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The Whistler Hardcover – October 25, 2016
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--The New York Times Book Review
“A main character who’s a seriously appealing woman...a whistle-blower who secretly calls attention to corruption...a strong and frightening sense of place...Grisham’s on his game.”
—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“A fascinating look at judicial corruption…an entirely convincing story and one of Grisham’s best. I can’t think of another major American novelist since Sinclair Lewis who has so effectively targeted social and political ills in our society. In Grisham’s case, it is time at least to recognize that at his best he is not simply the author of entertaining legal thrillers but an important novelistic critic of our society. In more than 30 novels, he has often used his exceptional storytelling skills to take a hard look at injustice and corruption in the legal world and in our society as a whole.”
--Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post
“Grisham's latest involves the rich and powerful and an abuse of the justice system. Grisham novels are crowd-pleasers because he knows how to satisfy readers who want to see injustice crushed, and justice truly prevails for those who cannot buy influence.”
“Grisham has become an institution. For more than 25 years now he’s been our guide to the byways and backwaters of our legal system, superb in particular at ferreting out its vulnerabilities and dramatizing their abuse in gripping style. He excels at describing injustice and corruption. Grisham’s legal knowledge is impressive, and his ability to convey it unparalleled in popular fiction.”
About the Author
- Publisher : Doubleday; 1st Edition (October 25, 2016)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0385541198
- ISBN-13 : 978-0385541190
- Lexile measure : 840L
- Item Weight : 1.5 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.45 x 1.32 x 9.52 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #49,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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* some spoilers
The plot is laid out early in the book - there is a corrupt judge colluding with some thugs to skim money at an Indian casino. To expose the corruption, there are a few individuals trying to blow the whistle on the judge to collect cash under the whistle-blower statutes. The whistle-blowers submit a complaint to the agency that investigates rogue judges and an investigation begins. These facts are known early on. The problem is - that's the entire plot. There are no twists or turns it goes in a fairly straight line from corruption complaint to indictments with few surprises along the way. There is also a huge loose end as we never find out what happens to one of the characters who was falsely imprisoned for murders he did not commit. Since this character is a main focus in the prequel, the failure to tie up that loose end is irritating.
All in all - it is just an uneven effort. A disappointing novel from an author from whom we all expect better.
None of the characters are particularly likable. The principal character, Lacy Stolz, comes across as flat and uninteresting. The bad guys are phlegmatic, bland, and dull, even though they are described as serious criminals involved in organized crime. There is absolutely no suspense to keep you going. Where is the author of "The Firm" and "A Time to Kill?" These early books were true page turners with great characterization and captivating plots. The plot of the "The Whistler" is plausible, but the story as written is as dry as dust.
Top reviews from other countries
The background is a casino built on Indian land in Florida. It massively enriches the Tappacola tribe whose land it occupies, but it enriches further still the ruthless and violent crime organisation – the Coast Mafia – that is working in the shadows of the background. Nor does that Mafia, or its puppets in the Native American tribe, stop at the Casino: golf courses, housing and entertainment developments follow, all of them delivering huge revenues in well-laundered money to the criminals behind them.
One of the associates of this criminal endeavour is a judge who has been delivering judgements that the gang needs, in turn for a generous share of the proceeds. They include the case Grisham describes in the prequel to this novel, ‘Witness to a Trial: a Short Story Prequel to The Whistler’, in which a Tappacola opponent to the casino is murdered and his associate is framed for the crime.
The novel starts with the matter of the judge. An anonymous tipoff, ultimately from a mysterious whistle-blowing mole who gives the novel its title, is received by the Board of Judicial Conduct. Lacy Stolz, the protagonist, has been assigned the case and we begin to follow her investigation from page 1.
Of course, there is far more than judicial misconduct at stake. Behind that single offence lies a whole criminal conspiracy. And it’s violent.
Grisham takes us into that world in a thoroughly gripping series of events. There are enough bodies on the way for us to believe it possible that they may ultimately include the people with whom we sympathise the most. So will the novel end with the gangsters coming out on top and our protagonists dead? Or, on the contrary, will the criminals be unmasked, arrested and punished?
You want to know? You’ll have to read the book. But don’t worry: you should be highly entertained on the way.
The characters are well formed and inter-links in the storyline are well through out, as with his other novels. An enjoyable read that was good but not perfect.
I'd recommend this to others, particularly if you are a John Grisham fan.
There are many goodies and baddies , but the plot is simple: baddies get a crooked judge on board and illegally siphon vast funds from a native American owned casino in sunny Florida ,but the department responsible for investigating crooked judges give chase and eventually sort them out. There are interesting passages and some really hard to believe passages and overall it is far from being a page turner. It trundles on for a while and finally ends with a whimper. Perhaps the publishers new they had a dud and hence their rather sharp marketing ( see my review of Witness to a Trial...a Short Story).
I have now read several other reviews and find that I am not alone in my view.
This is a poor John Grisham novel, but a poor John Grisham is still possibly worth reading. Just don't expect too much.