I’m a sucker for John Grisham and was waiting eagerly for this one. When a complimentary copy arrived from the publisher yesterday, well in advance of the one I had “pre-ordered” online the day I saw it advertised, it was a moment of great happiness and I threw everything else aside to enjoy it.
Theo is as cute as ever and his best friend, April, has gone missing. The first half of this book is gripping and plausible and the hunt for April fraught with tension and poignancy.
Other characters you might also remember from the first one, Young Lawyer, make their appearance – notably Theo’s Uncle Ike. And our young lawyer makes a very effective appearance in Animal Court - yes, a place we’ve enjoyed visiting before.
The judges of the Stratten County Courthouse still have endearing nicknames, and Theo’s parents are still as warm, wise, career-focussed, careful to remind him that he's still just a kid and has got to school every day, and generally as appropriate role models as before. Sadly, though, the plot runs thin and though I think this book is meant for kids ten years old and up, I doubt if even a six-year-old, even one who was dropped on its head as a baby, would be engaged with what we have here.
Even Grisham’s adult books can be enjoyed by younger readers. I know that the kids I gave Young Lawyer to read went right on, hooked, to read the older Grisham classics and loved them. They are going to leap at this book and fall away sadly disappointed and disillusioned.
What annoyed me most of all was that the words on the inside of the pages were so close to the binding that to read them you have to make an extra effort to stretch the pages out, and I wondered whether every edition would plague readers thus - or only this one, which is only for sale in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.