The Litigators by John Grisham (Hodder & Stoughton Ltd)

I’m going to admit something many book-lovers and book reviewers will never tell you. Something you’ll never hear from a self-respecting literary snob (and something I’d deny later if it weren’t out there, online, for everyone to see)…

Sometimes, I like to read schlock.

Schlock, n (origin - Yiddish): Books, art, music or movies of a crummy or common nature. – paraphrased from

What I mean is that there’s often a time (usually on a beach holiday or while you’re sick in bed) when you want to lie back with something undemanding. Easy to read. Gripping. But entirely uncomplicated. And often formulaic.

John Grisham, by virtue of the volume of books he’s written, the short windows between them and his repetitive plots and character profiles, is producing schlock. And I’m loving it – because in an uncertain world, John’s writing guarantees my enjoyment.

I don’t even have to read the back cover.

The Litigators, his latest novel, is just as enjoyable as those before it. And very similar. It’s about – you guessed it – a bunch of lawyers.

Two-bit ambulance chasers Finley and Figg operate from their dingy little office in south-west Chicago, where they’re always listening for the welcome sound of sirens and waiting for their next big break.

They bicker, arrive at work hung-over, hide from their wives and sleep with some of their clients.

Then, thirty-something David Zinc staggers in. He’s just chucked in his impressive (read: soul-destroying) job at a top law firm and decided to do something different. To ‘slum it’ for a while.

David injects Finley & Figg with new energy, so that when the trio stumbles across the potential for a massive multi-million-dollar class action suit against a pharmaceutical giant, it seems to good to be true.

Is it?

If you like Grisham, you’ll like The Litigators. I read the book (yes, while I was on holiday), and I’m currently listening to the audio book. But please don’t expect anything unusual from our novelist friend John. He doesn’t do unusual.

(Disclaimer: The only element of this story that isn’t vintage Grisham is that it’s set in a bustling urban metropolis, instead of a town in the deep South.)

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