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The Partner Hardcover – February 26, 1997

4 out of 5 stars 1,564 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Literary slugger John Grisham returns with a story about-- surprise!--a lawyer in trouble. Patrick Lanigan had been a young partner in a prominent Southern law firm. He had a beautiful wife, a new baby girl, and a bright future. Then one winter night Patrick was trapped in a burning car; the casket they buried held nothing but ashes.

A short distance away, Patrick watched his own burial then fled. A fortune was stolen from his ex-firm's offshore account. And Patrick ran, covering his tracks the whole way.

But, now, they've found him.

From Booklist

Grisham tries his hand at the fake-your-death-and-change-your-identity theme.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1 edition (February 26, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385472951
  • ISBN-13: 979-0385472950
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,564 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #371,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, John Grisham was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby--writing his first novel. Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn't have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.That might have put an end to Grishams hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham's reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham's success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller. Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, The Broker, Playing for Pizza, and The Appeal) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 225 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man.

Photo credit Maki Galimberti

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I don't know how The Partner by John Grisham has escaped me for so long as this is one of his earlier books. It has the action packed, conspiracy laden plot that we have come to expect from him. I read this 480 page book in less than 24 hours. While it was entertaining and suspenseful, I knew it was impossible for one character to have everything figured out.

Patrick Lanigan is a partner in a law firm in Biloxi Mississippi when he is killed in a fiery car crash. He is burned beyond recognition, and his remains are cremated and then buried. But when several weeks later, 90 million dollars goes missing from his law firm, Patrick becomes the chief suspect. Four and a half years later, Patrick is discovered living in Brazil, and is captured and tortured by some disreputable characters who are working on behalf of the companies that were bilked of their millions, including two insurance companies. Patrick does have the money, although he doesn't know the exact location of it. But he also knows a terribly powerful secret that can bring many people crashing down if the information was to be made public. The Partner becomes a literary game of chess as Patrick uses this information while bargaining with the FBI, the Justice Department and Harrison County Law Enforcement.

But while The Partner is entertaining, it is totally unbelievable. First, Lanihan has managed the almost perfect crime, and there are just too many coincidences to be realistic. He becomes an expert at disappearing, becomes proficient in a new language, masters electronic surveillance, tackles offshore banking, learns to hide money, creates gasoline bombs, and a host of other skills.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed the intricacies and twists in Patrick Lanigan's master plot to rip off his crooked law firm of enough money to be set for life. As someone who had gotten tired of Grisham's plot technique of using a super-powerful all-knowing company or firm who could track our hero to the ends of the earth and ruin in his life, this was a refreshing change. Quite the opposite was true-those seeking Lanigan were perilously close to running out of money for the effort. Also, the painstaking methods for tracking Lanigan's whereabouts were spelled out entirely for the reader, silencing even the most doubtful reader. In many of Grisham's other books, he shirks on the plot-building duties and just tosses out a super-sleuth team that can find anyone anywhere with no explanation.

I enjoyed the non-linear storytelling style: the book opened with Lanigan being found by his pursuers, and then the backstory of how and why he stole the money, and how he hid from his pursuers, is filled in. For most of the book, Lanigan looks like a "bad guy" himself, in fact. It was a nice change-up on the way the plot was laid out.

Many have complained about the end of the book. I enjoyed the journey enough to trust Grisham with the end. I'll leave all readers to make up their own mind about Lanigan's fate.
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By A Customer on February 17, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Patrick Lanigan was a young lawyer who had recently become a partner in a propsperous law firm. Feeling a sense of hopelessness in his life, he plotted for months on how he would disappear and start a new life in a foreign country. He learned about a scheme in which his law firm would earn $90 million dollars for their client. Patrick obtained a new identity and stole the money. He started a new life in Brazil with a beautiful young woman, but was always looking over his shoulder. Four years later, he was found and tortured. He was brought back to the US and treated at a hospital while under arrest. He took that time to create an impecable defense for himself and eventually all charges were dropped and he went back to Brazil with $30 million dollars to live happily ever after. But he didn't... I would strongly recommend this book to anyone looking for an intriguing story that is a fast read. I loved the character of Patrick Lanigan, with his attention to detail and the remarkable tactics he used to win his case. I did not enjoy the ending, however, because it left you with a sense of disappointment and wonder. It was still an entertaining book that I couldn't wait to finish.
11 Comments 164 of 195 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By A Customer on April 1, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When an author writes a cop out ending like this they should refund your money for a waste of time. I read a book a week from a variety of authors and have read many of Grisham's books. I've enjoyed all the rest of his books and found them highly intelligent and thought out. In The Partner he makes every indication that the main character's friend Eva is madly in love with him and gives no indication or reason why she leaves him except that he wants that one last shock to the readers/audience. If you are going to end a story like this there should be some clue(s) even if they are so subtle that you have to reread some of the story to find them. Sorry if this ruins the book for anyone, but spend your money on one of his other books.
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Format: Hardcover
I read the book before reading any of these reviews, and I admit I agree with many of the critiques of the book's plot, characterization and unsatisfactory ending. Upon reflection, however, I wonder if Grisham is driving at a different message.

Consider the issues he's taken on in previous books: A Time to Kill was a statement against racism, The Chamber was his argument against the death penalty, The Rainmaker challenged the health insurance industry, and The Runaway Jury took on big tobacco. But this book doesn't have a real villain, at least not in some institutional form. The only thing that motivates all the main characters is the cry, "Show me the money!"

And here is perhaps the thrust of the novel. Grisham explores the corrupting power of greed, evidenced through lawsuit and litigation. No one is immune. Lives are shipwrecked and ethics are compromised because of the seductive desire for untold millions. Even those we believe to be noble are not above selling out their closest loved ones.

Though part of me desperately wanted a different ending, it serves as a striking commentary on utter emptiness of those whose ultimate goal is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It also reminds us once again that the best laid plans of mice, men and even Grisham heroes go aft agley.
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