John Grisham’s The Partner Essay, Research Paper
For my book report I chose to write about one of John Grisham’s best sellers, The Partner. The Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc. in New New York, New York published the Partner in 1997. I chose to write about this book for two reasons; I had forgotten what had happened in The Pelican Brief and I liked the pot of this book much more. After reading the back of the book I thought I might have a clue what I was in store for. I wasn’t even close, I was surprised over and over again throughout this book.
The Partner is a fictitious legal thriller based in Mississippi. It exposes to the audiences what careful planning and good timing can do in the world of politics and law. The main character planned everything so well and made sure that even getting caught had it’s benefits. He planned it so, those he despised would take the fall and many, including him would benefit somehow. In the end everyone got what they wanted except the selfish ones who deserved nothing but the inevitable, punishment. I believe the author wants everyone to see that at one time or another everyone wants to escape his or her life, that not everybody’s life is as great as it may seem, regardless of money. He wants you to see you have to find your own way to make yourself happy but you should be prepared to face the consequences of any drastic actions which the main character was prepared to do. The main character of this story, Patrick Lanigan, was a partner in a thriving firm about to receive thirty million dollars in legal fees from a client. He seemed happy to everyone, but he wasn’t. He knew about his partner’s plans to kick him out of the firm, he knew about his wife’s weekends with another man, he even knew her six year old child wasn’t even his. So he carefully planned everything and when the time was right he faked his death and stole ninety million dollars from his former firm and went into hiding. He hide for four and a half years and then was caught. John Grisham wanting this message to get across to his readers: “At some point in life, everybody thinks about walking away.”
The setting stays the same in all of Grisham s books. They are always set in the south, usually in large cities. In all of his books Grisham s main characters are lawyers. These lawyers are usually young, and either just getting out of law school or trying to make it big. This story takes place in Biloxi, Mississippi and the main character was once an overweight lawyer in his thirties, but things changes rather quickly. The area in which the story takes place does affect the story because it is a tightly woven legal community where gossip spreads fast and money can get you out of almost anything.
It was hard to keep after all the lawyers, FBI agents and judges in this story, many characters were only mentioned a few times but played important roles in the story. The main character was Patrick Lanigan, a hardworking lawyer who became a partner in a thriving form after only three short years of dedication to his work. He fakes his death, steals ninety million dollars from his firm and runs for his life covering his tracks as he goes. Patrick fled to Brazil where he met Eva Miranda, a beautiful young lawyer. The two became good friends accidentally and fell in love. Eva monitored Patrick’s life, keep track of his money, moving it constantly and making sure he called everyday between 4 and 6. Then one day he didn’t call, after an hour of waiting she called Agent Cutter, head of the FBI and informed him of Patrick’s disappearance. She told him that Jack Stephano was the head of the search for Patrick. Jack Stephano was hired by Patrick’s former employers Bogan, Rapley, Vitrano and Havarac, Benny Aricia the plaintiff in the Platt & Rockland case and the insurance companies Monarch-Sierra and Northern Case Mutual to track him down, over two million dollars was needed to finally find him. Cutter informed Hamilton Jaynes, Director of the FBI about the capture of Patrick Lanigan. Hamilton Jaynes threatened Mr. Stephano until he agreed to turn Partick over to the FBI. Once back on American soil Patrick contacted Sandy McDermott, an old lawyer buddy of his from law school. Sandy became Patrick’s Lawyer and did what Patrick told him, all the leg work Patrick himself was unable to do. Trudy Lanigan was Patrick’s wife, she cheated on him and used him for his money. Patrick discovered that their supposed daughter, Ashley Nicole, was not his daughter but some one elses. Trudy was cheating on Patrick with Lance, a guy she’d been in love with since she was fourteen. Lance had connections underground with assassins and drug dealers, he was planning on killing Patrick.
While in the base hospital Patrick was visited by old friend Karl Huskey, a judge about to retired. The judge and Patrick went way back to when he first became a lawyer and his first case, the case an old man named Clovis basically won for him. Clovis was an abandoned old man, he lived by himself with only one friend which was Patrick and his relatives paid no attention to him whatsoever. Clovis died of old age and Patrick used Clovis’ body as his own when he was burner to his “death”.
Patrick is an interesting character, he worked very hard to become a partner in the Bogan law firm. He was at one time overweight because he worked so hard to become a lawyer that he didn’t get time to go for his usual jogs like he did when he was in school. After he ran he shed the weight, rarely eating and gained a fantastic tan along with plastic surgery that gave him a new chin and new nose. Patrick must know how careful timing and planning can pay off. It seemed like he had already thought of everything like different ways out of each lawsuit, and ways to blackmail people to achieve what he wanted. It took a lot of self-sacrifice to do what he did. He ran with ninety million to escape his life, knowing that he’d be brought back and would have to hope his plan worked out exactly as he wanted it to. He shows a little concern about himself sometimes, like he knew he was going to get what he wanted. An example of this is when Agent Myers was sent by Agent Cutter to the base hospital to inform Patrick that he would be the one to escort Patrick home. During their short conversation Patrick was snapping at Agent Myers and he also appeared rather unconcerned about a visit to his bedside by the FBI before he even re-entered the United States. It seemed to me that he was in alot of trouble and being rude was not helping him very much.
The Partner was an up and down book. It was really hard to determine a specific climax and if is possible I believe it lasted for at least one quarter or the novel. I never knew what was going to happen, each time I thought the main character was in serious trouble and would not get out of it, he had a perfectly conceived plan of “escape”. I believe the story started to pick up around the time Patrick filed a suit against the FBI because of the torture he suffered when he was captured. At the reader knows nothing until Patrick and Eva slowly tell bits and pieces of Patrick’s story. At first Patrick strikes a deal and hands over tapes of phone conversations between his former partners, Benny Aricia and a certain US Senator enough proof that false claims were made by Benny Aricia and the Bogan Firm and the ninety million he stole. In return for the tapes the “feds” dropped all charges except the state’s capital murder charge. Then Patrick proved that he in fact did not murder anyone by uncovering old Clovis’ grave, I believe this is the highest point of action, it was to me at least. Patrick did not actually murder anyone, the body was already dead when it was burnt up beyond recognition, so they mistook it for that of Patrick Lanigan. When they unearthed Clovis’ grave I thought they were going to find the body but instead they found the four cinder bricks like had Patrick said.
To open Clovis’ grave Sandy had to visit his only living relative who was his daughter and settle with her for fifty thousand dollars. The real ending of the story is when the prosecutor, T.L. Parrish reads the letter from Clovis’ daughter asking them not to press charges claiming the family had suffered enough.
The story was certainly not written through Patrick’s eyes, if it was, then it would not have been worth the read. I enjoyed how he let out little by little just enough to dismiss charges and completely surprise everyone even Sandy. I think I see the story from Sandy’s point of view best because he was in the dark to exactly what happened. Patrick and Eva only told him what he needed to know, I feel that’s how the author wanted us to see the story. Sandy was always in the middle of things. I think the author chose this point of view because it would’ve ruined the suspense if he had told too much too early in the story, it was well timed.
I really enjoyed this book, I recommend it to anyone. I have no interest in law at all, yet I understood and enjoyed this book. I liked how the characters were devellopped and used. I found the part of Sandy and Eva secretly meeting each other to discuss the case was unbelievable because there were people following Sandy and looking for Eva. Sandy did not appear too careful about meeting her, it would have been easy to follow him and kidnap her. I believe this was the only part of the book that was not realistic. It seemed as if the book was like a perfectly knit sweater with one string hanging loose. The book seemed perfectly woven together except for Sandy and his carelessness that should have gotten Eva kidnapped by Stephano’s men. Although I haven’t read all of John Grisham’s books, I must say that this is my favorite by far. I plan on reading more as soon as I can obtain them.