This is another entertaining legal thriller from John Grisham and it involves a corrupt Florida judge who has been taking humongous bribes to advance the interests of a crooked real estate developer. A shadowy figure using an assumed name contacts the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct claiming that he has incontrovertible evidence of the judge's crimes. He's blowing the whistle in hopes of claiming the millions of dollars in reward money that would accrue to someone who could bring the judge and her co-conspirators down.
The case is assigned to Lacy Stoltz, who has been investigating cases for the Board for nine years. Most of the cases that the Board investigates involve incompetent judges and are relatively slam-dunk affairs. Lacy and her partner, Hugo Hatch, have never had a case involving corruption on a scale this large, but in truth, hardly any investigator ever has.
It quickly becomes apparent that corruption on this level can also lead to danger of a similar magnitude. All sorts of very nasty people have been lining their pockets with the proceeds of this activity, and they will go to any lengths to protect themselves and the scheme that is enriching them.
Grisham excels at creating legal labyrinths that are really more like gauntlets, and then running his protagonists--and his readers--through them, often at breakneck speed. This book is no exception, and it's an entertaining ride, although I don't think it's on a par with his best novels like The Runaway Jury or The Firm. For whatever reason, it's not quite as compelling, and the climax is not quite as tense or satisfying. But these are relatively small complaints, and fans of Grisham's work are certain to enjoy The Whistler.