By Diane Bostick
Author: John Grisham
Publisher: Doubleday 2011.
When we think of John Grisham, our minds go automatically to courtroom drama. However, this man is no one note wonder. Although the majority of his twenty-five books have indeed been about lawyers, law firms and the courtroom, he has also branched off into other subject matter, though not with as much success. I, personally, think that his very first book, A Time to Kill, is his finest by far. It was written in a fine literary style. Since then, although I have enjoyed almost all of his books, I think he has tended to pander more to the literary taste of the general public and with the thought in mind of how the book would sell. I feel that you could read A Time to Kill twenty years from now and feel that you were reading a finely honed story with thought having been given to the morals of the issues of the time period it addresses. I encourage you to read it and enjoy it for its beautifully written and emotionally told tale. This is less the case in the books written since then, although they are fine books in and of themselves. He has also written a book about Christmas, two about football, a book of short stories, one about his childhood and a non-fiction, The Innocent Man. Ten of his books have been made into feature films.
In this latest, The Litigators, his writing style is a bit different from those he has written in the past. In the first few pages we watch as David Zinc, a lawyer with a huge law firm, goes off the deep end one morning as he heads to his office to put in another 80 hour work week. He never makes it there. Instead he goes on a bender and ends up at a local bar where he spends the day looking into the bottoms of many bottles of beer trying to put it all behind him. Needless to say, his wife and co-workers at his firm spend the day trying to find him. With varying degrees of relief they find out that he is all right but determined never to return to his former place of employment. Just up the street from the bar that has been his home for the day is the “boutique” law firm of Finley and Figg, made up of two inept ambulance chasing lawyers. He stumbles upon them in his state of high inebriation just as they are out on the street trying to round up new clients from those involved in a large automobile accident that has occurred right in front of their office. Too drunk to know any better he joins the foray, chasing off other ambulance chasing lawyers with the same goal in mind.
The next day when he sobers up he realizes that he has most certainly burned all his bridges behind him and decides that the only thing for him to do is to offer himself to the firm of Finley and Figg as their newest employee.The firm will now consist of exactly five warm bodies, if you include the receptionist and the dog. Up until now the firm has primarily worked at representing those who have been hustled after being in an accident or want a quick, cheap divorce. Oscar Finley spends most of his time locked in his office trying to ignore the world and Wally Figg runs around frantically leaving cards and brochures all over town in the most unlikely places looking for new business. One day he stumbles upon the idea of joining a class action suit against a large pharmaceutical firm for a supposedly faulty medication that he has been told causes more harm than good to those taking it. Since their firm has practically no money and the pharmaceutical company has millions to spend in their defense you can readily imagine there will be some large obstacles to overcome.
When you factor in the fact that Wally is an alcoholic and none of the three has ever spent time in a courtroom of any size you can quickly see the handwriting on the wall. However, reading that handwriting is entertaining, and all is not lost because there are other cases along the way with a greater chance of success, that of the child who has severe damage from lead poisoning caused by a toy made in China or the illegal immigrants who are being made to work almost without pay. And, of course, as you might guess, David Zinc comes reluctantly, and much to his amazement, as Superman to the rescue.
Diane Bostick has lived on Marco Island since 1987. She was the Founder and President of Ft. Myers chapter of the Association of Children with Learning Disabilities, President of Jr. Welfare League, Ft. Myers Chapter, and served on the board of Art League of Marco Island. She is an avid reader, fly fisherwoman, tennis player and crafter.