Reviews for The exchange : after The Firm

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

In this sequel to The Firm (1991), star attorney Mitch McDeere tries to rustle up ransom for a kidnapped colleague in Libya. In The Firm, he barely escaped the clutches of the corrupt law firm Bendini, Lambert & Locke. Now it’s 15 years later and Mitch is living in New York and is a partner at Scully & Pershing, the world’s largest law firm. He’s frustrated that his Alabama and Tennessee death row clients keep getting the needle, except for the latest one who supposedly hanged himself in his cell. He doesn’t want to take any more of these cases, so he agrees to help out on a lawsuit for Luca Sandroni, a Scully partner in Rome who’s dying of pancreatic cancer. The client is Lannak, a major Turkish construction company that's suing the government of Libya for an unpaid debt of $400 million. Please let my daughter, Giovanna, come and help you, Luca asks Mitch. She’s an associate in the firm's London branch. It’s 2005, the time of Muammar Gaddafi, who came up with the harebrained idea of building the “Great Gaddafi Bridge in central Libya, over an unnamed river yet to be found,” Luca says. (It’s true!) Mitch plans to see the bridge, but he comes down with a wicked case of food poisoning, so Giovanna volunteers to go instead. Soon she’s been kidnapped, and her guards and driver are murdered. In Manhattan, a mysterious woman tells Mitch’s wife, Abby, that the price of Giovanna’s return is $100 million, and she will die if anyone involves the government or police. Can Scully & Pershing put their hands on that much dough? And who are they dealing with? Mitch isn’t even certain whether Gaddafi is behind the crime or whether it's some unknown gang. Mitch and Abby come across as sympathetic and credible, while other characters are no deeper than they need to be. The story moves at a fast pace, leaving a trail of bodies in its wake. A tense legal thriller with nary a courtroom scene. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Publishers Weekly
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Grisham’s disappointing sequel to The Firm, set 15 years after the events of that 1991 blockbuster, isn’t worth the three-decade wait. After extricating himself from a Tennessee law firm run by the mob, Mitch McDeere has begun a new life in New York City with his wife, Abby. Mitch has become a partner at Scully & Pershing, “the premier international firm on the planet,” allowing him and Abby to enjoy a comfortable existence on the Upper West Side with their eight-year-old twin boys. That stability gets shaken when Mitch is sent to Libya to represent Lannak, a Turkish construction company that’s been stiffed hundreds of millions of dollars by Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Despite extensive security precautions, Mitch’s team comes under attack by Libyan forces; the fallout claims multiple lives, puts the McDeeres’ twins in peril, and nudges Abby to abandon her post as a cookbook editor to try and save her husband. Grisham conjures some suspense, but nothing here deepens or complicates his original characterizations—it often feels like a somewhat loopy standard-issue legal thriller has been papered over with characters from The Firm. It’s a letdown. Agent: David Gernert, Gernert Company. (Oct.)


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Remember Mitch McDeere? In 1991’s The Firm, the novel that made Grisham a literary superstar, McDeere and his wife, Abby, brought down a Memphis law firm and sent several people to prison. Now, 15 years later (many of them spent in hiding), Mitch and Abby are settled comfortably in Manhattan, where Mitch is a partner at a major law firm. A request from a client in Italy plunges Mitch into another complex plot that puts his life, and his wife’s, at risk. This novel has all the makings of a top-flight thriller, as one expects from Grisham, yet, something feels off. Unusually for the author, the story takes a long time to get moving. There’s a lengthy setup, including a detour back to Memphis that seems to exist only to reveal what happened to Mitch immediately after the events of The Firm, and the writing feels lethargic. Devoted Grisham fans will want to read this, but casual readers may well give it a miss. A serviceable but disappointing offering from a usually excellent storyteller.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Grisham's a crime-fiction favorite and this return to a key character will bring in the fans.

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