As usual, Grisham writes a page turner. I chewed up large chunks of this one in a relatively short amount of time. That said, this is not his usual legal thriller. Grisham seems to want to try and just write a thriller and, for the most part, it’s not that successful. There are long stretches of the novel where next to no action occurs and the plot doesn’t move foward. It reads almost like a travel guide to Bologna, Italy for large sections of the middle of the story as Joel learns about the culture and people. And the suspense sequences aren’t quite that suspenseful as there’s never any impending doom facing Joel as in other cloak and dagger type thrillers.
A good try, John, but not a successful one. You’ve branched out before with A Time to Kill and A Painted House, both of which are far better novels than this one.