Title: The Firm
Author: John Grisham
Genre: Crime/Legal Thriller
Pages to Date: 730
The second of three John Grisham books I picked up from Goodwill for under $3, The Firm is fast paced and grips the readers attention from the get-go. The tension as the action and drama rise is palpable, as Grisham does a fantastic job not only making the stakes high, but making me care about them. For a book of 500 pages, it also does a good job remaining interesting throughout, even bits of the story that contribute little or nothing to the central storyline. It's also a very fast read in the best kind of way, as it is hard to pull yourself away from the crescendo of drama that builds steadily until a predictably satisfying climax.
For a very dramatic and suspenseful storyline, there really is not much intricacy to the villainous schemes the protagonist finds himself involved in. As to the protagonist himself, I feel that he is meant to be portrayed as confident and intelligent beyond his years, but he just comes off as pompous; in particular, with the way he interacts with his loving wife. Honestly, I was not drawn to finish the book because I needed to see a character I love survive and overcome tremendous odds; instead, it was to simply see how he could ever escape the no-win scenario he found himself. As to that escape effort, I did feel the ending was a tad rushed and convenient, but sometimes a writer has to do what he can to ensure a satisfying emotional ending rather than a particularly clever one.
Overall, a fast paced thrill ride that may not keep the reader guessing, but will entertain for a couple hours. Definitely a good bit of reading for a plane ride or on a beach. There is also a movie version starring Tom Cruise, so reading this book will give you an excuse to rent another film from everyone's favorite scientologist.