn't put it down." In fact, my only interest in reading it quickly was so I could get through it and move on to something else. The characters are generally lackluster in terms of generating interest, and the story line is predictable and anticlimactic. All in all, a second straight disappointing effort by a terrific writer. I would take a pass.
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on November 4, 2011
John Grisham's early books were more 'thriller' than 'legal'. In this book, there's not much thrill (except for an inept arsonist being shot in the leg by a lawyer), but there's lots of legal action going on. The book shows that high powered lawyers can be just as sinister as an gunman with a 9mm automatic as they manipulate the system in their client's behalf.

When he realizes that working 100 hour weeks for a large law firm doesn't leave him even enough time and energy to get his wife pregnant, David Zinc abruptly walks away from his job. He takes a day off to get drunk, and then joins a two-man 'boutique' law firm that specializes in quickie divorces and ambulance chasing. At $500 per divorce (or $299, depending on which bingo card their advertizing appears), Zinc and the firm's partners, Oscar Finley and Wally Figg, are not going to get rich. Then, along comes a once in a lifetime opportunity to make big bucks. One of their clients dies from a sudden heart attack and Figg thinks the death may have been caused by his cholesterol medication. They join a class action suit that that pits them against an army of high priced lawyers working for the drug's manufacturer. The risk is that the drug company is willing to spend millions to defend a product that generates billions in sales.

Although the story is somewhat predictable, Grisham throws in a number of unexpected plot twists to demonstrate that, even though the legal deck is stacked in favor of the rich and powerful, there are ways for the small guy to win, or at least, to achieve a moral victory. The characters of the two partners, Oscar and Wally, are hilarious as we see them dealing with their own divorces, their crazy girlfriends and clients that are suing them (or threatening to shot them) for malpractice. While you are being thoroughly entertained, you'll also learn a lot about how the legal system works. Highly recommended.
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