Having been an avid fan of John Grisham and his legal thrillers for most of my life, I was quite disappointed on reading his 2014 novel, Gray Mountain. While for the most part it was classic Grisham, the story was left hanging and I felt a little cheated. Which is why I picked up his latest novel, The Whistler, with no small amount of trepidation.

It starts off in true Grisham fashion, introducing us to our main characters, Lacy Stoltz and Hugo Hatch, who work for a federal office that investigates corrupt judges. They are approached by a man claiming to have overwhelming evidence of years of criminal activity involving a judge and the Mafia. He claims to be handling a mole within the organisation that wants to cash in on the whistleblower reward in exchange for the truth.

Upon investigating, Lacy and Hugo uncover deep connections between the judge, the Mafia, and a casino owned by the Tappacola Indian Nation, and every revelation leads them further and further into a mess of complications and danger. People begin disappearing, some end up dead, and as Lacy and Hugo continue down the rabbit hole, there are serious, even fatal implications for them.

I couldn’t put it down. It’s one of the few books in recent memory that I’ve read in one sitting. It is typical, classic Grisham and an excellent return to form.

str2_joelwhistlerR_sharmilla_2As expected from a Grisham novel, we get colourful and overblown characters with well-defined back stories. His writing is so sympathetic and immersive that at times I found myself relating to the crooked judge as much as to the characters you would expect to like.

Descriptions of places are evocative and it doesn’t take much effort to imagine yourself in the heart of downtown Tallahassee or NYC, watching characters as they go about their lives. Grisham is a master storyteller and it shows.

You can probably tell that I really enjoyed this book. It was an easy read, especially if you are already familiar with Grisham’s style.

If you liked The Client, The King Of Torts and The Partner, then you will love this addition to your Grisham-heavy bookshelf. Eight out of 10 armchair lawyers would agree with me.

The Whistler

Author: John Grisham
Publisher: Doubleday, legal thriller