The Partner

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Overview

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Once he was a well-liked, well-paid young partner in a thriving Mississippi law firm. Then Patrick Lanigan stole ninety million dollars from his own firm—and ran for his life. For four years, he evaded men who were rich and powerful, and who would stop at nothing to find him. Then, inevitably, on the edge of the Brazilian jungle, they finally tracked him down.

Now Patrick is coming home. And in the Mississippi city ...

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Overview

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Once he was a well-liked, well-paid young partner in a thriving Mississippi law firm. Then Patrick Lanigan stole ninety million dollars from his own firm—and ran for his life. For four years, he evaded men who were rich and powerful, and who would stop at nothing to find him. Then, inevitably, on the edge of the Brazilian jungle, they finally tracked him down.

Now Patrick is coming home. And in the Mississippi city where it all began, an extraordinary trial is about to begin. As prosecutors circle like sharks, as Patrick’s lawyer prepares his defense, as Patrick’s lover prays for his deliverance and his former partners wait for their revenge, another story is about to emerge. Because Patrick Lanigan, the most reviled white-collar criminal of his time, knows something that no one else in the world knows. He knows the truth.

From the master of courtroom drama comes the ultimate in suspense -- The Partner, John Grisham's new spellbinding novel.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“One terrific book—smart, fast, stingingly satiric, and almost criminally entertaining.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Brilliant . . . John Grisham may well be the best American storyteller writing today.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Masterfully paced and plotted . . . [Each of Grisham’s books] should bear a warning to consumers: ‘Detrimental to sleep. You may read all night.’ ”—The Atlanta Constitution
 
“An irresistible read . . . packed with surprises.”—People

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Money is essentially the principal character in Grisham's new thriller. It is a very large sum of it. $90 million to be exact, that has motivated Gulf Coast lawyer Patrick Lanigan to concoct a scheme to disappear that is even more elaborate (if less convincing) than the one in the recent The Big Picture. It is money that drove a crooked defense contractor to try to pry loose a huge sum from Washington, and got Patrick's greedy law firm involved in the first place. And it is varying sums of money that enable Patrick to bribe his way out of a collection of indictments against him a yard long including one for first-degree murder when he is eventually found in his Brazilian hideaway and brought back to the U.S. to face the music. Already, at the end of The Runaway Jury, Grisham was displaying his fascination with the techniques of moving huge sums rapidly around the world, and here it becomes a key plot device. Even when tortured by his captors, Patrick can say he doesn't know where the money is, because only his Brazilian lover, fellow lawyer Eva Miranda, really knows and no one knows where she is. To call the plot of The Partner mechanical is at least partly a compliment: it is well-oiled, intricate and works smoothly. But its cynicism is remorseless: Lanigan is hardly a hero to warm to, despite his ingenuity (he puts on a lot of weight before his disappearance, just so he can take it off later and look altogether different). He is all calculation, and when it seems, at the end, as if someone has double-crossed him too, it is difficult to muster any sympathy. In Grisham's world money rules, and it is a sign of weakness to ignore its power. Not that the author is likely to do so, anyway; every indication is that his latest will rake it in once again.
Salon
John Grisham's new novel, The Partner, is an escapist novel about escape. It's apparently not enough that Grisham has become as prolific a purveyor of beach reading as America's got at the moment. Now he's instructed his readers on how to add an extra 50 weeks a year to their towel time.

First, you fake your death in a fiery car crash, like his protagonist, Patrick Lanigan. Next, impersonate one of your law partners and abscond with $90 million owed to a client. Finally, fly down to Rio, change your name to Danilo and lose yourself in the midst of a bazillion Brazilians. Pick up a paperback at the airport on your way in.

But not so fast. Patrick's done all this four years ago, and none of it keeps him from getting caught by ruthless bounty hunters in the first chapter (available on AOL, if AOL's available). At this point, Patrick's girlfriend springs one of only two surprises in the whole novel, but for a legal thriller, it's a lulu: She rescues him by telling the truth. She calls the FBI, whom Patrick's been fleeing since the day he disappeared, and the G-men frighten off the goons and extradite Patrick back to Mississippi, a place Patrick despises (and Grisham loves).

Ahhh, you can almost hear Grisham sigh, home-court advantage. Goodbye nasty old Rio, hello 40 chapters of interminable legal maneuverings, as Patrick plays his victims off against the Feds to regain his freedom. Reading the middle chunk of The Partner is like being sued by a really good lawyer. Between the boilerplate descriptive paragraphs and the depositions masquerading as dialogue and the interchangeable characters -- Who's this again? Better flip back -- Grisham papers you to death.

The plot doesn't have any real holes to speak of, but it doesn't have any special wrinkles, either. (At least not until the end, which actually isn't bad.) Patrick's meant to be an enigma -- so we can wonder if he's capable of having killed the corpse that passed for him in the car wreck -- but he comes off as more of a cipher instead. Grisham's use of language isn't embarrassing, except perhaps cumulatively, when you get near the end and realize he hasn't turned a single memorable phrase. This reviewer's quotational tweezers hovered over every page, but Grisham's patented non-stick prose resists plucking.

The Partner could have been an interesting book. It's always chancy to label themes as peculiarly American -- as if one country could corner the market on individualism, say, or self-reliance -- but the idea of thwarted escape does seem to tempt us endlessly, from Huck Finn clear up through Rabbit, Run. Grisham senses this, and flirts with it a couple of times, but he's too busy filing countermotions to make much hay out of it. By the end of The Partner, we find out pretty much the same thing Patrick did during his Brazilian getaway: Escapism's no fun if you have to keep looking behind you, whether for shady characters or, in the reader's case, half-forgotten ones. March 7, 1997-- David Kipen

Kirkus Reviews
Grisham (The Client, 1993, etc.) justifies a colossal first printing of 2.8 million copies with his best-plotted novel yet, gripping the reader mightily and not letting go. Nor is there the dispersal of belief that often follows his knockout openings.

Patrick Lanigan is tracked down to his hideout in Brazil, where he lives modestly near the Paraguayan border. Surely, Jack Stephano thinks, Patrick could not have spent the $90 million he ran off with four years ago. Jack has spent $3 million tracking Patrick down, and he wants that money. He wants it so much that he's blithely torturing Patrick to discover its location. The problem is that Patrick doesn't really know. He's given power of attorney to his lover, the brilliant Brazilian lawyer Eva Miranda, and she has been shuttling the money from bank to bank around the world, keeping it untraceable. When Patrick fails to call her at four in the afternoon, per usual, she skips out, as they've planned, and goes into hiding. And as planned, she phones the FBI office in Biloxi, Mississippi, and tells them that one Jack Stephano has very likely captured Patrick and is holding him in Brazil. The FBI puts pressure on Stephano to bring Patrick back to Biloxi, where the embezzlement took place and where Patrick's cremated remains were buried after his car went over an embankment. Patrick even attended his own funeral, watching through binoculars. As it turns out, the $90 million he ran off with was dirty money his law firm had helped collect in a criminal conspiracy to rob the government. Will the money be returned? Will Patrick escape trial for the murder of whoever it was that died in that accident? And what of Eva, now hiding in the States and helping Patrick orchestrate his defense?

Grisham comes up with a masterfully bittersweet end (with his title taking on a sly double edge) that may be his most satisfying ever.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345531957
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/28/2012
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 90,245
  • Product dimensions: 7.58 (w) x 4.18 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author

John Grisham is the author of twenty-three novels, including, most recently, The Litigators; one work of nonfiction, a collection of stories, and a novel for young readers. He is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Innocence Project at the University of Mississippi School of Law. He lives in Virginia and Mississippi.

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

They found him in Ponta Porã;, a pleasant little town in Brazil, on the border of Paraguay, in a land still known as the Frontier.

They found him living in a shaded brick house on Rua Tiradentes, a wide avenue with trees down the center and barefoot boys dribbling soccer balls along the hot pavement.

They found him alone, as best they could tell, though a maid came and went at odd hours during the eight days they hid and watched.

They found him living a comfortable life but certainly not one of luxury.  The house was modest and could've been owned by any local merchant.  The car was a 1983 Volkswagen Beetle, manufactured in Sao Paulo with a million others.  It was red and clean, polished to a shine.  Their first photo of him was snapped as he waxed it just inside the gate to his short driveway.

They found him much thinner, down considerably from the two hundred and thirty pounds he'd been carrying when last seen.  His hair and skin were darker, his chin had been squared, and his nose had been slightly pointed.  Subtle changes to the face.  They'd paid a steep bribe to the surgeon in Rio who'd performed the alterations two and a half years earlier.

They found him after four years of tedious but diligent searching, four years of dead ends and lost trails and false tips, four years of pouring good money down the drain, good money chasing bad, it seemed.

But they found him.  And they waited.  There was at first the desire to snatch him immediately, to drug him and smuggle him to a safe house in Paraguay, to seize him before he saw them or before a neighbor became suspicious.  The initial excitement of the finding made them consider a quick strike, but after two days they settled down and waited.  They loitered at various points along Rua Tiradentes, dressed like the locals, drinking tea in the shade, avoiding the sun, eating ice cream, talking to the children, watching his house.  They tracked him as he drove downtown to shop, and they photographed him from across the street as he left the pharmacy.  They eased very near him in a fruit market and listened as he spoke to the clerk.  Excellent Portuguese, with the very slight accent of an American or a German who'd studied hard.  He moved quickly downtown, gathering his goods and returning home, where he locked the gate behind him.  His brief shopping trip yielded a dozen fine photos.

He had jogged in a prior life, though in the months before he disappeared his mileage shrunk as his weight ballooned.  Now that he teetered on the brink of emaciation, they were not surprised to see him running again.  He left his house, locking the gate behind him, and began a slow trot down the sidewalk along Rua Tiradentes.  Nine minutes for the first mile, as the street went perfectly straight and the houses grew farther apart.  The pavement turned to gravel on the edge of town, and halfway into the second mile his pace was down to eight minutes a mile and Danilo had himself a nice sweat.  It was midday in October, the temperature near eighty, and he gained speed as he left town, past a small clinic packed with young mothers, past a small church the Baptists had built.  The roads became dustier as he headed for the countryside at seven minutes a mile.

The running was serious business, and it pleased them mightily.  Danilo would simply run into their arms.

The day after the first sighting, a small unclean cottage on the edge of Ponta Porã; was rented by a Brazilian named Osmar, and before long the rest of the pursuit team poured in.  It was an equal mix of Americans and Brazilians, with Osmar giving the orders in Portuguese and Guy barking in English.  Osmar could handle both languages, and had become the official interpreter for the team.

Guy was from Washington, an ex-government type who'd been hired to find Danny Boy, as he'd been nicknamed.  Guy was considered a genius at some levels and immensely talented at others, and his past was a black hole.  He was well into his fifth one-year contract to find Danny Boy, and there was a nice bonus for snagging the prey.  Though he hid it well, Guy had been slowly cracking under the pressure of not finding Danny Boy.

Four years and three and a half million dollars, with nothing to show for it.

But now they'd found him.

Osmar and his band of Brazilians had not the slightest hint of Danny Boy's sins, but a fool could see that he'd disappeared and taken a trainload of money.  And, although he was very curious about Danny Boy, Osmar had learned quickly not to ask questions.  Guy and the Americans had nothing to say on the subject.

The pictures of Danny Boy were enlarged to eight by tens, and tacked along a wall in the kitchen of the dirty little cottage where they were studied by grim men with hard eyes, men who chain-smoked strong cigarettes and shook their heads at the photos.  They whispered among themselves and compared the new photos to the old ones, the ones from his previous life.  Smaller man, odd chin, different nose.  His hair was shorter and his skin darker.  Was it really him?

They had been through this before, in Recife, on the northeastern coast, nineteen months earlier when they'd rented an apartment and looked at photos on the wall until the decision was made to grab the American and check his fingerprints.  Wrong prints.  Wrong American.  They pumped some more drugs in him and left him in a ditch.

They were afraid to dig too deeply into the current life of Danilo Silva.  If he was in fact their man, then he had plenty of money.  And cash always worked wonders with the local authorities.  For decades, cash had bought protection for Nazis and other Germans who'd smuggled themselves into Ponta Porã;.

Osmar wanted to grab him.  Guy said they'd wait.  He vanished on the fourth day, and the dirty little cottage was in chaos for thirty-six hours.

They saw him leave home in the red Beetle.  He was in a hurry, came the report. He raced across town to the airport, jumped on a small commuter at the last moment, and was gone.  His car was parked in the only lot, and they watched it every second of every hour.  The plane was headed in the general direction of Sao Paulo, with four stops in between.

There was instantly a plan to enter his home and catalog everything.  There had to be records.  The money had to be tended to.  Guy dreamed of finding bank statements, wire transfer reports, account summaries; all sorts of documents arranged in a neat portfolio which would lead him directly to the money.

But he knew better.  If Danny Boy ran because of them, then he would never leave behind the evidence.  And if he was in fact their man, then his home would be carefully secured.  Danny Boy, wherever he was, would probably know the instant they opened his door or window.

They waited.  They cursed and argued and strained even more under the pressure. Guy made his daily call to Washington, a nasty one.  They watched the red Beetle.  Each arrival brought out the binoculars and cell phones.  Six flights the first day.  Five the second.  The dirty little cottage grew hot and the men settled outdoors—the Americans napping under a scrawny shade tree in the backyard and the Brazilians playing cards along the fence in the front.

Guy and Osmar took a long drive and vowed to grab him if he ever returned. Osmar was confident he would be back.  Probably just out of town on business, whatever his business was.  They'd snatch him, identify him, and if he happened to be the wrong man they'd simply throw him in a ditch and run.  It had happened before.

He returned on the fifth day.  They trailed him back to Rua Tiradentes, and everybody was happy.

On the eighth day, the dirty cottage emptied as all the Brazilians and all the Americans took their positions.

The course was a six-miler.  He had covered it each day he'd been home, leaving at almost the same time, wearing the same blue and orange runner's shorts, well-worn Nikes, ankle socks, no shirt.

The perfect spot was two and a half miles from his house, over a small hill on a gravel road, not far from his turning-around point.  Danilo topped the hill twenty minutes into his run, a few seconds ahead of schedule.  He ran harder, for some reason.  Probably the clouds.

A small car with a flat tire was just over the hill, blocking the road, trunk opened, its rear jacked up.  Its driver was a burly young man who pretended to be startled at the sight of the skinny racer sweating and panting as he topped the hill.  Danilo slowed for a second.  There was more room to the right.

"Bom dia," the burly young man said as he took a step toward Danilo.

"Bom dia," Danilo said, approaching the car.

The driver suddenly pulled a large shiny pistol from the trunk and shoved it into Danilo's face.  He froze, his eyes locked onto the gun, his mouth open with heavy breathing.  The driver had thick hands and long, stout arms.  He grabbed Danilo by the neck and yanked him roughly toward the car, then down to the bumper.  He stuck the pistol in a pocket and with both hands folded Danilo into the trunk.  Danny Boy struggled and kicked, but was no match.

The driver slammed the trunk shut, lowered the car, tossed the jack into the ditch, and drove off.  A mile away, he turned on to a narrow dirt path where his pals were anxiously waiting.

They tied nylon ropes around Danny Boy's wrists and a black cloth over his eyes, then shoved him into the back of a van.  Osmar sat to his right, another Brazilian to his left.  Someone removed his keys from the Velcro runner's pouch stuck to his waist.  Danilo said nothing as the van started and began moving. He was still sweating and breathing even harder.

When the van stopped on a dusty road near a farm field, Danilo uttered his first words.  "What do you want?" he asked, in Portuguese.

"Don't speak," came the reply from Osmar, in English.  The Brazilian to Danilo's left removed a syringe from a small metal box and deftly filled it with a potent liquid.  Osmar pulled Danilo's wrists tightly toward him while the other man jabbed the needle into his upper arm.  He stiffened and jerked, then realized it was hopeless.  He actually relaxed as the last of the drug entered his body.  His breathing slowed; his head began to wobble.  When his chin hit his chest, Osmar gently, with his right index finger, raised the shorts on Danilo's right leg, and found exactly what he expected to find.  Pale skin.

The running kept him thin, and it also kept him brown.

Kidnappings were all too common in the Frontier.  Americans were easy targets. But why him?  Danilo asked himself this as his head wobbled and his eyes closed.  He smiled as he fell through space, dodging comets and meteors, grabbing at moons and grinning through entire galaxies.

They stuffed him under some cardboard boxes filled with melons and berries. The border guards nodded without leaving their chairs, and Danny Boy was now in Paraguay, though he couldn't have cared less at the moment.  He bounced happily along on the floor of the van as the roads grew worse and the terrain steeper. Osmar chain-smoked and occasionally pointed this way and that.  An hour after they grabbed him, they found the last turn.  The cabin was in a crevice between two pointed hills, barely visible from the narrow dirt road.  They carried him like a sack of meal and poured him onto a table in the den where Guy and the fingerprint man went to work.

Danny Boy snored heavily as prints were made of all eight fingers and both thumbs.  The Americans and the Brazilians crowded around, watching every move. There was unopened whiskey in a box by the door, just in case this was the real Danny Boy.

The print man left abruptly and went to a room in the back where he locked the door and spread the fresh prints before him.  He adjusted his lighting.  He removed the master set, those freely given by Danny Boy when he was much younger, back when he was Patrick and seeking admission to the State Bar of Louisiana.  Odd, this fingerprinting of lawyers.

Both sets were in fine shape, and it was immediately obvious they were a perfect match.  But he meticulously checked all ten.  There was no hurry.  Let them wait out there.  He rather enjoyed the moment.  He finally opened the door and frowned hard at the dozen faces searching his.  Then he smiled.  "It's him," he said, in English, and they actually clapped.

Guy approved the whiskey, but only in moderation.  There was more work to do. Danny Boy, still comatose, was given another shot and carried to a small bedroom with no window and a heavy door which locked from the outside.  It was here that he would be interrogated, and tortured, if necessary.

The barefoot boys playing soccer in the street were too involved in their game to look up.  Danny Boy's key ring had only four keys on it, and so the small front gate was unlocked quickly, and left open.  An accomplice in a rented car came to a stop near a large tree four houses down.  Another, on a motorbike, parked himself at the other end of the street and began tinkering with his brakes.

If a security system started howling upon entry, the intruder would simply run and never be seen again.  If not, then he would lock himself in and take inventory.

The door opened without sirens.  The security panel on the wall informed whoever might be looking that the system was disarmed.  He breathed lightly and stood perfectly still for a full minute, then began to move around.  He removed the hard drive from Danny Boy's PC, and collected all the disks.  He rummaged through files on his desk, but found nothing but routine bills, some paid, others waiting.  The fax was cheap and featureless, and declared itself to be out of order.  He took photos of clothing, food, furniture, bookshelves, magazine racks.

Five minutes after the door opened, a silent signal was activated in Danilo's attic and a phone call was placed to a private security firm eleven blocks away, in downtown Ponta Porã;.  The call went unanswered because the security consultant on duty was swaying gently in a hammock out back.  A recorded message from Danilo's house informed whoever was supposed to be listening that there was a break-in.  Fifteen minutes passed before human ears heard the message.  By the time the consultant raced to Danilo's house, the intruder was gone.  So was Mr.  Silva.  Everything appeared to be in order, including the Beetle under the carport.  The house and gate were locked.

The directions in the file were specific.  On such alarms, do not call the police.  Try first to locate Mr. Silva, and in the event he cannot be found at once, then call a number in Rio.  Ask for Eva Miranda.

With barely suppressed excitement, Guy made his daily call to Washington.  He actually closed his eyes and smiled when he uttered the words, "It's him."  His voice was an octave higher.

There was a pause on the other end.  Then, "You're certain?"

"Yes.  Prints are a perfect match."

Another pause while Stephano arranged his thoughts, a process that usually took milliseconds.  "The money?"

"We haven't started yet.  He's still drugged."

"When?"

"Tonight."

"I'm by the phone."  Stephano hung up, though he could've talked for hours.

Guy

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First Chapter

CHAPTER ONE

THEY FOUND HIM in Ponta Pora, a pleasant little town in Brazil, on the border of Paraguay, in a land still known as the Frontier.

They found him living in a shaded brick house on Rua Tiradentes, a wide avenue with trees down the center and barefoot boys dribbling soccer balls along the hot pavement.

They found him alone, as best they could tell, though a maid came and went at odd hours during the eight days they hid and watched.

They found him living a comfortable life but certainly not one of luxury. The house was modest and could've been owned by any local merchant. The car was a 1983 Volkswagen Beetle, manufactured in Sao Paulo with a million others. It was red and clean, polished to a shine. Their first photo of him was snapped as he waxed it just inside the gate to his short driveway.

They found him much thinner, down considerably from the two hundred and thirty pounds he'd been carrying when last seen. His hair and skin were darker, his chin had been squared, and his nose had been slightly pointed. Subtle changes to the face. They'd paid a steep bribe to the surgeon in Rio who'd performed the alterations two and a half years earlier.

They found him after four years of tedious but diligent searching, four years of dead ends and lost trails and false tips, four years of pouring good money down the drain, good money chasing bad, it seemed.

But they found him. And they waited. There was at first the desire to snatch him immediately, to drug him and smuggle him to a safe house in Paraguay, to seize him before he saw them or before a neighbor became suspicious. The initial excitement of the finding made them consider a quick strike, but after two days they settled down and waited. They loitered at various points along Rua Tiradentes, dressed like the locals, drinking tea in the shade, avoiding the sun, eating ice cream, talking to the children, watching his house. They tracked him as he drove downtown to shop, and they photographed him from across the street as he left the pharmacy. They eased very near him in a fruit market and listened as he spoke to the clerk. Excellent Portuguese, with the very slight accent of an American or a German who'd studied hard. He moved quickly downtown, gathering his goods and returning home, where he locked the gate behind him. His brief shopping trip yielded a dozen fine photos.

He had jogged in a prior life, though in the months before he disappeared his mileage shrunk as his weight ballooned. Now that he teetered on the brink of emaciation, they were not surprised to see him running again. He left his house, locking the gate behind him, and began a slow trot down the sidewalk along Rua Tiradentes. Nine minutes for the first mile, as the street went perfectly straight and the houses grew farther apart. The pavement turned to gravel on the edge of town, and halfway into the second mile his pace was down to eight minutes a mile and Danilo had himself a nice sweat. It was midday in October, the temperature near eighty, and he gained speed as he left town, past a small clinic packed with young mothers, past a small church the Baptists had built. The roads became dustier as he headed for the countryside at seven minutes a mile.

The running was serious business, and it pleased them mightily. Danilo would simply run into their arms.

THE DAY after the first sighting, a small unclean cottage on the edge of Ponta Pora was rented by a Brazilian named Osmar, and before long the rest of the pursuit team poured in. It was an equal mix of Americans and Brazilians, with Osmar giving the orders in Portuguese and Guy barking in English. Osmar could handle both languages, and had become the official interpreter for the team.

Guy was from Washington, an ex-government type who'd been hired to find Danny Boy, as he'd been nicknamed. Guy was considered a genius at some levels and immensely talented at others, and his past was a black hole. He was well into his fifth one-year contract to find Danny Boy, and there was a nice bonus for snagging the prey. Though he hid it well, Guy had been slowly cracking under the pressure of not finding Danny Boy.

Four years and three and a half million dollars, with nothing to show for it.

But now they'd found him.

Osmar and his band of Brazilians had not the slightest hint of Danny Boy's sins, but a fool could see that he'd disappeared and taken a trainload of money. And, although he was very curious about Danny Boy, Osmar had learned quickly not to ask questions. Guy and the Americans had nothing to say on the subject.

The pictures of Danny Boy were enlarged to eight by tens, and tacked along a wall in the kitchen of the dirty little cottage where they were studied by grim men with hard eyes, men who chain-smoked strong cigarettes and shook their heads at the photos. They whispered among themselves and compared the new photos to the old ones, the ones from his previous life. Smaller man, odd chin, different nose. His hair was shorter and his skin darker. Was it really him?

They had been through this before, in Recife, on the northeastern coast, nineteen months earlier when they'd rented an apartment and looked at photos on the wall until the decision was made to grab the American and check his fingerprints. Wrong prints. Wrong American. They pumped some more drugs in him and left him in a ditch.

They were afraid to dig too deeply into the current life of Danilo Silva. If he was in fact their man, then he had plenty of money. And cash always worked wonders with the local authorities. For decades, cash had bought protection for Nazis and other Germans who'd smuggled themselves into Ponta Pora.

Osmar wanted to grab him. Guy said they'd wait. He vanished on the fourth day, and the dirty little cottage was in chaos for thirty-six hours.

They saw him leave home in the red Beetle. He was in a hurry, came the report. He raced across town to the airport, jumped on a small commuter at the last moment, and was gone. His car was parked in the only lot, and they watched it every second of every hour. The plane was headed in the general direction of Sao Paulo, with four stops in between.

There was instantly a plan to enter his home and catalog everything. There had to be records. The money had to be tended to. Guy dreamed of finding bank statements, wire transfer reports, account summaries; all sorts of documents arranged in a neat portfolio which would lead him directly to the money.

But he knew better. If Danny Boy ran because of them, then he would never leave behind the evidence. And if he was in fact their man, then his home would be carefully secured. Danny Boy, wherever he was, would probably know the instant they opened his door or window.

They waited. They cursed and argued and strained even more under the pressure. Guy made his daily call to Washington, a nasty one. They watched the red Beetle. Each arrival brought out the binoculars and cell phones. Six flights the first day. Five the second. The dirty little cottage grew hot and the men settled outdoors--the Americans napping under a scrawny shade tree in the backyard and the Brazilians playing cards along the fence in the front.

Guy and Osmar took a long drive and vowed to grab him if he ever returned. Osmar was confident he would be back. Probably just out of town on business, whatever his business was. They'd snatch him, identify him, and if he happened to be the wrong man they'd simply throw him in a ditch and run. It had happened before.

He returned on the fifth day. They trailed him back to Rua Tiradentes, and everybody was happy.

[] [] [] []

ON THE EIGHTH DAY, the dirty cottage emptied as all the Brazilians and all the Americans took their positions.

The course was a six-miler. He had covered it each day he'd been home, leaving at almost the same time, wearing the same blue and orange runner's shorts, well-worn Nikes, ankle socks, no shirt.

The perfect spot was two and a half miles from his house, over a small hill on a gravel road, not far from his turning-around point. Danilo topped the hill twenty minutes into his run, a few seconds ahead of schedule. He ran harder, for some reason. Probably the clouds.

A small car with a flat tire was just over the hill, blocking the road, trunk opened, its rear jacked up. Its driver was a burly young man who pretended to be startled at the sight of the skinny racer sweating and panting as he topped the hill. Danilo slowed for a second. There was more room to the right.

"Bom dia," the burly young man said as he took a step toward Danilo.

"Bom dia," Danilo said, approaching the car.

The driver suddenly pulled a large shiny pistol from the trunk and shoved it into Danilo's face. He froze, his eyes locked onto the gun, his mouth open with heavy breathing. The driver had thick hands and long, stout arms. He grabbed Danilo by the neck and yanked him roughly toward the car, then down to the bumper. He stuck the pistol in a pocket and with both hands folded Danilo into the trunk. Danny Boy struggled and kicked, but was no match.

The driver slammed the trunk shut, lowered the car, tossed the jack into the ditch, and drove off. A mile away, he turned on to a narrow dirt path where his pals were anxiously waiting.

They tied nylon ropes around Danny Boy's wrists and a black cloth over his eyes, then shoved him into the back of a van. Osmar sat to his right, another Brazilian to his left. Someone removed his keys from the Velcro runner's pouch stuck to his waist. Danilo said nothing as the van started and began moving. He was still sweating and breathing even harder.

When the van stopped on a dusty road near a farm field, Danilo uttered his first words. "What do you want?" he asked, in Portuguese.

"Don't speak," came the reply from Osmar, in English. The Brazilian to Danilo's left removed a syringe from a small metal box and deftly filled it with a potent liquid. Osmar pulled Danilo's wrists tightly toward him while the other man jabbed the needle into his upper arm. He stiffened and jerked, then realized it was hopeless. He actually relaxed as the last of the drug entered his body. His breathing slowed; his head began to wobble. When his chin hit his chest, Osmar gently, with his right index finger, raised the shorts on Danilo's right leg, and found exactly what he expected to find. Pale skin.

The running kept him thin, and it also kept him brown.

Kidnappings were all too common in the Frontier. Americans were easy targets. But why him? Danilo asked himself this as his head wobbled and his eyes closed. He smiled as he fell through space, dodging comets and meteors, grabbing at moons and grinning through entire galaxies.

THEY STUFFED HIM under some cardboard boxes filled with melons and berries. The border guards nodded without leaving their chairs, and Danny Boy was now in Paraguay, though he couldn't have cared less at the moment. He bounced happily along on the floor of the van as the roads grew worse and the terrain steeper. Osmar chain-smoked and occasionally pointed this way and that. An hour after they grabbed him, they found the last turn. The cabin was in a crevice between two pointed hills, barely visible from the narrow dirt road. They carried him like a sack of meal and poured him onto a table in the den where Guy and the fingerprint man went to work.

Danny Boy snored heavily as prints were made of all eight fingers and both thumbs. The Americans and the Brazilians crowded around, watching every move. There was unopened whiskey in a box by the door, just in case this was the real Danny Boy.

The print man left abruptly and went to a room in the back where he locked the door and spread the fresh prints before him. He adjusted his lighting. He removed the master set, those freely given by Danny Boy when he was much younger, back when he was Patrick and seeking admission to the State Bar of Louisiana. Odd, this fingerprinting of lawyers.

Both sets were in fine shape, and it was immediately obvious they were a perfect match. But he meticulously checked all ten. There was no hurry. Let them wait out there. He rather enjoyed the moment. He finally opened the door and frowned hard at the dozen faces searching his. Then he smiled. "It's him," he said, in English, and they actually clapped.

Guy approved the whiskey, but only in moderation. There was more work to do. Danny Boy, still comatose, was given another shot and carried to a small bedroom with no window and a heavy door which locked from the outside. It was here that he would be interrogated, and tortured, if necessary.

THE BAREFOOT BOYS playing soccer in the street were too involved in their game to look up. Danny Boy's key ring had only four keys on it, and so the small front gate was unlocked quickly, and left open. An accomplice in a rented car came to a stop near a large tree four houses down. Another, on a motorbike, parked himself at the other end of the street and began tinkering with his brakes.

If a security system started howling upon entry, the intruder would simply run and never be seen again. If not, then he would lock himself in and take inventory.

The door opened without sirens. The security panel on the wall informed whoever might be looking that the system was disarmed. He breathed lightly and stood perfectly still for a full minute, then began to move around. He removed the hard drive from Danny Boy's PC, and collected all the disks. He rummaged through files on his desk, but found nothing but routine bills, some paid, others waiting. The fax was cheap and featureless, and declared itself to be out of order. He took photos of clothing, food, furniture, bookshelves, magazine racks.

Five minutes after the door opened, a silent signal was activated in Danilo's attic and a phone call was placed to a private security firm eleven blocks away, in downtown Ponta Pora. The call went unanswered because the security consultant on duty was swaying gently in a hammock out back. A recorded message from Danilo's house informed whoever was supposed to be listening that there was a break-in. Fifteen minutes passed before human ears heard the message. By the time the consultant raced to Danilo's house, the intruder was gone. So was Mr. Silva. Everything appeared to be in order, including the Beetle under the carport. The house and gate were locked.

The directions in the file were specific. On such alarms, do not call the police. Try first to locate Mr. Silva, and in the event he cannot be found at once, then call a number in Rio. Ask for Eva Miranda.

WITH BARELY suppressed excitement, Guy made his daily call to Washington. He actually closed his eyes and smiled when he uttered the words, "It's him." His voice was an octave higher.

There was a pause on the other end. Then, "You're certain?"

"Yes. Prints are a perfect match."

Another pause while Stephano arranged his thoughts, a process that usually took milliseconds. "The money?"

"We haven't started yet. He's still drugged."

"When?"

"Tonight."

"I'm by the phone." Stephano hung up, though he could've talked for hours.

Guy found a perch on a stump behind the cabin. The vegetation was dense, the air thin and cool. The soft voices of happy men drifted up to him. The ordeal was over, for the most part.

He had just earned an extra fifty thousand dollars. Finding the money would mean another bonus, and he was certain he'd find the money.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 694 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 5, 2009

    Not one of Grisham's better efforts

    I must make an admission...I have been a big fan of John Grisham for a long time. I know that this book was written over a decade ago. I'm still playing catchup with my reading. I have four entire shelves of books to be read and I keep adding to the stack faster than I can read them. Such is the burden of a lover of books. Anyway, as with most of John Grisham's other books, this one revolves around a lawyer and the wranglings of the legal system. I have read all of his novels prior to this one (the others are in the "to be read" column). At 366 pages, it is a pretty quick read. As with all of my reviews of fiction, I won't ruin the ending. The story is of a former lawyer - Patrick Lanigan - turned thief...a thief to the tune of $90 million. Stolen from his law firm after faking his own death. the story picks up from the time he is apprehended, 4 years after he fled, first by those who want the money back and then by the FBI. The story twists around through a web of agendas including his reasons for leaving his wife and child. It is a page-turner that keeps a rapid pace with a great deal of action, especially early on. However, compared with the rest of Grisham's legal thrillers, this one is somewhat weak in two areas. The story is pretty far fetched. A great deal of bungling by an awful lot of people is required for this story to work. In addition, it is pretty predictable, especially from the mid-point of the book forward.


    While I would not go so far as to say that the book was a disappointment, it was not one of Grisham's better efforts. In spite of it's problems, though, it is still a pretty good story.

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Partner

    After dancing around Grisham for awhile I finally grabbed The Partner and became hooked on his novels. The power of greed and ultimately the impact on people caught up in it are showcased in this book. I enjoyed the characters and the book flowed so well I had to force myself to put it down at night. A legal thriller that was fun to read.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 6, 2008

    The Partner

    The Partner is a great mystery about the search for the truth. I loved this book, as I do all John Grisham novels. The Partner is about a new partner, Patrick Lanigan, to a little firm in Biloxi, Mississippi who finds out about an illegal deal in which the other partners are involved. Patrick learns that the other partners plan to fire him right before conducting the deal which is worth ninety million dollars. Patrick decides he will not let this happen, instead he will disappear. Patrick bugs the entire firm and all the partners¿ offices in order to learn everything about the deal before he makes his move. He decides to also take out a two million dollar life insurance policy for his unfaithful wife and infant daughter (who really isn¿t his). Just before the deal is expected to take place and Patrick is going to be let go, he dies in a fiery car crash leaving behind hardly any bodily remains. The case is pretty straight forward and within a couple of days his charred bones are cremated. The morning the deal takes place, right as the money arrives from the client at a bank in the Bahamas, it vanishes. The money disappears. It was transferred from the bank by an imposter without a trace. The client and the firm hire private investigators and after years and years of chasing, they get an anonymous tip that Patrick Lanigan is living in Brazil. From this point on, the novel is a mystery as we find out how Patrick did it and how his life will turn out after his capture (it¿s not what you¿d expect).

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2013

    Maria A.

    I am an avid reader and carefully select my reads. This book had a great story line, and I had a hard time putting it down.there was no way to figure out how the character would make out until it was actually told. I'm only disappointed in the ending, because once it started to unravel, it ended quite quickly. I'd read it again.


    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 29, 2010

    One of his Best ever.

    I really liked the Partner. It was fast moving and always exciting. I have read many of John Grisham's books and would rate this very high on the list. If you are looking for a fast moving book that will keep the pages turning and the suspense coming take a look at this one.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2006

    favorite grisham

    My favorite part about this book is that it really keeps you interested. I could not wait to see what had happened to Danilo and his past, and how it all would work out for him.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2012

    Great book

    Must read

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 18, 2010

    My favorite John Grisham book of all time

    Stealing money from the mob has never been known to be the most brilliant of ideas, but this story explains the consequences of doing just that. Grisham gives the reader a thrill ride and a morality tale all in one.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2000

    'To Tell The Truth???'

    Quite a few years ago, there was a television show called ¿To Tell the Truth¿ in which a celebrity panel, egged on by a celebrity moderator, would try to guess which of three guest panelists, when quizzed about their lives and circumstances, would turn out to be the actual named person. The game always ended in the command ¿Will the real `John Doe¿ please stand up¿, at which point our suspense was relieved and we all got to congratulate or commiserate on our own candidate of choice. And so with our now famous author, some times I feel like saying ¿Will the real John Grisham please stand up.¿ In Partner, this is not (to my mind, thankfully) the slow-paced dramatist of book one, A Time to Kill, or book five, The Chamber, the latter of which I predicted would never be a movie (wrong!) for its dullness and lack of intrigue (right!). Nor is this the social commentator proselytizing in The Rainmaker (wife abuse is bad) or The Runaway Jury (smoking is bad), although at least these two gave us moderately satisfying page-turners. Nope -- the good news is that our clever creator of Pelican Brief, The Client, and The Firm is back, with all the complexities of plot, action and thrills, even an ironic twist at the end, to captivate our imaginations and keep us up until three in the morning with no regrets. And make no mistake, this movie will be a barn burner -- the only question being how many millions more will it dump into the Grisham coffers. By now, you may have heard snatches of the plot. I hate to spoil the story, but the gist is that a successful young law firm partner ¿dies¿ in an accident, only to be discovered years later hiding abroad with close to eight figures in stolen loot. [Relax -- all that becomes clear in chapter one of forty-three, so I¿m hardly giving away the plot...] What follows are the intricacies of legal maneuvers and one-up-man-ship by our hero, as he masterminds his own extrication from prison, while gradually spinning the whole incredible yarn through various conversations meted out carefully enough to keep us turning pages into the wee hours. So, for me, the best John Grisham has indeed stood up -- with riveting story telling, political and social insight into the mechanisms of lawyering, and a tale that engrosses from start to finish. Can¿t wait for the movie !

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2013

    Boring.

    Nothing much happened. Too much talking.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2013

    Baylee Webb

    I will read this book

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2013

    Good read

    One of his best books since The Firm. I've liked most of all his books but this is one of his best.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 19, 2012

    definitely recommend it

    an excellent Grisham novel. Couldn't put it down..

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2012

    Good but not great

    First, I will admit that I am probably the biggest of Grisham's fans, as far as his legal thrillers. He really knows his subject matter as was evident in greats such as A Time to Kill and The Rainmaker. But for some reason, I didn't particularly care for the characters in this novel. Patrick Lanigan is not in the same realm of protagonists as Jake Brigance, Darby Shaw, or Rudy Baylor, just to name a few. It was a pretty quick read packed with your typical Grisham suspense, but the lack of sympathy I had for the characters kept it from getting 4 or 5 stars from me.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2012

    Top notch

    My favorite author with one of my top two favorite books. Love it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2012

    Good book

    Good book. Th ending was a surprise

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 22, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Please read this book,i will not be dissapointed.

    This a very good story. i love it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2012

    Pretty good book.

    Sucked me in very quickly! Wich was great because my hisb and kept reccomending it and just because he did I refused to read it for a long time but it was pretty damn good! Just read it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 22, 2012

    Great read but the ending left me wanting more.

    You will not want to put it down.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 18, 2012

    An Awesome Read

    I could not put this book down. I loved the story and of course the ending was totally unexpected. Great escape reading.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 694 Customer Reviews

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