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This work takes an uncomfortably conservative bend I don't remember Grisham espousing in his other books, in that it relies on racist, homophobic and sexist stereotypes which, beyond being morally annoying, betrays laziness in imagination, research, and writing.
Of particular issue is the portrayal of Native American communities. Because of diversity of citizenship, virtually none of the the issues the crooked judge swung are likely to have been filed or, if initially filed, kept in state court. This massive departure from reality makes the poor portrayal of indigenous communities even more frustrating. You want to write about lawyers who investigate state judges and you need a frame for corruption to occur so you picked American Indians, a community that virtually never interacts with state courts and certainly not to the degree implied in the novel because what, you're racist? Probably, since a character literally refers to the tribe at the center of the novel as "an unsophisticated people", a view that is never critiqued by any other character or by the overarching frame of the novel itself. A pivotal character mentions being probably about 1/8 of that tribe and our main character replies, "you don't look the part" to which the first character replies, "thanks." In the denouement the tribe as a whole is viewed as "not entirely blameless" because they re-elected a corrupt chief, and one of the discussion questions included at the end of the book asks (legitimately, based the themes of the novel) how the tribe's laws served to hinder our protagonist's investigation. Taken together the whole novel is a massive, blatant attack on tribal sovereignty that on the way there manages to smear women (particularly lesbians) and Black culture, religion, and family. At one point Grisham attempts to level an extremely weak criticism of the death penalty that is ultimately undermined when one of the 'bad guys' is sentenced to death andour main characters--who were earlier concerned by the practice of capital punishment--offer no comment.
This has got to be one of the worst novels I have ever read in terms of lazy writing and reliance on bigoted stereotypes. In addition the characters are all dry and forgettable, and the narrative tone serves to distance the reader from the plot. Exactly one plot point comes as a surprise: otherwise, the whole thing unfolds exactly as expected with nothing to keep the reader engaged intellectually or emotionally.
I loved Grisham's novels when I was a tween and teen. They were some of the first modern books I read not directed to a young adult or child audience. I don't know if, having now worked for both a civil investigative government agency and a law practice, I am incapable of suspending disbelief to the level I once could. I don't know if Grisham's writing has always utilized racist, sexist and homophobic tropes and stereotypes to this degree and I was simply too naive to catch it, or if this novel is particularly hastily written and poorly done. The only reason I kept reading through the whole thing was to see if, through his typical practice of plot twists, he challenged any of the bigoted premises he established. I was sorely disappointed.
In short, I consider this novel an utter waste of time and would not recommend it to my worst enemy.
As a legal thriller, The Whistler focuses on the idea of judicial corruption and misconduct. It ties together inner financial operations of a wealthy casino with a judge reported to be engaging in funding its construction on what is meant to be Native American land. The business of the casino involves secretive money laundering, which is a major source of the state's ill-gotten gains, supplying the Coast Mafia with greater influence. John Grisham is able to create a vast environment within the story, as readers are led through a captivating chase. The perspective of Lacy Stoltz is followed, who is part of the Board on Judicial Conduct, and on a dangerous investigation to track down the sources of corruption. However, it entails danger and suspense throughout. The very topic of the story is captivating, since there are many potential twists and turns, which will undoubtedly leave the reader engaged. Rating: 4 of 5
- @Mercurial_Series of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library
Nest book i have read in awhile. I could see this becoming a movie...if not already....
No need to read the lengthy description. This quote from book does it: “So, your story involves organized criminals, Indians who own casinos, and a crooked judge, all in bed together?”
This book is less entertaining but with more in-depth schemes on tribal politics, the mob, corruptions, skimming, money laundering and vices associated with building and operating an Indian Casino than the TV series “Longmire.” A page turner without force-fitted and illogical twists.
Not a bad read at all. However, it is certainly not one of Grisham's best. I felt some of the parts were rushed a bit and required some extra detail to fill in the minor uncertainties.
I thought this book was a disappointment . Not up to his earlier standards at all. I found myself losing interest . I didn't seem to care about his characters at all. Not 1st rate . Boring. Writers block?
Pretty good read for the commute. A bit different as this started with the Florida Bureau of Judicial Conduct then moved to the FBI. As most readers of Grisham know by now there are no characters in these books just cardboard cutouts. His books read like newspaper articles more than novels. Still, I read the whole thing to find out how it ended. SPOILER: the bad guys get their comeupance.
A good book - not one of my favorites. Didn't especially his tying up the loose ends in an Epilogue. Probably wouldn't recommend it.
Good story, well-written: Grisham. His best are still the non-lawyer stories: Calico Joe, and Playing for Pizza.
Like all Grisham reads, this was entertaining. Sadly this was far from his best (and I would say the worst of his last three... Grey Mountain and Rogue Lawyer). Dont know why he had to clean up the story in an epilogue instead of the novel itself. All that being said - its still worth your time.
Another, in a long list of John Grisham duds. His original 5-10 books were quite good, but nothing worth reading since. Last one I will read.
Complete waste of time.
Really good book. I enjoyed the story. Glad I didn't heed to the bad reviews.
not up to his usual. Looks like he turned in an outline with a few details filled in. He's clearly riding on the coattails of previous work.
Okay, I cannot really bash Grisham because this is the 1st book I have tried to read from this author. But I had to stop after about the 1st quarter because there was no drama, no suspense, no real character development going on. Up to this point Grisham is working on the background for the case and the legalese. There was a principal character but not much going on there either.
I will have to try an earlier book by Grisham to see if he is as good as people say he is.
He really should have quit after the first ten books, and it's getting worse! Boring plot, no real character development , little suspense.
FINALLY, Grisham has returned to his best writing, like in his first ten books. The Whistler is excellent, a page turner. Loved it!
Nearly didn't read this book due to several negative reviews. Do not know which book these people read as I felt The Whistler was vintage Grisham. Very good book....would recommend.
Grisham never ceases to surprise me as he continually finds new subject matter for his legal thrillers. This time it involves bringing a corrupt judge to justice and finding out she is just the tip of the iceberg.
Very disappointing. I tried to read it twice because Gresham is at the top of my list as an author that knows how to tell a story, but not this time.