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The Associate- John Grisham :49/52

A poor man’s The Firm

John Grisham is my go to guy when I want an easy read that is not chicklit. Read this book somewhere in between a couple of heavy reads, but never got down to logging it in my list. Nothing to write home about, but it is one of those books that you can finish over the weekend.

An alleged rape video secretly filmed during his college days comes back to bite Kyle. He gets blackmailed into accepting a job that he is hesitant to because though it is lucrative, but against his ideals. The blackmailers want him to be the mole there and get hold of some confidential files related to some biggie defence deal. A nail biting, hmmm no, I can’t call it nail biting. A tight game of hide and seek and a murder later he manages to do the right thing. And lives happily ever after.

The best part of this book is that it leaves a loose end. I usually get irritated when a book ends without providing me with all the answers, but I liked the part that left me guessing in this one.

I’m a sucker for American legal stuff. Going by expertise in American law based on the legal dramas on TV and  all the John Grisham books I’ve read, I think they have the coolest legal system. Not the best, but the coolest. Like that old joke goes, I would love to go to America someday just to trip on the sidewalk and sue someone. And then retire comfortably.

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Hallways in the Night – R.C. O’Leary :12/52

Sometimes you stumble across a good book or a new author in the most unexpected way. I met Andaleeb Wajid through a Twitter conversation about kichda.  R C O’Leary somehow got to this blog and he was kind enough to send me his novel as a Kindle gift. And so I spent the weekend in a courtroom with Remo Centrella and Dave Mackno and I must say, it was a weekend well spent.

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An arrogant, steroid pushing baseball player gets killed by a cop. Self defense, he says. But when there’s 45 million dollars involved, a clean self defense claim doesn’t fully cut it. So what we have is an edge of the seat legal battle that makes you keep turning the pages till the very end. I love American legal dramas, be it reruns of The Practice or John Grisham novels. I don’t know if I am being fair to the author by saying that this was like a Grisham, but it was. And some more. The characters were well formed and I actually didn’t take sides till the end. I wavered back and forth throughout the trial. Did Dave Mackno overreact? Was he driven by his own ghosts from the past? At one point you want him to win, and a few pages later, you wonder if he should.

There are little backstories for all the characters, one of which becomes a vital twist towards the end. The book touches on some relevant and sensitive topics like the identity crisis that the African American lawyer goes through, how the internet broke a family and of course, the usage of steroids in sports ( Made me wonder why we never ever hear of steroid use in cricket. Could Slapgate have been ‘roid rage?) And then there was even a dumb witness who actually named his kid after Hulk Hogan!

A totally unputdownable book. Looking forward to the sequel.

The Appeal- John Grisham: 8/52

Some light reading after a depressing book like The Siege. Warning : Spoilers ahead

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Huge verdicts usually end in an anticlimax. Wasn’t that what happened in The Rainmaker?  So I had a bad feeling about this one from the start.

An evil chemical plant, toxic waste dumped into the water, a cancer epidemic. David lawyers and Goliath lawyers. All ends well. But wait. The happy ending is just the beginning. There is the classic evil corporate king, one who buys grotesque sculptures for 18 million dollars to please his trophy wife, one who is willing to pay a shady organisation 10 million dollars to rig an election but one who never thinks twice about the victims of the Cancer County his company has created. You then have an elaborate plan to fix an election so that the sympathetic judge doesn’t get reelected, thus getting the odds up for a verdict in favour of the evil corporate giant. And in between the Davids become victims of evil spite and are put through all kinds of hardships. Seemed a bit far fetched to me, the way the election campaign was played out. But then, I guess that’s how elections in the US work. Lots and lots of fluff.

The story began to lag after a while. Oh, get on with the election and get us to the verdict already, I say. And then a sudden twist, a human angle , a change of heart and an anticlimactic climax.

My verdict? The book worked ok for me.  Two sleepless nights well spent.

The Racketeer- John Grisham: 3/52

The last time I went on a non stop reading spree was during the Pooja weekend. It was a Gillian Flynn marathon, four days of three unputdownable books.

This weekend, after Half of a Yellow Sun, I wanted something light. I picked up Forrest Gump, but it wasn’t light enough. So I started The Racketeer by John Grisham and read late into the night. Then Monday came and life happened. Yesterday was a holiday for Pongal and instead of watching Thupakki and Thalaivaa, I sat with Grisham and Cook. Two books in one and a half days. Either I’m crazy or I’m crazy, but it was fun.

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Typical, but fun. There’s this black lawyer (apparently a first for Grisham ) who solves a murder from inside prison with some inside information and trades this to get a deal. He goes free and is under the witness protection program. He then changes his name and face and does things that make you wonder why he’s doing them till almost the end. Almost the end, because somewhere towards the long drawn plan, you kind of figure out what is going on. Some of the Plan is a bit far fetched and you have some questions. But hey, this is a John Grisham. You just enjoy the twists and turns and you don’t ask questions.

Anyway. It was a good read, one that kept me hooked till the very end. A weekend and a holiday well spent.

Wait. That’s not all. After law, I wanted medicine ( Like Grey’s Anatomy after The Practice). So I inky pinky ponkeyed between some Robin Cooks and chose Shock. And polished it off last night. Coming up in the next post.