Reviews for The Exchange

by John Grisham

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.