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The Associate’ fails to follow through

Eric Prister | Wednesday, April 8, 2009

John Grisham’s newest legal-thriller novel “The Associate” is entertaining throughout, but leaves the reader unfulfilled in the end.Kyle McAvoy has an extraordinarily difficult life as a first-year associate at Scully and Pershing, the largest law firm in the world. With a father who is disappointed that Kyle has chosen to work on Wall Street, a fledgling relationship with a beautiful fellow first-year associate named Dale that is forbidden by company policy, the results of his bar exam pending and the 100-hour work weeks demanded of all first-year associates at Scully and Pershing, Kyle’s life seems tough enough. His biggest problem, however, is that he is being blackmailed by an anonymous organization into stealing confidential information from the firm.Kyle had been set to graduate from Yale Law School and begin what should have been a bright future when he was cornered by a group of operatives from this organization. They brought up a part of Kyle’s past that could ruin all that he had worked for and forced Kyle to make a decision – work for them and steal secrets from the largest law firm in the world, or risk being exposed.The lead agent of those who blackmail Kyle is a man named Bennie Wright (an obvious alias) who demands nearly total control and surveillance over Kyle’s life. Wright secures a job for Kyle at Scully and Pershing, where he is to work and eventually steal valuable information.”The Associate” follows Kyle’s journey from his graduation through his hiring and working at Scully and Pershing. The book is suspenseful, filled with drama and mystery, and is written in an easily read style. Grisham gives the reader a view into every part of Kyle’s life, including his duties as a first-year associate in a major law firm, his romantic relationship with Dale and his attempts to salvage relationships with his college frat brothers.Unfortunately, the ending brings closure to nearly nothing in the story. Kyle’s role as a double-agent is somewhat resolved, but many questions are left unanswered. The book is an excellent read almost the entire way through, but it fails to deliver the enjoyment that should come from discovering the truth of the situation at the end.