2017-05-18 / Opinions

Book Review

The Whistler
By JOHN GRISHAM
Reviewed by
PEGGY BARNETT

Lacy Stoltz is an investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct. She is a lawyer, efficient and conscientious. Her partner, Hugo Hatch, is a former Florida State football star and now happily married and the father of four. Lacy and Hugo are friends as well as colleagues.

Their job is not usually dangerous. The judges they are called to investigate are more likely to be incompetent or careless, rather than criminal. Now, however, a stranger has asked the department to look into the activities of a respected judge who may be involved with a complex, criminal operation. When they meet with this mysterious informant, he tells them that, “The purpose of this little meeting is to make you curious, but also to frighten you enough to back off if you want.”

As it turns out, they would have been safer if they had backed off. Their boss says that they cannot ignore the possibility that Greg Myers is right and has legitimate evidence. He has a witness who is supplying information about the judge but cannot reveal the “whistle blower”; he is not even sure of his/her identity but works through another informant.

Because part of the tangled murder and theft organization is tied to a casino on a nearby Indian reservation, their board does not have jurisdiction over everything. Nevertheless, the two investigators visit the reservation one night when a mysterious phone call draws them there. Needless to say, this does not end well.

Most of us do not need an introduction to John Grisham. He has written 29 legal thrillers. The Whistler follows his usual formula, a main character who seeks to right some form of injustice. There will be danger and threats to life and reputation, but justice will usually reign supreme. He also is expert in showing the reader unusual things about the law. How many of us knew that states have a board to ascertain the integrity of our judicial system?

In this book, which is perhaps a little longer than it needs to be, the sense of place is strong, characterization less so. However, this is a suspense novel, and we are intrigued to find out who the whistler is and why Greg Myers is involved. Plus, of course, we are worried for Lacy and the FBI agent who becomes the romantic interest. We are right to be worried. The opponents are strong and ruthless.

The Whistler is available at the Mary Willis Library.

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