If John Grisham is ever in urgent need of help from the police, for his sake I hope the officers that respond haven’t read this book. I understand this is fiction, but I seriously don’t understand how Grisham, his agent, editors, publicists and publishing team thought it would be a good idea to create a protagonist that denigrates police officers and other public officials on nearly every page of the book. I would be very interested to read a review of this book that is written by someone affiliated with law enforcement.
There is even a character that declares he is going to renounce his citizenship and leave the country because he can’t take “it” anymore. “It” being America, I guess. Well, hey, in the real world I have lived overseas in service to my country and I have been in places where the people truly live in fear of the cops and the government. And guess what? It doesn’t look anything like America.
Again, I know this is fiction—but even setting aside the asinine ramblings about how corrupt it is in America, this is still a terrible book.
It is divided into six parts, and they are so disjointed that for the first half of the book I couldn’t fathom why it was being sold as a novel. It felt like a collection of unrelated novellas. There is very little dialogue in the beginning of the book. It’s “this” and “that” and “then” and on and on it goes. The threads do finally come together, at least somewhat, in the second half of the book, and for a moment I thought it might even get interesting because there was a scene that perfectly set up the rogue lawyer to show some growth as a character … but geez, it turns out he was right all along. The cops, mayors, judges, soldiers and city councilmembers are all evil.
Honestly, if this is a reflection of John Grisham’s worldview—and it might be, because as he did with GRAY MOUNTAIN he tends to insert his causes into his writing—then I feel sorry for him. I don’t care how much money he has, it must be a miserable existence to have such a bleak outlook on life. Look, I get it—we have problems in America. Things aren’t perfect. Fiction is a great tool for illuminating those problems and generating discussion for how they can be fixed.
But that is not happening with this book.
I simply can’t recommend it: 1/5 stars.
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