Reading Grisham at this stage of his writing career is like going home to visit relatives at Thanksgiving for roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and roast potato dinner. You’ve sat down to eat it for the past 25 years just because that’s what everyone does, no matter if you even like or enjoy it.
This isn’t even really a novel; as Grisham himself states, it’s just a half-remembered, rumoured anecdote from the limited time he spent in public service. The entire middle section is entirely superfluous and we care nothing for the characters in a story that has no rising action, tension or climax.
It’s not a novel. It’s not even decently prepared roast beef.