The Litigators

( 1085 )

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Books are leather-bound, signed and numbered, with printed endpapers, gold stamping, a slipcase, and a ribbon marker.

The incomparable master of the legal thriller takes us deeper into the labyrinth that is the American justice system, always drawing us in with an irresistible hook, pull­ing the thread of tension tighter and tighter, and then knocking us out with a conclusion that’s never “by the book.” Maybe that’s why, after more than twenty years of consecutive #1 New York ...

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The Litigators

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Overview

Books are leather-bound, signed and numbered, with printed endpapers, gold stamping, a slipcase, and a ribbon marker.

The incomparable master of the legal thriller takes us deeper into the labyrinth that is the American justice system, always drawing us in with an irresistible hook, pull­ing the thread of tension tighter and tighter, and then knocking us out with a conclusion that’s never “by the book.” Maybe that’s why, after more than twenty years of consecutive #1 New York Times best sellers, a new novel by America’s favorite storyteller is still a major publishing event.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Behind the fancy "Finley & Figg" sign are two middle-aged lawyers just getting by. Oscar Finley and Wally Figg qualify as ambulance chasers, specialists in hung-over DUIs, hapless shoplifting defendants, and no-fault divorce cases. Then one day, while they're wading through yet another mundane day of paper-pushing in their modest Chicago office, everything changes forever. The arrival of burned out fast-track attorney David Zinc to the firm takes their pick-up game to a whole new level. Before long, they are grappling with a real legal case, one that involves a $25 billion pharmaceutical corporation and a slam-dunk class action suit with infinite possibilities. What Messrs. Finley and Figg don't yet realize is that their road to riches will pit them against a legal team not accustomed to losing. John Grisham's new courtroom thriller combines realistic strategies with likeable characters. Nobody does it better.

Publishers Weekly
Grisham's entertaining modern-day legal thriller offers a bitingly farcical look at lawyers at the bottom of the food chain. David Zinc, an associate at a Chicago mega-firm who's sick of the sweatshop he's been laboring in for five years, flees the office one morning and ends up spending all day in a bar. Soon after the bartender finally kicks him out, Zinc spots an ad on a city bus for a firm of ambulance-chasers, Finley & Figg, and resolves to join their hapless practice. Meanwhile, Wally Figg, one of Finley & Figg's two partners, thinks he's found a goldmine after learning that a client who died recently was taking an anti-cholesterol drug called Krayoxx. Zinc, who has zero litigation experience, aids Finley & Figg, who likewise lack litigation experience, in filing suit against the huge pharmaceutical company that produces Krayoxx. Grisham (The Confession) makes Zinc's personal transformation more convincing than his professional one. Some readers may feel the fairy tale ending clashes with the dark humor of the opening. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews
A tight (in a couple of senses), unexpectedly comic courtroom saga from veteran legal eagle Grisham (The Confession, 2011, etc.). After an unhappy showing with last year's Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer, Grisham is back in grown-up land. But grown-up is as grown-up does, and the characters who populate this latest are very, well, morally compromised—and on all sides of the law. One, David Zinc, cuts a formidable figure at the bar—and, once he's decided that, even though he's in his early 30s, he's done with practicing law at a huge corporate firm in downtown Chicago, he cuts a still more formidable figure drinking himself stupid at the nearest watering hole ("Do you serve breakfast?" "Yep, it's called a Bloody Mary"). A long bout of sucking down the sauce later, David has fallen far in the world, so far that he's now in cahoots with a practice that likes to call itself a "boutique firm," but that is in truth made up of a couple of dictionary-definition ambulance-chasers. Make that hearse-chasers: The brilliant legal minds at Finley & Figg like nothing better than to feed at the bottom, scouring the news and the obituaries for profit-inducing mayhem, for something, anything, to sue for. It's a hit-or-miss business, but with David on board, the partners' fortunes would seem to hold greater promise. Ah, but this is a Grisham novel, and the justice that's served up, as always, cuts both ways. There are a couple of holes in the plot (if David wants out of the law so badly, why does he so quickly fall right back into it?), but Grisham has a blast with all the righteous mischief in a tale with no real heroes and plenty of villains, with Big Pharma at the heart of the story. He writes with good humor, mostly, but with some calculating nastiness as well ("Oscar's perfect outcome would be breaking news of a pending settlement at about the same time his wife croaked on the drug"). Grisham's latest is a hoot—and, with its insider's view of jury selection and other dirty tricks, a very good reason to hope to steer clear of a courtroom.
Louis Bayard
…if you're a Grisham apostate, now might be the time to get reacquainted. And this snappy, well-turned novel might be a good place to start…Grisham brings his usual nuanced understanding of tort law and civil jurisprudence, but he seems just as interested in the non-experts…At the risk of making Grisham sound pretentious or—worse—boring, I would argue that his true subject—now that he has the luxury to explore it—is how the law serves as both accessory and antagonist to our dreams.
—The Washington Post
From the Publisher
“John Grisham is about as good a storyteller as we’ve got.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Grisham holds up that same mirror to our age as Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities.”—The Boston Globe
 
“A mighty narrative talent.”—Chicago Sun-Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385535137
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/25/2011
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 191,850
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

John Grisham

JOHN GRISHAM is the author of twenty-three novels, one work of nonfiction, a collection of stories, and two novels for young readers. He lives in Virginia and Mississippi.

www.doubleday.com www.jgrisham.com

Biography

As a young boy in Arkansas, John Grisham dreamed of being a baseball player. Fortunately for his millions of fans, that career didn't pan out. His family moved to Mississippi in 1967, where Grisham eventually received a law degree from Ole Miss and established a practice in Southaven for criminal and civil law. In 1983, Grisham was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives, where he served until 1990.

While working as an attorney, Grisham witnessed emotional testimony from the case of a young girl's rape. Naturally inquisitive, Grisham's mind started to wander: what if the terrible crime yielded an equally terrible revenge? These questions of right and wrong were the subject of his first novel, A Time to Kill (1988), written in the stolen moments before and between court appearances. The book wasn't widely distributed, but his next title would be the one to bring him to the national spotlight. The day after he finished A Time to Kill, Grisham began work on The Firm (1991), the story of a whiz kid attorney who joins a crooked law firm. The book was an instant hit, spent 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, and was made into a movie starring Tom Cruise.

With the success of The Firm, Grisham resigned from the Mississippi House of Representatives to focus exclusively on his writing. What followed was a string of bestselling legal thrillers that demonstrated the author's uncanny ability to capture the unique drama of the courtroom. Several of his novels were turned into blockbuster movies.

In 1996, Grisham returned to his law practice for one last case, honoring a promise he had made before his retirement. He represented the family of a railroad worker who was killed on the job, the case went to trial, and Grisham won the largest verdict of his career when the family was awarded more than $650,000.

Although he is best known for his legal thrillers, Grisham has ventured outside the genre with several well-received novels (A Painted House, Bleachers, et al) and an earnest and compelling nonfiction account of small-town justice gone terribly wrong (The Innocent Man). The popularity of these stand-alones proves that Grisham is no mere one-trick pony but a gifted writer with real "legs."

Good To Know

A prolific writer, it takes Grisham an average of six months to complete a novel.

Grisham has the right to approve or reject whoever is cast in movies based on his books. He has even written two screenplays himself: Mickey and The Gingerbread Man.

Baseball is one of Grisham's great loves. He serves as the local Little League commissioner and has six baseball diamonds on his property, where he hosts games.

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    1. Hometown:
      Oxford, Mississippi, and Albemarle County, Virginia
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 8, 1955
    2. Place of Birth:
      Jonesboro, Arkansas
    1. Education:
      B.S., Mississippi State, 1977; J.D., University of Mississippi, 1981
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1
 
The law firm of Finley & Figg referred to itself as a “boutique firm.” This misnomer was inserted as often as possible into routine conver­sations, and it even appeared in print in some of the various schemes hatched by the partners to solicit business. When used properly, it implied that Finley & Figg was something above your average two-bit operation. Boutique, as in small, gifted, and expert in one specialized area. Boutique, as in pretty cool and chic, right down to the French-­ness of the word itself. Boutique, as in thoroughly happy to be small, selective, and prosperous.
 
Except for its size, it was none of these things. Finley & Figg’s scam was hustling injury cases, a daily grind that required little skill or creativity and would never be considered cool or sexy. Profits were as elusive as status. The firm was small because it couldn’t afford to grow. It was selective only because no one wanted to work there, including the two men who owned it. Even its location suggested a monotonous life out in the bush leagues. With a Vietnamese massage parlor to its left and a lawn mower repair shop to its right, it was clear at a casual glance that Finley & Figg was not prospering. There was another boutique firm directly across the street—hated rivals—and more lawyers around the corner. In fact, the neighborhood was teeming with lawyers, some working alone, others in small firms, others still in versions of their own little boutiques.
 
F&F’s address was on Preston Avenue, a busy street filled with old bungalows now converted and used for all manner of commercial activity. There was retail (liquor, cleaners, massages) and professional (legal, dental, lawn mower repair) and culinary (enchiladas, baklava, and pizza to go). Oscar Finley had won the building in a lawsuit twenty years earlier. What the address lacked in prestige it sort of made up for in location. Two doors away was the intersection of Preston, Beech, and Thirty- eighth, a chaotic convergence of asphalt and traffic that guaranteed at least one good car wreck a week, and often more. F&F’s annual overhead was covered by collisions that happened less than one hundred yards away. Other law firms, boutique and otherwise, were often prowling the area in hopes of finding an available, cheap bunga­low from which their hungry lawyers could hear the actual squeal of tires and crunching of metal.
 
With only two attorneys/partners, it was of course mandatory that one be declared the senior and the other the junior. The senior partner was Oscar Finley, age sixty-two, a thirty-year survivor of the bare- knuckle brand of law found on the tough streets of southwest Chicago. Oscar had once been a beat cop but got himself terminated for crack­ing skulls. He almost went to jail but instead had an awakening and went to college, then law school. When no firms would hire him, he hung out his own little shingle and started suing anyone who came near. Thirty-two years later, he found it hard to believe that for thirty- two years he’d wasted his career suing for past-due accounts receivable, fender benders, slip-and-falls, and quickie divorces. He was still mar­ried to his first wife, a terrifying woman he wanted to sue every day for his own divorce. But he couldn’t afford it. After thirty-two years of lawyering, Oscar Finley couldn’t afford much of anything.
 
His junior partner—and Oscar was prone to say things like, “I’ll get my junior partner to handle it,” when trying to impress judges and other lawyers and especially prospective clients—was Wally Figg, age forty-five. Wally fancied himself a hardball litigator, and his blustery ads promised all kinds of aggressive behavior. “We Fight for Your Rights!” and “Insurance Companies Fear Us!” and “We Mean Business!” Such ads could be seen on park benches, city transit buses, cabs, high school football programs, even telephone poles, though this violated several ordinances. The ads were not seen in two crucial markets—television and billboards. Wally and Oscar were still fighting over these. Oscar refused to spend the money—both types were horribly expensive—and Wally was still scheming. His dream was to see his smiling face and slick head on television saying dreadful things about insurance compa­nies while promising huge settlements to injured folks wise enough to call his toll-free number.
 
But Oscar wouldn’t even pay for a billboard. Wally had one picked out. Six blocks from the office, at the corner of Beech and Thirty- second, high above the swarming traffic, on top of a four-story tene­ment house, there was the most perfect billboard in all of metropolitan Chicago. Currently hawking cheap lingerie (with a comely ad, Wally had to admit), the billboard had his name and face written all over it. But Oscar still refused.
 
Wally’s law degree came from the prestigious University of Chi­cago School of Law. Oscar picked his up at a now-defunct place that once offered courses at night. Both took the bar exam three times. Wally had four divorces under his belt; Oscar could only dream. Wally wanted the big case, the big score with millions of dollars in fees. Oscar wanted only two things—divorce and retirement.
 
How the two men came to be partners in a converted house on Preston Avenue was another story. How they survived without chok­ing each other was a daily mystery.
 
Their referee was Rochelle Gibson, a robust black woman with attitude and savvy earned on the streets from which she came. Ms. Gibson handled the front—the phone, the reception, the prospective clients arriving with hope and the disgruntled ones leaving in anger, the occasional typing (though her bosses had learned if they needed something typed, it was far simpler to do it themselves), the firm dog, and, most important, the constant bickering between Oscar and Wally.
 
Years earlier, Ms. Gibson had been injured in a car wreck that was not her fault. She then compounded her troubles by hiring the law firm of Finley & Figg, though not by choice. Twenty- four hours after the crash, bombed on Percocet and laden with splints and plaster casts, Ms. Gibson had awakened to the grinning, fleshy face of Attorney Wallis Figg hovering over her hospital bed. He was wearing a set of aquamarine scrubs, had a stethoscope around his neck, and was doing a good job of impersonating a physician. Wally tricked her into signing a contract for legal representation, promised her the moon, sneaked out of the room as quietly as he’d sneaked in, then proceeded to butcher her case. She netted $40,000, which her husband drank and gambled away in a matter of weeks, which led to a divorce action filed by Oscar Finley. He also handled her bankruptcy. Ms. Gibson was not impressed with either lawyer and threatened to sue both for malpractice. This got their attention—they had been hit with similar lawsuits—and they worked hard to placate her. As her troubles multiplied, she became a fixture at the office, and with time the three became comfortable with one another.
 
Finley & Figg was a tough place for secretaries. The pay was low, the clients were generally unpleasant, the other lawyers on the phone were rude, the hours were long, but the worst part was dealing with the two partners. Oscar and Wally had tried the mature route, but the older gals couldn’t handle the pressure. They had tried youth but got themselves sued for sexual harassment when Wally couldn’t keep his paws off a busty young thing. (They settled out of court for $50,000 and got their names in the newspaper.) Rochelle Gibson happened to be at the office one morning when the then-current secretary quit and stormed out. With the phone ringing and partners yelling, Ms. Gibson moved over to the front desk and calmed things down. Then she made a pot of coffee. She was back the next day, and the next. Eight years later, she was still running the place.
 
Her two sons were in prison. Wally had been their lawyer, though in all fairness no one could have saved them. As teenagers, both boys kept Wally busy with their string of arrests on various drug charges. Their dealing got more involved, and Wally warned them repeatedly they were headed for prison, or death. He said the same to Ms. Gibson, who had little control over the boys and often prayed for prison. When their crack ring got busted, they were sent away for ten years. Wally got it reduced from twenty and received no gratitude from the boys. Ms. Gibson offered a tearful thanks. Through all their troubles, Wally never charged her a fee for his representation.
 
Over the years, there had been many tears in Ms. Gibson’s life, and they had often been shed in Wally’s office with the door locked. He gave advice and tried to help when possible, but his greatest role was that of a listener.
    
Excerpted from The Litigators by John Grisham. Copyright © 2011 by Belfry Holdings, Inc.
Excerpted by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 1085 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 1089 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2011

    Another Great Grisham Novel

    John Grisham has done it again, in my opinion. The Litigators is a face paced, fun read. He develops the characters and plot well but doesn't let it drag. Unlike some of his past offerings he doesn't run out of gas near the end of the story and just wrap things up to say he did. I highly recommend this one.

    29 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 23, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Excited

    I've read all John Grisham's books and loved each, so can't wait to read the next.

    24 out of 44 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2011

    How funny!!!

    Know that's not the usual comment for Grisham's books,but this one didn't pull any punches. Very witty and accurate descriptions of the TRUE way the legal world works. Some of the scenes had me literally laughing out loud. Guess he doesn 't care about offending anyone and I for one am glad! All of the characters were great. Bring it on!!!

    19 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 30, 2011

    Average... if you want to see the every day of a law firm

    I was surprised after I finshed the book. It is not best, but it is not your regular riveting-Grisham, to which we've all become accustomed... The book gets a bit boring at times, but still, is an OK read...

    17 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 20, 2011

    Love you John Grisham

    This is not my favorite Grisham novel but it is yet again another great Grisham read.

    14 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2011

    OK, but not great

    Not up to Grisham's usual standards. It is only a bestseller because it has his name on it. If it had been written by anyone else, it probably wouldn't have even been published.

    11 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Disappointed

    What Happened here? With reading all of Grisham books it seemed to have stories of other books entangled into this one. I felt at times it was a condensed version of past books. It is a story about mass tort case, a lawyer, and the daily life of your standard mom and pop law firm. While the story was interesting, it became boring and mudane at times. After forcing myself through some chapters, I was had a feeling of accomplishment and a lack of understanding in how this played in. While he added a bunch of jargon that I found that was unrelated to this particular story line he seemed to rush though smaller cases that was brought up in the story and rushed through them. Although Grisham being such a great author he had his standard twists and turns as he does in other books, but it was very predictiable, and was not my favorite read by Grishma to date.

    9 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2011

    Bravo grisham!

    coudnt put it down! read it and enjoy. grisham at his best




    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 2, 2011

    Another Hit that starts out slow' But hold on!

    This book starts out slow and when you get to the point of saying to yourself where is this going? Then it hits the road and your off on another JG thriller of the minds and hearts of men and women that touch the Law and are forever are changed.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2011

    Enjoyed the read, but...

    Poor AC, the company dog, was fed and watered for the first 319 pages of the book. It wasn't until page 320 that AC was let out to pee. Grisham really needs to join PETA.

    5 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2012

    Disappointing

    Not one of Grisham best work.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 31, 2011

    Not up to Grisham's standards

    This book read like it was just written because Grisham wanted to write something because he needed money or? Not what I expected, no mystery, no plot, no real story.

    LouFinley

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2011

    What happened?

    First i wondered if my taste was changing or if Mr. Grisham lost his zeal. But upon completing the book i have to say that it feels as if this book was rushed or that the author stopped caring. Kinda feels like a book written for contract puproses using name and name alone inspired this work of fiction. Halfway through i grew bored as it mutteled oger mundain matters nd used lots of words seeming to flill the blank spaces. By this time is was evident how the story would end but still, it continued to babble on and add nothing new and exciting. Also took too much time explaining itself and the characters. Im still a fan and am hoping abduction brings me back and reinvigerate me as king of torts, the firm. The partner and so on. Im hopping.......

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012

    Couldn't put it down!

    The book started off like a cozy. It has well developed characters, and, unusual in a Grisham book, it's actually funny.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2011

    Could not put down!

    3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2012

    Not my favorite Grisham book.

    Thought the litigators was a little slow, and there weren't really any characters that I was rooting for. Didn't enjoy it as much as I usually like Grisham's novels.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2012

    Terrific

    Only grisham could put so many great laughs intoa story about lawyers

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 30, 2011

    slow reading

    Although John Grisham books are usally exciting this one crawls along at a very slow pace.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 28, 2012

    I give a 3.5 to this one. While this is not really a mystery per

    I give a 3.5 to this one.
    While this is not really a mystery per se (it has no murder or any other crime in it), it is definitely engaging legal drama in the civil litigation arena. What struck me most and made it a very entertaining read is the humour - the loveable (almost Dickensian) character Wally, the ambulance chasing pet dog AC, and the loud secretary Rochelle, paired with an occasional secondary character like DeeAnna, makes a colourful ensemble of characters that litters the pages with hilarious situations and laugh out loud humour. The plot is a bit predictable, but the character casting is superb. The narrative and the prose is what I call "utilitarian." I guess this is not supposed to be literary fiction. John Grisham pulls of a nice, very satisfying, though very predictable, ending in this one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2012

    He's the master!

    Mr. Grisham owns the genre of legal thriller. A+

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 1089 Customer Reviews

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