Book Review: The Whistler by John Grisham

What’s it about?

We expect our judges to be honest and wise. Their integrity and impartiality are the bedrock of the entire judicial system. We trust them to ensure fair trials, to protect the rights of all litigants, to punish those who do wrong, and to oversee the orderly and efficient flow of justice.

But what happens when a judge bends the law or takes a bribe? It’s rare, but it happens….

Lacy Stoltz is an investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct. She is a lawyer, not a cop, and it is her job to respond to complaints dealing with judicial misconduct. After nine years with the Board, she knows that most problems are caused by incompetence, not corruption. 

But a corruption case eventually crosses her desk. A previously disbarred lawyer is back in business with a new identity. He now goes by the name Greg Myers, and he claims to know of a Florida judge who has stolen more money than all other crooked judges combined. And not just crooked judges in Florida. All judges, from all states, and throughout U.S. history.

What’s the source of the ill-gotten gains? It seems the judge was secretly involved with the construction of a large casino on Native American land. The Coast Mafia financed the casino and is now helping itself to a sizable skim of each month’s cash. The judge is getting a cut and looking the other way. It’s a sweet deal: Everyone is making money.

But now Greg wants to put a stop to it. His only client is a person who knows the truth and wants to blow the whistle and collect millions under Florida law. Greg files a complaint with the Board on Judicial Conduct, and the case is assigned to Lacy Stoltz, who immediately suspects that this one could be dangerous.

Dangerous is one thing. Deadly is something else.

My thoughts

After recently struggling to get through a couple of books of short stories, I was looking on the shelf for a book I knew I could read in a weekend and this was the lucky pick.  Grisham’s legal thrillers are my go-to read as they always hit the spot and are my favourites.

I’m four behind in Grisham’s latest legal offerings and although this one is not a court room based thriller, there is still of course, the legal plot line albeit in a different sense.  I was instantly drawn to Lacy and her partner Hugo characters; you know the type, underpaid overworked Government workers trying to put the world to rights in the face of adversity (shady dealings, bribery, money laundering and witness tampering to name but a few) so you’ll be rooting for them every step of the way.

I found it interesting reading regarding the Indian reservation and casino plot lines which had me thinking if there is any truth in the roots of this book (not all the wrongdoing but to do with the laws, and way of the land etc).

As per the Grisham norm it’s cleverly thought out, there’s plenty of action where every chapter feels like a cliffhanger and plenty of bad guys to loathe but then how do you find them when you don’t know who they are….therein is much of the story!  However, much as I enjoyed this book and raced through it, it’s not in the same league as A Time to Kill or The Firm.

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Author links: Website | Twitter

Small print for info
Source: Purchased
No of pages: 416
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks

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