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John Grisham's "The Whistler" Book Review

John Grisham's "The Whistler" Plot Summary

Lacy Stoltz is a lawyer who works for Florida's Board on Judicial Conduct.  She's not a cop, and her caseload typically involves removing judges who are incompetent or who have crossed the line on conduct, like being perpetually drunk at the bench or too sexually illicit with women.  

Greg Myers is a previously disbarred lawyer who has spent time in prison where he learns about the biggest judge corruption case in U.S. history.  He files a complaint with Lacy's office that launches an investigation into a crime syndicate, known as the Coast Mafia, that involves a judge who has a vested interest in a casino run on an Indian reservation.  Millions are being skimmed from the top of the casino's earnings, and everyone involved in the scheme is receiving a cut.

Grisham's The Whistler is the first book of the series.

Greg Myers is on the run, and soon the "mole" on the inside and the intermediary who feeds Greg the details to share with Lacy are, too.  As the crime family starts closing in on their identities and whereabouts, the reader tensely waits to see if the FBI will get involved and help bust the bad guys in time.  

Under Florida law, the Whistler, Greg, and the intermediary stand to gain millions for exposing the corruption, but will they be alive to collect?

My Thought's on Grisham's The Whistler

John Grisham is hands-down the best writer of legal thrillers, captivating audiences since shortly after publishing his first novel, A Time to Kill, in 1988.  

The Whistler is the first book in a new series involving Lacy Stoltz and the Board on Judicial Conduct, and a second book in the series will be released October 19, 2021, entitled The Judge's List.  

As always, Grisham's own experience as a lawyer specializing in criminal defense and person injury litigation brings such knowledge and expertise to his writing, which adds layers of depth to his stories.

After reading many of Grisham's books through the years, The Whistler doesn't stand out like some of his others, especially the ones that were adapted to the big screen; however, once you start reading it, you are pulled in, sitting on the edge of your seat, and not wanting to put it down until you're finished.

One thing about The Whistler I do not find appealing is Grisham's nuanced attempts to appease the woke mob in our culture without alienating the majority of "normal" people who don't agree with the direction our culture is headed.  He does this skillfully by not dwelling on any one issue, but by skimming the top of several, as if to court a wider audience for his own personal gain.  

It's almost like Grisham had a checklist of items to include in The Whistler:

  • Feminism:  Lacy Stoltz makes it clear she's splitting the tab when out on a date, and she's always strong and in control.
  • Leftism:  Grisham drops the name "Obama" when referring to a political appointee.
  • LGBTQ: A main character is a lesbian.
  • Racism:  Lacy's partner is black, and his black community allows Grisham to make racial references.  Grisham also makes Native Americans look both gullible, dependent, and corrupt, yet also self-governing to please two sides.
  • Illegal immigrants: Greg Myers' girlfriend, Carlita, appears to be an illegal immigrant, though this isn't stated outright, and the reader is led to sympathize with her.

Has Grisham received letters demanding he have stronger female leads, more gay characters, more diversity in his story-telling?  

Grisham is a writing superstar, and he should refrain from compromising his principles for fear of being cancelled by the woke people in our culture who have loud voices but very small numbers.  Readers dive into books to escape, not to be confronted by more leftist talking points that don't represent the stances and values of the majority.


  1. Thanks for the review. I'll be skipping this Grisham (series).

  2. I just finished this book. Your comments are interesting and plausible. The book, like most Grisham books, is populated with interesting characters and has a “novel” legal setting. My biggest beef with the book, though, was the complete lack of a TWIST. I kept expecting the plot to take some unexpected turn— and there was plenty of opportunity— but it never happened. It’s almost like he got tired of writing it. The ending is very anticlimactic. In fact, from a literary perspective, there is no climax. Whistleblower reports crime. Lawyers investigate. One gets killed. They catch a lucky break with evidence. FBI comes riding in and arrests literally all the crooks. End of book. It disappoints, it's lazy, and I am usually a huge fan of Grisham’s.

    1. That is excellent analysis! You bring up great points that didn't even occur to me but are spot on.

    2. What happened to Junior who was falsely imprisoned for years? New evidence and indications of a new trial but then nothing more. Disappointed it wasn’t included.


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