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The Associate

Cover of The Associate

The Associate

A Novel
If you thought Mitch McDeere was in trouble in The Firm, wait
until you meet Kyle McAvoy, The Associate
Kyle McAvoy grew up in his father's small-town law office in York, Pennsylvania. He excelled in college, was elected editor-in-chief of The Yale Law Journal, and his future has limitless potential.
But Kyle has a secret, a dark one, an episode from college that he has tried to forget. The secret, though, falls into the hands of the wrong people, and Kyle is forced to take a job he doesn't want—even though it's a job most law students can only dream about.
Three months after leaving Yale, Kyle becomes an associate at the largest law firm in the world, where, in addition to practicing law, he is expected to lie, steal, and take part in a scheme that could send him to prison, if not get him killed.
With an unforgettable cast of characters and villains—from Baxter Tate, a drug-addled trust fund kid and possible rapist, to Dale, a pretty but seemingly quiet former math teacher who shares Kyle's "cubicle" at the law firm, to two of the most powerful and fiercely competitive defense contractors in the country—and featuring all the twists and turns that have made John Grisham the most popular storyteller in the world, The Associate is vintage Grisham.
From the Hardcover edition.
If you thought Mitch McDeere was in trouble in The Firm, wait
until you meet Kyle McAvoy, The Associate
Kyle McAvoy grew up in his father's small-town law office in York, Pennsylvania. He excelled in college, was elected editor-in-chief of The Yale Law Journal, and his future has limitless potential.
But Kyle has a secret, a dark one, an episode from college that he has tried to forget. The secret, though, falls into the hands of the wrong people, and Kyle is forced to take a job he doesn't want—even though it's a job most law students can only dream about.
Three months after leaving Yale, Kyle becomes an associate at the largest law firm in the world, where, in addition to practicing law, he is expected to lie, steal, and take part in a scheme that could send him to prison, if not get him killed.
With an unforgettable cast of characters and villains—from Baxter Tate, a drug-addled trust fund kid and possible rapist, to Dale, a pretty but seemingly quiet former math teacher who shares Kyle's "cubicle" at the law firm, to two of the most powerful and fiercely competitive defense contractors in the country—and featuring all the twists and turns that have made John Grisham the most popular storyteller in the world, The Associate is vintage Grisham.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book

    1

    The rules of the New Haven Youth League required that each kid play at least ten minutes in each game. Exceptions were allowed for players who had upset their coaches by skipping practice or violating other rules. In such cases, a coach could file a report before the game and inform the scorekeeper that so-and-so wouldn't play much, if at all, because of some infraction. This was frowned on by the league; it was, after all, much more recreational than competitive.

    With four minutes left in the game, Coach Kyle looked down the bench, nodded at a somber and pouting little boy named Marquis, and said, "Do you want to play?" Without responding, Marquis walked to the scorers' table and waited for a whistle. His violations were numerous--skipping practice, skipping school, bad grades, losing his uniform, foul language. In fact, after ten weeks and fifteen games, Marquis had broken every one of the few rules his coach tried to enforce. Coach Kyle had long since realized that any new rule would be immediately violated by his star, and for that reason he trimmed his list and fought the temptation to add new regulations. It wasn't working. Trying to control ten inner- city kids with a soft touch had put the Red Knights in last place in the 12 and Under division of the winter league.

    Marquis was only eleven, but clearly the best player on the court. He preferred shooting and scoring over passing and defending, and within two minutes he'd slashed through the lane, around and through and over much larger players, and scored six points. His average was fourteen, and if allowed to play more than half a game, he could probably score thirty. In his own young opinion, he really didn't need to practice.

    In spite of the one-man show, the game was out of reach. Kyle McAvoy sat quietly on the bench, watching the game and waiting for the clock to wind down. One game to go and the season would be over, his last as a basketball coach. In two years he'd won a dozen, lost two dozen, and asked himself how any person in his right mind would willingly coach at any level. He was doing it for the kids, he'd said to himself a thousand times, kids with no fathers, kids from bad homes, kids in need of a positive male influence. And he still believed it, but after two years of babysitting, and arguing with parents when they bothered to show up, and hassling with other coaches who were not above cheating, and trying to ignore teenage referees who didn't know a block from a charge, he was fed up. He'd done his community service, in this town anyway.

    He watched the game and waited, yelling occasionally because that's what coaches are supposed to do. He looked around the empty gym, an old brick building in downtown New Haven, home to the youth league for fifty years. A handful of parents were scattered through the bleachers, all waiting for the final horn. Marquis scored again. No one applauded. The Red Knights were down by twelve with two minutes to go.

    At the far end of the court, just under the ancient scoreboard, a man in a dark suit walked through the door and leaned against the retractable bleachers. He was noticeable because he was white. There were no white players on either team. He stood out because he wore a suit that was either black or navy, with a white shirt and a burgundy tie, all under a trench coat that announced the presence of an agent or a cop of some variety.

    Coach Kyle happened to see the man when he entered the gym, and he thought to himself that the guy was out of place. Probably a detective of some sort, maybe a narc looking for a dealer. It would not be the first arrest in or around the gym.

    After the agent/cop...

About the Author-
  • John Grisham has written twenty previous novels and one work of nonfiction, The Innocent Man, published in 2006. He lives in Virginia and Mississippi.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Upon leaving Yale Law School, scholastic superstar Kyle McAvoy plans to work in the public service sector before joining his father's firm. But a blackmail threat concerning college fraternity shenanigans sends him into a major New York practice--and a plot that has him running for his life. Erik Singer is the perfect choice for this classic Grisham thriller. His fresh, edgy vocal tones adapt well to the character of Kyle, as well as to the other characters in the story. Singer's pace keeps up with the racing plot, offering slight shifts in inflection to suggest gender and age. And when the story reaches a sudden and unsatisfying ending, we can hear our disappointment mirrored in his performance. R.L.L. (c) AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine
  • AudioFile Magazine With each new release, Scott Brick's performance gets better and better. In this latest, and one of the best, legal whodunit by the dependable Margolin, Brick is called upon to portray a myriad of characters, and he glides from one to the other with ease. A young associate in a top-notch Portland, Oregon, law firm is fired by a partner for a costly mistake. Then, he is charged with the partner's murder. In an attempt to clear himself, the associate, Daniel Ames, stumbles upon a multi-faceted conspiracy with several more bodies littering the trail. As Brick's winsome voice leads the listener toward the surprise ending, one can only marvel at the almost perfect match of writer and reader. A.L.H. (c) AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 26, 2009
    Bestseller Grisham's contemporary legal thriller offers an action-and-suspense plot reminiscent of that of his breakout book, 1991's The Firm, in contrast to 2008's didactic The Appeal, which served as a platform for his concerns about the corrupting effects of judicial elections. Kyle McAvoy, a callow Yale Law School student, dreams of a public service gig on graduation, until shadowy figures blackmail him with a videotape that could revive a five-year-old rape accusation. Instead of helping those in need, McAvoy accepts a position at a huge Wall Street firm, Scully & Pershing, whose clients include a military contractor enmeshed in a $800 billion lawsuit concerning a newly-designed aircraft. McAvoy can avoid exposure of his past if he feeds his new masters inside information on the case. Readers should be prepared for some predictable twists, an ending with some unwarranted ambiguity and some unconvincing details (the idea that a secret file room in a high stakes litigation case would be closed from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. every night stretches credulity to the breaking point). Still, Grisham devotees should be satisfied, even if this is one of his lesser works.

  • Janet Maslin, The New York Times "GRISHAM HAS A FIELD DAY...The Associate grabs the reader quickly and becomes impossible to put down."
  • People "Grisham's confident style hasn't changed, and THERE'S SUSPENSE APLENTY."
  • Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post "Grisham makes it easy for us to keep flipping the pages...A DEVASTATING PORTRAIT OF THE BIG-TIME, BIG-BUCKS LEGAL WORLD."
  • The Boston Globe "Throughout, Grisham unwinds the spool of his narrative at a MASTERFUL, page-turning pace that pulls readers in and keeps them wanting more...The Associate is an absorbing thriller that's A FITTING FOLLOW-UP TO THE FIRM."
  • Time magazine "COMPULSIVELY READABLE...You're peering into a secret world of power and money. What more could you or any red-blooded American ask for?"
  • The Los Angeles Times "A PAGE-TURNER...Kyle McAvoy recalls Mitch McDeere from Grisham's breakout novel The Firm. He's young, idealistic, handsome, a little too cocky for his own good, but a brilliant lawyer who gets pulled in over his head and given an education in how the world really works."
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    Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
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The Associate
A Novel
John Grisham
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