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The Whistler Hardcover – 25 October 2016
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We expect our judges to be honest and wise. Their integrity and impartiality are the bedrock of the entire judicial system. We trust them to ensure fair trials, to protect the rights of all litigants, to punish those who do wrong, and to oversee the orderly and efficient flow of justice.
But what happens when a judge bends the law or takes a bribe? It's rare, but it happens.
Lacy Stoltz is an investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct. She is a lawyer, not a cop, and it is her job to respond to complaints dealing with judicial misconduct. After nine years with the Board, she knows that most problems are caused by incompetence, not corruption.
But a corruption case eventually crosses her desk. A previously disbarred lawyer is back in business with a new identity. He now goes by the name Greg Myers, and he claims to know of a Florida judge who has stolen more money than all other crooked judges combined. And not just crooked judges in Florida. All judges, from all states, and throughout U.S. history.
What's the source of the ill-gotten gains? It seems the judge was secretly involved with the construction of a large casino on Native American land. The Coast Mafia financed the casino and is now helping itself to a sizable skim of each month's cash. The judge is getting a cut and looking the other way. It's a sweet deal: Everyone is making money.
But now Greg wants to put a stop to it. His only client is a person who knows the truth and wants to blow the whistle and collect millions under Florida law. Greg files a complaint with the Board on Judicial Conduct, and the case is assigned to Lacy Stoltz, who immediately suspects that this one could be dangerous.
Dangerous is one thing. Deadly is something else.
--The New York Times Book Review
"A main character who's a seriously appealing woman...a whistle-blower who secretly calls attention to corruption...a strong and frightening sense of place...Grisham's on his game."
--Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"A fascinating look at judicial corruption...an entirely convincing story and one of Grisham's best. I can't think of another major American novelist since Sinclair Lewis who has so effectively targeted social and political ills in our society. In Grisham's case, it is time at least to recognize that at his best he is not simply the author of entertaining legal thrillers but an important novelistic critic of our society. In more than 30 novels, he has often used his exceptional storytelling skills to take a hard look at injustice and corruption in the legal world and in our society as a whole."
--Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post
"Grisham's latest involves the rich and powerful and an abuse of the justice system. Grisham novels are crowd-pleasers because he knows how to satisfy readers who want to see injustice crushed, and justice truly prevails for those who cannot buy influence."
"Grisham has become an institution. For more than 25 years now he's been our guide to the byways and backwaters of our legal system, superb in particular at ferreting out its vulnerabilities and dramatizing their abuse in gripping style. He excels at describing injustice and corruption. Grisham's legal knowledge is impressive, and his ability to convey it unparalleled in popular fiction."
About the Author
- Publisher : Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group (25 October 2016)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0385541198
- ISBN-13 : 978-0385541190
- Dimensions : 16.43 x 3.48 x 24.23 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 518,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The background is a casino built on Indian land in Florida. It massively enriches the Tappacola tribe whose land it occupies, but it enriches further still the ruthless and violent crime organisation – the Coast Mafia – that is working in the shadows of the background. Nor does that Mafia, or its puppets in the Native American tribe, stop at the Casino: golf courses, housing and entertainment developments follow, all of them delivering huge revenues in well-laundered money to the criminals behind them.
One of the associates of this criminal endeavour is a judge who has been delivering judgements that the gang needs, in turn for a generous share of the proceeds. They include the case Grisham describes in the prequel to this novel, ‘Witness to a Trial: a Short Story Prequel to The Whistler’, in which a Tappacola opponent to the casino is murdered and his associate is framed for the crime.
The novel starts with the matter of the judge. An anonymous tipoff, ultimately from a mysterious whistle-blowing mole who gives the novel its title, is received by the Board of Judicial Conduct. Lacy Stolz, the protagonist, has been assigned the case and we begin to follow her investigation from page 1.
Of course, there is far more than judicial misconduct at stake. Behind that single offence lies a whole criminal conspiracy. And it’s violent.
Grisham takes us into that world in a thoroughly gripping series of events. There are enough bodies on the way for us to believe it possible that they may ultimately include the people with whom we sympathise the most. So will the novel end with the gangsters coming out on top and our protagonists dead? Or, on the contrary, will the criminals be unmasked, arrested and punished?
You want to know? You’ll have to read the book. But don’t worry: you should be highly entertained on the way.
Like Camino Island this feels like a man going through the motions [to meet a deadline or a contractual obligation?], because while he's not run out of ideas he has run out of steam.
Read only if you are John Grisham completist.
There are many goodies and baddies , but the plot is simple: baddies get a crooked judge on board and illegally siphon vast funds from a native American owned casino in sunny Florida ,but the department responsible for investigating crooked judges give chase and eventually sort them out. There are interesting passages and some really hard to believe passages and overall it is far from being a page turner. It trundles on for a while and finally ends with a whimper. Perhaps the publishers new they had a dud and hence their rather sharp marketing ( see my review of Witness to a Trial...a Short Story).
I have now read several other reviews and find that I am not alone in my view.
This is a poor John Grisham novel, but a poor John Grisham is still possibly worth reading. Just don't expect too much.