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The Associate: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – September 22, 2009

2.8 out of 5 stars 1,088 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Grisham's contemporary legal thriller offers an action-and-suspense plot reminiscent of that of his breakout book, 1991's The Firm, in contrast to 2008's didactic The Appeal, which served as a platform for his concerns about the corrupting effects of judicial elections. Kyle McAvoy, a callow Yale Law School student, dreams of a public service gig on graduation, until shadowy figures blackmail him with a videotape that could revive a five-year-old rape accusation. Instead of helping those in need, McAvoy accepts a position at a huge Wall Street firm, Scully & Pershing, whose clients include a military contractor enmeshed in a $800 billion lawsuit concerning a newly-designed aircraft. McAvoy can avoid exposure of his past if he feeds his new masters inside information on the case. Readers should be prepared for some predictable twists, an ending with some unwarranted ambiguity and some unconvincing details (the idea that a secret file room in a high stakes litigation case would be closed from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. every night stretches credulity to the breaking point). Still, Grisham devotees should be satisfied, even if this is one of his lesser works.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Critics agree with Entertainment Weeklythat The Associate"is vintage Grisham, for better or worse, made timely with its sorry portrait of what passes for everyday ethics on Wall Street." Like his previous novels, The Associateis heavy on readability, predictability, and pace, and lighter on character development, scene setting, and style—no surprises here. Fans of Grisham cited masterfully drawn characters and page-turning subplots, but less enthusiastic reviewers faulted stock villains, a rather mysterious Kyle, and implausible storylines. Timeeven claimed that unlike Michael Crichton or Scott Turow, who "wrestle with actual issues," Grisham deals with, well, nothing. Still, you know what you're getting into with The Associate, for better or for worse.
Copyright 2009 Bookmarks Publishing LLC --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 434 pages
  • Publisher: Dell (September 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440243823
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440243823
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,088 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #225,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By rgregg VINE VOICE on February 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
John Grisham can be one heck of a novelist when he sets his mind to it. But "The Associate" comes across as a bit lazy and unfocused. This story of a young and bright law student who is the victim of a blackmail scheme just wanders for a while and then kind of plops down in the end. I will admit that I found much of the writing interesting but it seems that Grisham wants to tell the reader the difficulties and detail of working for a massive law firm without adding any suspense or proper conclusion to the tale. Maybe he plans a sequel (?) which could be fairly dynamic but this book can be summed up fairly simply.
1. Kyle wants to work in the law.
2. Bad guy threatens Kyle with video and blackmails him to steal information from major legal firm. (Who is the bad guy? You'll never know.)
3. Kyle reluctantly cooperates.
4. Lots of meetings with bad guy and hero going over dull details.
5. Kyle agonizes
6. One moment of horror when a character dies (Who killed him? You'll never know)
7. Will Kyle execute plan of bad guy?
8. Then a completely deflating climax. (Believe me, you'll be sorely disappointed.)
There is a comparison on the book jacket to "The Firm" a previous Grisham hit novel. My advice, read "The Firm". If you must read this book, wait for the paperback to be on sale at the used bookstore near you.
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Format: Hardcover
Mr. Grisham is padding his billing sheet with The Associate, which seems almost to have been ghost-written. It reflects little of the talent behind The Partner, my favorite Grisham novel and, frankly, it made me somewhat upset to have spent 27 bucks. I would have been disappointed to buy this one in paperback. Time was that you started a Grisham novel and couldn't put it down. Had I not been stuck in an airport en route from a deposition I would not have had the patience to finish.

This book was like my sixth grade term paper; we all had them, you would count the words until you got to the end. Likewise, although there was some great potential in this story it was not realized. Sure, there were half-hearted attempts to bring other characters to life, but they were all just that, half-hearted. The ending was among the most disappointing that I have ever come across--in any genre.

Nobody learns anything. There is no character progression--just a slow moving train wreck from which nobody emerges having been enlightened. In fact, the reader feels much like our protagonist--forced to endure a journey that was expected to be something completely different and not entirely sure how to escape. Heavens, big law firms are such a deliciously evil mix of stunningly warped personalities and distorted goals that any number of excellent thrillers could be drawn from facts known to just about any lawyer.

I do hope that Mr. Grisham rediscovers the joy of telling a story--he is very good at it; however, I cannot recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover
I have read every one of John Grisham's books and was looking forward to this one, however, after finishing it last night, I must say I was very disappointed. The ending (which, of course, I won't give away) was very lame. He spent a lot of time on the big bad law firms abusing the associates and not enough on the real story of Kyle and who were these people who were ruining his life. I would definitely not recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover
I've been a longtime fan of Grisham and this novel was utterly terrible. There was no connection with the characters, it dragged on and on with no point, and then ended so spectacularly badly that I was searching for a missing page or something, unable to believe that was the end.
He has written many good books, and no doubt will again, but don't waste your time with this one.
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Format: Hardcover
John Grisham has been saying that this new book is similar to The Firm. This is only true in the sense that it has a young protagonist. Does he not understand what it is that people liked about The Firm and A Time to Kill? While The Associate is fun to read and a page-turner, the characters are the same old stereotypes as in all the later Grisham books. There are no detailed descriptions of anything. I hate to say it, but I think John Grisham is wasting his talent, even being a little bit lazy.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have to confess that I haven't read any books by John Grisham in a while, but when "The Associate" hit the bookstores, I felt compelled to read this book. I was taken back by the great difference in opinion with current reviews, but quickly put them aside as I enjoyed the book with only a couple of objections.

It is true that this story is somewhat reminiscent of "The Firm", but with a distinction of the outside sources blackmailing the main character into stealing secrets from the biggest law firm in the world. Young Yale graduate, Kyle McAvoy, is being blackmailed by an unknown secret source and by a handler known only as "Bennie Wright" for his participation in a possible frat house rape years before. McAvoy must secretly steal documents from a large and controversial lawsuit or fear the consequences of a damaging video going public.

This book is an easy read in Grisham's typical storytelling style. It begins with an interesting angle, but keeps a somewhat monotonous pace until page 104. Then the story picks up with interesting angles and begins to unfold in the usual entertaining fashion. At times, I did feel that the book read more like a field report from a private investigator than a thriller novel. My main complaint would be that the character of "Bennie Wright" should have been more of an integral part of the storyline. We needed to see this crafty and secret character conducting business so that it would really pull the reader into a more suspenseful mode for McAvoy. I think the reader would have felt more distress and not feel cheated with the ending. As far as the ending goes, it has an ending but maybe not as satisfying as most would like.

If you want a nice easy weekend read in the standard Grisham style, I would recommend this book. However, if you're expecting a giant climatic scene with an aggressive confrontation, you will not find that with this book.
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