The Whistler by John Grisham


10 Critic Reviews

Yes, it’s formula. Yes, it’s not as gritty an exercise in swamp mayhem as Hiaasen, Buchanan, or Crews might turn in. But, like eating a junk burger, even though you probably shouldn’t, it’s plenty satisfying.


From John Grisham, America’s #1 bestselling author, comes the most electrifying novel of the year, a high-stakes thrill ride through the darkest corners of the Sunshine State.
We expect our judges to be honest and wise. Their integrity and impartiality are the bedrock of the entire judicial system. We trust them to ensure fair trials, to protect the rights of all litigants, to punish those who do wrong, and to oversee the orderly and efficient flow of justice.
     But what happens when a judge bends the law or takes a bribe? It’s rare, but it happens.
     Lacy Stoltz is an investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct. She is a lawyer, not a cop, and it is her job to respond to complaints dealing with judicial misconduct. After nine years with the Board, she knows that most problems are caused by incompetence, not corruption. 
     But a corruption case eventually crosses her desk. A previously disbarred lawyer is back in business with a new identity. He now goes by the name Greg Myers, and he claims to know of a Florida judge who has stolen more money than all other crooked judges combined. And not just crooked judges in Florida. All judges, from all states, and throughout U.S. history.
     What’s the source of the ill-gotten gains? It seems the judge was secretly involved with the construction of a large casino on Native American land. The Coast Mafia financed the casino and is now helping itself to a sizable skim of each month’s cash. The judge is getting a cut and looking the other way. It’s a sweet deal: Everyone is making money.
     But now Greg wants to put a stop to it. His only client is a person who knows the truth and wants to blow the whistle and collect millions under Florida law. Greg files a complaint with the Board on Judicial Conduct, and the case is assigned to Lacy Stoltz, who immediately suspects that this one could be dangerous.
     Dangerous is one thing. Deadly is something else.

About John Grisham

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Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, and The Broker) and all of them have become international bestsellers. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marks his first foray into non-fiction. Grisham lives with his wife Renee and their two children Ty and Shea. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA.
Published October 25, 2016 by Doubleday. 386 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Crime, Political & Social Sciences, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
Peak Rank on Jan 08 2017
Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for The Whistler
All: 10 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 6


Above average
on Oct 19 2016

Yes, it’s formula. Yes, it’s not as gritty an exercise in swamp mayhem as Hiaasen, Buchanan, or Crews might turn in. But, like eating a junk burger, even though you probably shouldn’t, it’s plenty satisfying.

Read Full Review of The Whistler | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

on Nov 23 2016

A lead brings Stolz and Hatch onto tribal land, where they find themselves caught in a trap. A high-stakes game of gambling, greed, and murder plays out in another page-turner from a master storyteller.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Peter Lattman on Nov 01 2016

Grisham fans looking for courtroom drama might be disappointed by “The Whistler,” since McDover’s questionable cases are glossed over. The book feels more like the first half of an episode of “Law & Order,”...As ever, Grisham sprinkles “The Whistler” with sharp observations about lawyers.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on Oct 26 2016

Despite the bits of leaden language, Lacy does manage to come to life on the page. “The Whistler” also has a strong and frightening sense of place, painting part of the Panhandle as a lawless region where terrible things might happen, and do.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Above average
Reviewed by Margie Romero on Nov 06 2016

Mr. Grisham’s plot is richly complex, but in telling his big story, occasionally a character’s voice ends up sounding much like the author’s.

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USA Today

Below average
Reviewed by Charles Finch on Oct 24 2016

Grisham’s legal knowledge is impressive, and his ability to convey it unparalleled in popular fiction. But that’s not enough to sustain a novel without suspense. This author has always been strongest when writing about protagonists whose own lives are in a state of doubt and danger, rather than about those conducting straight-up investigations.

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Denver Post

Reviewed by Patrick Anderson on Nov 04 2016

Although “The Whistler” reads as first-rate fiction, it takes on the feel of a documentary as ­Grisham’s complicated crime unfolds in great detail.

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The Columbus Dispatch

Reviewed by Jeff Ayers on Nov 06 2016

Grisham novels are crowd-pleasers because he knows how to satisfy readers who want to see injustice crushed, and justice truly prevails for those who cannot buy influence.

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Lincoln Journal Star

Above average
Reviewed by Francis Moul on Nov 22 2016

For a lawyer with a very select law practice, John Grisham sure can write. His books are not profound, don’t solve any world problems and are as easy to read as drinking a Yoo Hoo. They are entertaining, easily read in a day or two and prove quite satisfying, although not altogether didactic.

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Above average
Reviewed by C. F. Foster on Oct 26 2016

Grisham, who has been dubbed “a social critic” for his industrious forays into legal ills, includes so much detail, the storyline flounders at times, but finally straightens out to a more than satisfying climax.

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