Book Review: The Whistler By John Grisham

According  to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, a whistle-blower is “one who reveals something covert or who informs against another”.  In his new legal thriller, John Grisham tells the story of one such whistler. This fast paced story revolves around a Florida casino, a judge who has been corrupted by those who run the casino, and the prosecutors who have been informed about these circumstances by said whistler.

Lacy Stoltz and her partner, Hugo Hatch, are ethics lawyers who have been assigned to investigate Claudia McDover, a Florida judge. Lacy and Hugo have a good working relationship, and Lacy even babysits for Hugo and his wife when they need time away from their four children.

The first stop on their investigation is to visit an Indian named Junior Mace, a member of the Tappacola Indian Tribe who opposed the casino and was framed for two murders he did not commit.  The trial took place in Judge McDover’s courtroom, and it turns out that the courtroom informers whose testimony put Junior in jail were paid to lie, while the judge did everything in her power to ensure that Junior was found guilty. Now Junior is on death row and may have important information about his case and Judge McDover. The whistler has motives for turning in the judge, but these motives, and the whistler’s identity, remain secret throughout most of the book.

Lacy and Hugo are summoned to meet with an informant late at night on the Tappacola Indian Reservation that is home to the Indian casino. When a terrible event occurs, the action and suspense ratchet up from here, and when Lacy finally meets her “whistler”, the story comes to a satisfying conclusion.

John Grisham writes what he knows, which is law, and this book gives us insights into Indian tribal laws, especially in relation to casinos, gambling, and Indian lands. The book also illustrates what can happen when a judge has been corrupted. Grisham is best known for his plot twists and turns, as well as his well-written characters, especially Lacy and Hugo. This is Grisham’s 29th book, but it was as interesting as many of his early novels. If you like this one, you may want to try some of his earlier works, such as A Time To Kill and The Rainmaker.

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