Mark Sway, age 11 but years wiser thanks to a drunken dad who abused his mom, is out in the woods behind his Memphis trailer park teaching his kid brother, Ricky, how to smoke Virginia Slims heisted from Mom's purse. He's a pretty upright kid--he's determined to protect his brother from drugs, and he once defended his mom with a baseball bat.
The dangers of smoking rapidly escalate when Mark glimpses a guy trying to commit suicide by carbon monoxide in his car nearby and tries to stop him. The guy is Jerome, a lawyer who tells Mark that his Mafia client has murdered Senator Boyd Boyette and buried him in the concrete under his garage in New Orleans. Then Jerome puts a bullet in his own head. Little Ricky flips out, and so does Barry the Blade Muldanno, who doesn't want blustery U.S. attorney Reverend Roy Foltrigg to find the corpse and bust him. Caught in a ruthless game between the Mob and the amoral authorities, Mark's family has no defense in the world except Reggie Love, a 50ish divorcée who has just turned her life around by becoming a lawyer. Does she have what it takes to help Mark beat the system? The life-or-death chase is on!
Mark has seen a lot of movies, and he sees life in cinematic terms. So does Grisham. Even if this novel had never been filmed, it would still be a really good, fast-paced movie. Its literary limitation is also its filmlike virtue: The Client is a rush.
From Publishers Weekly
Fans of the bestselling Grisham will be pleased to note that he is once more on Firm ground: his latest legal thriller offers a clever, compelling plot coupled with two singular protagonists sure to elicit readers' empathy. Eleven-year-old Mark Sway, taking his kid brother for a smoke behind their Memphis trailer park, witnesses the suicide of a lawyer "driven crazy" by a lethal secret. Before he dies, the man confides to Mark where the body of a recently murdered U.S. senator lies buried, and the game's afoot. Trailed by the police, the FBI and assorted Mafia types (the deceased politico was the victim of "a successful New Orleans street thug"), Mark retains--for one dollar--the services of Reggie Love, a 50ish female lawyer. This uncommon attorney-client relationship adds an affecting, unusually humanistic layer to the novel's tension-filled events. Mark, raised by a divorced mother and wise beyond his years, thinks chiefly in terms of movies and TV; Reggie, a street-smart survivor of an acrimonious divorce, is often unsure whether to hug or slug her precocious client. True to form, Grisham employs just enough foreshadowing to keep the suspense rolling ("Neither of them could know that . . . "), and propels his action at the requisite breakneck pace. Occasional plot improbabilities and stylistic quibbles--a few fuzzy characterizations; overstatement of already obvious points; Mark's sporadic adult phraseology--will not deter readers from enjoying a rousing read. 950,000 first printing; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selections; Reader's Digest Condensed Book selection.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to the