Book Review: “The Associate” by John Grisham

Book Review

Genre: Thriller

Rating:  3.5 Watertowers

Kyle McAvoy is looking forward to graduation from Yale Law School.

He is the editor of the prestigious “Yale Law Review” and has his pick of lucrative jobs as a law associate.  But his heart is set on helping the poor in Virginia for a few years.

His plans turn upside down when the “FBI” shows up with a video of Kyle and his friends during a drunken fraternity party while undergraduates at Duquesne University.  The video shows the possible rape of (the very loose) Elaine Keenan by two of Kyle’s friends.

Of course, the folks with the video were not the FBI, but, are an unknown entity interested in stealing information on a huge lawsuit about to take place.   This lawsuit pits two defense contractors that had originally teamed up to design the very advanced B-10 bomber, Trylon and Bartin.  After winning the Air Force award, Trylon and  Bartin both claimed ownership of the B-10’s design and a lawsuit was started. Greedy bastards.

One of Kyle’s associate opportunities is at the largest law firm in the world:  Scully & Pershing (they will be representing Trylon).  Bennie (who will be Kyle’s handler) wants Kyle to work there and feed Bennie information on the B-10 lawsuit.  If he does not, then the video will be made public and everyone involved will suffer the consequences.

Kyle reluctantly agrees.

At the firm, Kyle meets regularly with Bennie who knows exactly what is going on and what will happen to people at Scully & Pershing (and Kyle).  All the events that Bennie predicts happen and they ultimately help Kyle advance to being one of the very few who get to work on the Trylon team.

Exactly what Bennie wants.

Unknown to Bennie, Kyle knows he is being followed and monitored, so the information Bennie surreptitiously gets is information Kyle wants him to get.  Kyle also makes plans with Joey Bernardo (one of the kids in the video) to find out who Bennie is and to make plans to try to head him off at the pass.

Murder and intrigue follow.

“The Associate” is a very interesting look at the inner workings of a huge law firm.  As you go deeper into the bowels of the company, past the plush trappings of the reception area and the partner offices, the associates slave for over 100 hours a week sharing tiny offices between four associates.  The billing of clients is interestingly random (and excessive).  Not the most flattering picture of big time law.

Other than that, “The Associate” is a terrific cat and mouse adventure pitting the very smart Kyle against the very accomplished Bennie and his unknown backers.

You will enjoy it, even if it is not Grisham’s very best.   For that read: “Playing for Pizza”, “A Painted House”, “The Innocent Man”, “Skipping Christmas” and “The Testament”.  A whole bunch of great books!  Grisham rocks!


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