The Whistler
Author John Grisham
Publisher: Doubleday, 2016
Genre: Mystery
Hardcover Edition: 374 pages
Source: Personal copy

Indian Casinos, North Florida, corruption at many levels and murder. This one has it all in some complicated plotting. Mysteries are by nature plot driven. This Grisham novel is mostly plot; character and other elements take a back seat. In addition to the plot of this yarn, there is much information to be conveyed because of the nature of the crime under consideration. Judicial corruption is the focus of this story. Just keeping track of all the players on both sides of the law takes full attention.

There are things to be appreciated about the novel. After all, Grisham is a favorite author of many of us and with good reason. Reviewer Janet Maslin thinks he is on his game in this one. (She must like plotting.) Grisham is always ready to examine injustice. (I really liked Gray Mountain.) And he helps readers to understand the law.

If you are somewhat familiar with the Florida Panhandle that is a plus. Indian casinos are fresh ground. Casinos and corruption go hand in hand. But somehow, I thought money laundering more interesting in the recent movie Hell or High Water than in this novel. One thing about this complicated story is it is easy to tell the good guys from the bad. Less so with Hell or High Water. (a movie I recommend, terrific performances by Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine and Ben Foster ). One reviewer described Grisham at his best writing this fascinating look at judicial corruption. If you are hooked by this kind of injustice, this is the mystery for you.

Investigator Lacy Stoltz is my favorite character. I have a soft spot for brave women. Do tell your favorite character if you have read this one. Could it be her brother Gunther, or maybe the judge? Also, there’s the informants and the crooks. Quite a variety of folks are mixed up in this mystery. Without informants there would be no investigation and no case. And, there’s the setting. Nothing about this story makes one want to move to Florida, whether Key West, Miami, Destin, or Pensacola. Mostly the reader wants to run in another direction.

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