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The Firm (1991)

by John Grisham

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
10,635102538 (3.75)106
At the top of his class at Harvard Law, he had his choice of the best in America. He made a deadly mistake. When Mitch McDeere signed on with Bendini, Lambert and Locke of Memphis, he thought he and his beautiful wife, Abby, were on their way. The firm leased him a BMW, paid off his school loans, arranged a mortgage and hired him decorator. Mitch McDeere should have remembered what his brother Ray -- doing fifteen years in a Tennessee jail -- already knew. You never get nothing for nothing. Now the FBI has the lowdown on Mitch's firm and needs his help. Mitch is caught between a rock and a hard place, with no choice -- if he wants to live.… (more)
  1. 00
    Absolute Power by David Baldacci (JenniferRobb)
    JenniferRobb: Both books feature big firm lawyers trying to do the right thing. Murder and politics are more prominent in the Baldacci book while corporate law and tax shelters are more prominent in the Grisham work.
  2. 00
    The Associate by John Grisham (JenniferRobb)
    JenniferRobb: Both books involve lawyers that end up in large firms and are asked to do questionable things within their legal duties. Both main characters struggle with their ethics and come up with a solution.
  3. 00
    False Witness by Randy D. Singer (JenniferRobb)
    JenniferRobb: Both books are legal thrillers. Both deal with a lawyer/law student in an ethical dilemma and show how he/she gets around it by using the law to his/her advantage.
  4. 00
    Startup by Glenn Ogura (Mark-L)
    Mark-L: Authors have very similar styles. Love them both!
  5. 01
    The Tenth Justice by Brad Meltzer (micalbi)
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» See also 106 mentions

English (94)  Spanish (4)  Dutch (3)  Italian (1)  All languages (102)
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
“[you’ll acquire] A certain amount of cynicism. This business works on you. When you were in law school you had some noble idea what a lawyer should be. A champion of individual rights; a defender of the Constitution; a guardian of the oppressed; an advocate for your client’s principles. Then after you practice for six months you realize you were nothing but hired guns. Mouthpieces for sale to the highest bidder, available to anybody, any crook, any sleazebag with enough money to pay your outrageous fees. Nothing shocks you. It’s supposed to be an honorable profession, but you’ll meet so many crooked lawyers you’ll want to quit and find an honest job. Yeah Mitch, you’ll get cynical. And it’s sad, really.”
― John Grisham, The Firm

The book is so much better then the film version. The Firm is one of those books I reread every few years or so and it still feels fresh. Undeniably one of Grisham's best, if not his best.

I am not going into the plot because 90 percent of readers already know it but a few thoughts:

I adored Abby. Not so Mitch Mcdeer. OK..in case someone has not read it, I should put a spoiler warning in here.

SPOILERS:

I thought Mitch was one of those smug "to cool" jocks and never really took to him although I did root for him. But he so easily cheated on Abby (even before they were married) and I just could not imagine being friend's with his character but that's me.

Bit there is not one dull moment in The Firm. It is really one of the most fun suspenseful legal thrillers you could ever hope to read and that is why I often reread it. ( )
  Thebeautifulsea | Aug 6, 2022 |
8432072435
  archivomorero | Jun 25, 2022 |
Great read!

I can't believe I haven't read this before now!
I really enjoyed how the tension and unanswered questions start building almost immediately. I stayed up way too late last night finishing this because I needed to see how everything turned out. Very hard to put down! ( )
  NicholeReadsWithCats | Jun 17, 2022 |
John Grisham

The Firm

Island Books, Paperback [1992].

16mo. 501 pp.

First published, February 1991.
This edition, February 1992.
52nd printing per number line, undated.

=============================================

This time I reversed the order: read the book first, watched the movie afterwards. It was the other way round the previous three times and I was curious how Grisham would fare if he is given the lead. He did very well.

This is Grisham’s second novel. It is very different than the first, A Time to Kill (1989), which is a classic legal thriller. The Firm contains no trials, no court rooms and very little law stuff, mostly in the unexciting area of taxation. It is certainly a thriller, though, crowned with a hectic chase in the last hundred pages or so, very much like The Pelican Brief (1992) and The Client (1993) but more engrossing than either of them. The story is far simpler, sort of like The Devil’s Advocate (I mean the movie, don’t know about the book) but without the hellish twist in the second half. Suspension of disbelief is required for most of the time, of course, but only in pleasantly small doses. As a feat of pure storytelling, this novel is an outstanding achievement, the very definition of overused words like “page-turner” and “unputdownable”. It’s not simply better, far better indeed, than Sydney Pollack’s movie. It’s better than any movie could possibly be.

There is very little else. Mitch McDeere, a Harvard hotshot as cocky as they come, “young, dumb and full of cum” as they say, is our protagonist as well as the only character that acquires some sort of substance in the course of these 500 pages. He is caught in quite a predicament, full of life-changing or life-threatening (as the case may be) decisions, between the hammer and the anvil: the Firm and the FBI. Both deserve their capitals with a vengeance. They are the other main characters here: non-human, but not in the least inhuman. The Firm has a sinister aura, an illusion of unlimited power, about it that is totally lost in the movie, as was the FBI’s commendable desire to help Mitch at almost any cost. The humans are less interesting. Abby, the good wife, and Avery, the charming rake, are promising shadows. But Grisham had no time to develop them at all. He left them as plot conventions rather than human beings. I think he made the right decision. Had it been more character-driven, like The Client, this would probably have been a lesser book.

On a lower level, the book’s a fascinating glimpse back to those times, 30 years ago, when copying machines were state-of-art technology and paper was wasted in astronomical amounts on bureaucratic claptrap. This last, alas, hasn’t changed as much as the staggering evolution of computers ever since might suggest. This is as sad as the fact that many scenes from this book simply could not happen today. Smart phones and internet have killed, in addition to many young brains, modern fiction as well. Grisham was fortunate to write at least his early novels before that. The Copying Ruse on the Caymans should be hilarious from a modern point of view; perhaps younger readers than the present scribbler would find it so. I did find it amusing, but more so tense and even chilling. It’s one of those scenes, like the final chase on the Emerald Coast, that are bound to stay with me for good.

So is the ending. It is something like a modern version of a swashbuckling adventure. I have found it deeply satisfying, perhaps more deeply than I’d care to admit even to myself. It manages to convey a sense of ultimate freedom. One simply has to admit that Mitch is right: “There are worse things than sailing around the Caribbean with eight million bucks in the bank.” ( )
  Waldstein | May 9, 2022 |
Once we finally got into the thick of the plot, things moved quickly and I wanted to find out what was going to happen next. There were times that I found myself thinking that we needed to get back to the story a spend a little less time on specific details/laws (as I find with most courtroom dramas). Overall, this was a great 2nd John Grisham book and I will read more in the future. ( )
  courty4189 | Mar 24, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Grisham, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ruuska, IrmeliTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Heyne (12582)

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Úspešný absolvent práva na Harvardovej univerzite Mitch McDeer má vo vrecku niekoľko atraktívnych pracovných ponúk a medzi nimi aj od malej, neznámej, ale zato solventnej firmy z Memphisu. Spoločnosť Bendini, Lambert a Locke je mimoriadne štedrá. Mitchovi hodlá poskytnúť vysoký plat, veľké podiely zo zisku a okrem iných výhod aj možnosť stať sa spolumajiteľom. Nečudo, že novopečenému, ale chudobnému právnikovi sa z priam rozprávkovej ponuky zakrúti hlava a rozhodne sa práve pre túto firmu. S nadšením sa púšťa do práce, aby splnil náročné požiadavky svojich zamestnávateľov a zároveň realizoval vysoké osobné ambície. Mitchov štart bol vynikajúci a všetko je v poriadku až do chvíle, kým ho neosloví agent FBI a neupozorní na podozrivé praktiky firmy v oblasti prania špinavých peňazí a nepožiada ho o spoluprácu pri zhromažďovaní usvedčujúceho materiálu. Šokovaný mladý právnik si začína pozorne všímať svoje pracovisko a zistí, že s jeho fantastickým podnikom naozaj nie je všetko v poriadku. Zaráža ho priveľké percento smrteľných nehôd starších kolegov, jeho dom i auto odpočúvajú a podozrivé sú aj niektoré právnické prípady… Mitch McDeer stojí pred rozhodnutím: buď si zvolí bohatstvo, alebo dostojí právnickej prísahe a dá sa do služieb spravodlivosti.
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The senior partner studied the résumé for the hundredth time and again found nothing he disliked about Mitchell Y. McDeere, at least not on paper.
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At the top of his class at Harvard Law, he had his choice of the best in America. He made a deadly mistake. When Mitch McDeere signed on with Bendini, Lambert and Locke of Memphis, he thought he and his beautiful wife, Abby, were on their way. The firm leased him a BMW, paid off his school loans, arranged a mortgage and hired him decorator. Mitch McDeere should have remembered what his brother Ray -- doing fifteen years in a Tennessee jail -- already knew. You never get nothing for nothing. Now the FBI has the lowdown on Mitch's firm and needs his help. Mitch is caught between a rock and a hard place, with no choice -- if he wants to live.

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