The Associate

The Associate

by John Grisham
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The Associate by John Grisham

Kyle McAvoy possesses an outstanding legal mind. Good-looking and affable, he has a glittering future. He also has a dark secret that could destroy his dreams, his career, even his life. One night that secret catches up with him. The men who accost Kyle have a compromising video they’ll use to ruin him–unless he does exactly what they say. What they offer Kyle is something any ambitious young lawyer would kill for: a job in Manhattan as an associate at the world’s largest law firm. If Kyle accepts, he’ll be on the fast track to partnership and a fortune. But there’s a catch. Kyle won’t be working for the firm but against it in a dispute between two powerful defense contractors worth billions. Now Kyle is caught between the criminal forces manipulating him, the FBI, and his own law firm–in a malignant conspiracy not even Kyle with all his intellect, cunning, and bravery may be able to escape alive.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385517836
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/27/2009
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 302,763
Product dimensions: 9.42(w) x 6.46(h) x 1.21(d)

About the Author

Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, John Grisham was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn't have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990.

One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.

That might have put an end to Grisham's hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career—and spark one of publishing's greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.

The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham's reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham's success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller.

Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, The Broker, Playing for Pizza, and The Appeal) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 225 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marked his first foray into non-fiction.

Grisham lives with his wife Renee and their two children Ty and Shea. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA.

Grisham took time off from writing for several months in 1996 to return, after a five-year hiatus, to the courtroom. He was honoring a commitment made before he had retired from the law to become a full-time writer: representing the family of a railroad brakeman killed when he was pinned between two cars. Preparing his case with the same passion and dedication as his books' protagonists, Grisham successfully argued his clients' case, earning them a jury award of $683,500—the biggest verdict of his career.

When he's not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes, including most recently his Rebuild The Coast Fund, which raised 8.8 million dollars for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He also keeps up with his greatest passion: baseball. The man who dreamed of being a professional baseball player now serves as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to over 350 kids on 26 Little League teams.


Oxford, Mississippi, and Albemarle County, Virginia

Date of Birth:

February 8, 1955

Place of Birth:

Jonesboro, Arkansas


B.S., Mississippi State, 1977; J.D., University of Mississippi, 1981

Customer Reviews

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The Associate 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 657 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Being an avat fan of John Grisham, I anxiously await every year for his next novel. However, the year long wait has ended in nothing but disappointment. This book moved too slow and worst of all, had no real conclusion with an ending that wasn't there. Characters were left undefined and relationships went nowhere. Worst of all, I found this book to be haphazard and not very believable.
I appreciate Mr. Grisham for his writing and that he doesn't mass produce several books a year as other prominent authors. Everyone deserves a repreive and I believe it's fair to say, this book is it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was undoubtedly the worst tease ever.

The buildup was great, the potential¿even better.

But another reviewer put it best: 'It's like Grisham had a deadline to meet or just plain gave up and ended the book'.

So many questions remained unanswered, plots unresolved and the story was wholly underdeveloped.

Don't waste your time on this 'blatant end-of-the-year-contract-filler'
Illinois_avid_reader More than 1 year ago
I enjoy Grisham. I have read all his work. This one is typical. Not one of his best, but ok. I learned again of New York big firm life. I liked the main character and thought he was believable. I enjoyed the relationship of son/father and of those with the frat brothers. But, like much of his work, the ending is weak. How many times have we read of omnipotent bad guys fading at the end. Here we get to use our imagination on potential endings, but sometimes, I just like to have it neatly wrapped up in a creative way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's like the whole last chapter is missing. The book started out great, and then Grisham must have gotten tired of writing and forgot to end it. I knew I was running out of pages and thought, "How is this thing going to end? There are too many unanswered questions. Surely he's not going to let it just fizzle out." And then he did. No ending whatsoever. I feel cheated. It's like he had to hurry up and get it over with because he had to be somewhere else. Major disappointment. People should be able to get refunds for books like this. Grisham's first few books were good and then the popularity must have gone to his head. I read a few of his later ones and said I'd never read another one. Then I picked up this one and, sure enough, I was extremely disappointed. I should have listened to that little voice that said "just borrow it from the library and then you're not out any money."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Associate was a fantastic read. Lots of enjoyable characters and a plot that keeps the pages turning. I appreciate the notion that you have to try different things to keep what you do fresh, such as A Painted House or Playing For Pizza, but the legal thriller genre is at least this reviewers favorite for John Grisham. The Associate certainly lives up to it's billing in its comparison to The Firm.
Old-Guy More than 1 year ago
It wasn't as bad as most reviewers seem to make it. It just isn't up to JG's usually high standards. The plot is a bit unbelievable, making the villain seemingly all-knowing and all powerful. The hero is a bit too naive in pursuing alternatives to the "blackmail", especially for a graduate of an elite law school. The rest of the characters are mere shells, except for the father who gets one good chapter to create a "persona".

And the ending? Simply put, it is about the worst book ending I have seen in a long time. No explanations and no justice--the hero just moves on with his life. That may be real life, but come on, this is a book and readers deserve better.

Having said all that, I still had trouble putting the book down and found JG's details about life in a mega-law firm totally engrossing. If only the plot had a few more twists and a decent ending, this WOULD have been one of his best.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I said that when I read his last book but went to the well one more time. Like the last book this one was a huge disappointment. Perhaps Mr. Grisham needs to take a sabbatical from writing. The plot was weak, the main character was weak, and the ending was pathetic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was just really getting into this book when it abruptly ended, leaving very loose ends. Must be nice to write half a book and still have it end up on the NYT's best seller list. He did his fans a disservice.
lateniterdr More than 1 year ago
What a disappointment. I tolerated the uneventful story line and sub par literary writing to find out what happened in the plot. The author left us without a who, what, and why. I was quite offended that I wasted the time reading it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is not up to Grisham standards. The ending is so anticlimatic and a great diappointment. I don't know how the publishers let him get away with this!!!
Your-Mamma More than 1 year ago
The thrilling story of a lawyer, fresh out of law school, being blacked mailed for a major New York law firm's secrets makes The Associate a captivating book. Throughout the novel John Grisham develops a plot that will fascinate any reader. The book gives an inside view to the intriguing life of fresh associates at major law firms through the character Kyle McAvoy. Kyle doesn't only have to deal with adjusting to the grueling workload of an associate, but also must worry about a grave mistake he made way back in his first years of college. Professional thugs discover Kyle's embarrassing past and use it to black mail him into committing serious crimes. Kyle, having never wanting to be a criminal, is constantly working on a scheme to free himself from the thugs grasp. With so many potential outcomes to the story, one finds themselves trying to predict the unpredictable; making this story impossible to set down. Sadly when the end arrives, ones predictions are neither confirmed nor denied. The ending, if it can even be called that, is a dull conclusion to such an exhilarating setup. Although the end is a disappointment, The Associate is still worth the read. If you exclude that last few chapters, The Associate is the definition of a well written suspense novel. It examines the theme of the importance of taking responsibility for one's actions. Also, it is a great example of how actions in your past will inevitably impact your future. Even with the unsatisfactory ending, overall the story is enthralling, making it worth one's while.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As many others have noted, Grisham's early works were excellent thrillers that kept you engaged till the end when everything came together for an awesome ending. Later books seemed like movie scripts that lost the tight writing he previously exhibited. Thought I'd give this one a try:it had great characters and it looked like we were really getting into a complex plot. I was wondering how things could ever resolve. Lo and behold they didn't! The ending was so flat and disappointing. No complex relationships were revealed - no tying together of all the pieces! I truly wish he would go back to the solid writing he used to do.
hopingforchange More than 1 year ago
I am a huge John Grisham fan but this book was a HUGE disappointment. Nothing happens in this book. It is essentially a character study of a new law school graduate and the pressures of working in a big law firm. The plot of this story never developed. I kept waiting and waiting for the twists and turns (as promised on the book's jacket) to happen but they never materialized. As I was getting towards the end of the book I kept telling myself "well there must be some big surprise at the very end" but nope that didn't happen either. This book was a total waste of my time.
RickyRM More than 1 year ago
The last time I felt like this was at a Hank William Jr. concert, and he was to drunk to sing...Total Rip Off...Shame on you John...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am so, so SO disappointed in this book. it's like Grisham gave up the end and said to himself. "You know, I really don't feel like finishing writing this book". The ending is atrocious. I am done with Grisham, I want my money back!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book held my interest right to the end. The problem is, as there got to be fewer and fewer pages left, I couldn't see how he was going to explain everything with so little left; and he didn't. The book ends without a clue as to what happened, in a number of areas.
NY_Reader1 More than 1 year ago
The text was breezy, with a conversational tone that flew by. That's probably the best I can say about this book. The main character, Kyle, was interesting enough, but the rest of the characters seemed shallow and undeveloped. I could have overlooked all of this, but the ending flat out sucked. I kept waiting for something to happen - for a shocker, or a twist. Something ... but it never came. The main character literally walked around a corner and was gone. What happened to the bad guy (Bennie)? I don't know. He just vanished quietly. If this is a setup for a sequel, I could almost see the open ending, but it just seems like the story unraveled at the end, and the author just didn't care. Further, if this were Mr. Grisham's first book, I doubt I'd ever read a second.

I hate it when a popular author does this - they sell a book based solely on their name. It's the James Patterson syndrome - crank out anything and it'll sell. It made me wish the "good for" option listed, "door stop."
JWP More than 1 year ago
I had hoped that this would be a book from Grisham that returned to the level of "The Firm" based on the previews of the book. Very ordinary and disappointing waiting for the plot to kick into high gear.........still waiting.
Mambisa More than 1 year ago
This will be the last Grisham book I read. He has gone from being my favorite author to major disappointment in the last few years. The plot is absurd. A brilliant law student whose father is an attorney is "duped" by some bullies (with scant evidence that he may have witnessed an alleged rape) into committing felonious activities post graduation. It is beyond belief that an attorney actually wrote this. And, if you think the plot is senseless... wait for the non-existing ending. It is sure to disappoint.
Pitrich More than 1 year ago
I read a 150 pages and stopped. I have to many good books awaiting me to read a boring thriller
twags80 More than 1 year ago
This book is a typical John Grisham legal thriller. Not one of the best books he has written, but I would still recommend it. The story shows the dirty side of the lawyers on Wall Street and padded billing that gives lawyers a bad reputation. Quite interesting topic considering the economic position we are in currently and all the media Wall Street is receiving. The main character is under blackmail and has to commit crimes he doesn't want to. Extortion and risky scandals are also involved throughout the book to add to the main character's problems. I thought the book had interesting twists to the characters and plot until the ending. The ending was kind of weak, and maybe a little too much was left unanswered. The reader has to fill in some blanks at the end to close the story. Overall, the novel is appealing for any John Grisham fan.
Stelan More than 1 year ago
John Grisham fails to deliver with "The Associate". The plot is somewhat plausible, however the ending leaves the reader feeling like Grisham decided to take a vacation and just end the narrative. A waste of time and money, Do not buy this book it's a terrible investment. I for one was shocked by this second rate effort from a talented writer who has delivered great stories over the years.
BACaskey More than 1 year ago
I haven't read a John Grisham book in a while and was excited when I purchased this book. I really enjoyed the lead character and was drawn in with the story line. Everything was building to an exciting, suspenseful finish and then the book just peters out. It seems like Grisham got tired of writing this book and was 'okay, I am finished now.' Overall, I good book. Just not great.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like many others have written here, I was left hanging by a non-ending. Where things should have been pulled together, explained and resolved... nothing happened. They wasted nine CD disks getting me to the place where I could feel satisfied and.... nothing. What's wrong with Grisham?... he knows better than this. Is he using a ghost writer? There is also the element of corporate or monetary disdain in some of his books. It's like he's anti-money.
SRD More than 1 year ago
Overall a good read. However, the ending was a little wack.