The Exchange by John Grisham: 2**

For years fans of John Grisham have wondered, whatever happened to Mitch McDeere the protagonist on his first major book, The Firm. Well almost 30 years later John Grisham fills in some of the blanks, as Mitch and his wife Abby return in the year 2005. Thing have changed for Mitch and the opening chapters have nothing to do with the rest of the book other than to supply background on Mitch and refresh readers on the basic plot of The Firm.

Mitch and Abby now live in New York and have two sons. Mitch is a partner in the worlds largest law firm (over 2100 lawyers in 31 worldwide locations), while Abby is a cookbook editor. The basic story is that the firm represents a Turkish client who was hired to build a bridge in Libya. Mitch goes there with a female associate and while on a trip to inspect the bridge the female associate is kidnapped and then held for an exorbitant ransom. And now Mitch is dashing around the world to try and secure the funds to pay the terrorist kidnappers. No law involved in this, and shallow characters that you really cannot connect with. And yet this is the type of book that Grisham fans love: readable, fast moving, multiple locations for the action and a deadline that has to be met unless serious consequences occur.

I expect more from Grisham. I know, I know. I should not let my expectations override the book, but this version of Mitch and Abby did little for me. There was really nothing that would make this a thriller, and all we had was a global search for money to pay off the kidnappers. There was so much more that could have developed from the plot, so that when the story went nowhere it was a huge letdown.

I wanted to like this book but it is shallow, doesn’t make a lot of sense and by the end we probably will not see Mitch and Abby for a long time.

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