The Litigators by John Grisham
What’s it About? A steady pace and carefully constructed narrative characterize The Litigators, the latest offering from the king of the legal thriller, John Grisham. The story centers on the changing fortunes and legal education of attorney David Zinc who trades a high salary and the monotony of trust law for the turbulent adventures of the “boutique” law firm of Finley and Figg.
Mere blips on the legal community’s radar, the small firm of Finley and Figg offer Zinc a new perspective on the practice of law and the definition of justice. Seasoned in the art of quickie divorces, will preparation and a steady stream of drunk driving cases, the barely-getting-by Chicago attorneys stumble upon the makings of a lucrative class action lawsuit. With little experience or resources, Figg prepares his associates for a David versus Goliath fight against one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.
The cholesterol drug ‘Krayoxx’ is blamed for numerous deaths across the country and its manufacturers are suddenly bombarded with civil suits. The case against Krayoxx builds quickly threatening to sully a public reputation that has already cost the pharmaceutical company millions to keep clean. Lawyers swarm around the case as it gains media attention looking for ways to profit from both the success and failure of the suit. The reader joins the optimistic but highly unprepared attorneys of the Finley and Figg law firm as they journey into the largest case of their collective lives and quite possibly their entire careers.
Is the Narrator any Good? Despite several awards under his belt I would not classify Dennis Boutsikaris as one of the best voices in the world of audiobook narrative. His slow steady interpretation of the text may be viewed as subtle talent to some but for me it came across as a distinct lack of personality. Good narration engages the reader and leaves them wanting more. I found Boutsikaris’ narration forgettable to say the least. The masculine yet uniform performance lends itself to the genre but there is certainly room for improvement.
Perhaps the most distracting part of Boutsikaris’ narrative is his abrupt stops in between chapters. For long time listeners of audiobooks the breaks are akin to the pause heard when listening to a book on tape. As an indication of a new chapter its a little dated not to mention jarring. Long time book listeners may find themselves reaching instinctively for the eject button to turn the cassette over; I know I did.
The Verdict? The Litigators is a well reasoned and thoughtfully written reflection of class action lawsuits in the current social and political climate; it just takes a while to get started. Grisham’s tendency to overwrite his narrative shows in the superfluous addition of a second story line and a cutesy epilogue. Yet under the clutter, and stretched out across an eleven hour period, The Litigators is a nice, easy to follow story about career changes, turning a profit and living the day to day life of an American attorney.