Picks and Pans Review: The Firm
Mitchell McDeere, third in his class at Harvard Law, hadn't planned to sign with an obscure 41-attorney firm in Memphis. But when the offer arrives—$80,000 the first year, plus bonuses; a low-interest mortgage; two country-club memberships; and a new BMW ("You pick the color, of course," assures a senior partner)—poor boy Mitch, owing $23,000 in student loans, can't resist.
Soon he and wife Abby are sampling all the designer suits, fine wines and important furnishings those billable hours can buy. And for Mitch, there are lots of billable hours—80 to 100 a week—as he plunges into his first demanding days at Bendini, Lambert & Locke. Then two associates mysteriously die, and the FBI is at his side.
An agent says McDeere's office, house and probably his car are bugged because his firm exists to launder mob money; the partners protest that, after so many successful tax dodges, they are being harassed by the government. Mitch, the fly in the middle of this intricate legal web, sees danger no matter which spider he trusts.
The Firm is a thriller of the first order, powered to pulse-racing perfection by the realism of its malevolent barristers. (Grisham is a criminal-defense attorney in Mississippi.) Film rights have already been snapped up, and it may one day provide the most blessedly bloodless fright flick since Hollywood turned to Technicolor. (Doubleday, $19.95)