The Partner

By: John Grisham

Rating: 70%

Brief Summary: A partner steals millions of dollars, and moves to South America, but four years later he is caught. Then, the beginning of the book starts off.

The Partner is another case of a decent plot taken from the wrong angle. First, here is a basic plot summary.

The story begins quickly in chapter one by introducing to us a man named Patrick Lanigan. He steals ninety million dollars from his law firm. Then he proceeds to fake his own death - and takes off running. After four years in Brazil, where he hides, he is caught by American bounty hunters. Patrick is then turned over to the FBI.

This is all basically summed up in the first thirty pages.

I believe Grisham should have written the entire story about this aspect of the story. Instead, it picks up after all of this happens, and allows the audience (hurray!) to listen to Patrick reveal his story slowly over the next redundant 400 odd pages. I would describe the plot in more detail, but this review is being written two weeks after the novel was read. Unfortunately, this book was so dull - recollecting some of the plot points is a struggle. Now I admit potentially the plot sounds interesting and clever - but the final product is not.

Another issue I had with this novel is the lead character. Rudy Baylor of The Rainmaker is a great character. The characters from Grisham's other books tend to be above average. Patrick Lanigan, however, is one of the most unlikable central characters of all his books (until I read The Street Lawyer, Michael Brock is no star either). You can not seem to find a reason to relate to Patrick. He is just a schmuck.

The ending of this story is actually unpredictable. Perhaps Grisham was getting tired of "Guy and Girl living happily ever after in the Cayman Islands". So in a radical change of events, the last chapter of this book confuses what little plot there is. I will not even say it was a plot twist. I will say that at the very least, Grisham is trying something different - which is worth a couple of points.

Another problem with this novel was the cynicism. Let's face it, John Grisham is - by all rights - one of the most cynical authors when it comes to lawyers and the justice system. In most books such as The Rainmaker and A Time to Kill, just to name a couple, the cynicism works. Why? Because the plot works with it and it allows the reader to feel the same way. However, due to the stagnate plot and weak characters, it did not work in this story at all.

Basically, the trouble with The Partner is that the majority of the story was about a man sitting down telling his story. The Partner should have ended where it started off. And for that, I do not recommend this novel.

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