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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Exchange: After The Firm

Series: The Firm #2

By: John Grisham

Narrator: Edoardo Ballerini

Random House Audio

ISBN: 978-0385548953

Publisher: Doubleday

Publication Date: 10/17/2023

Format: Other

My Rating: 4.5 Stars (ARC)


#1 New York Times bestselling author John Grisham delivers high-flying international suspense in a stunning new legal thriller that marks the return of Mitch McDeere, the brilliant hero of The Firm.

What became of Mitch and Abby McDeere after they exposed the crimes of Memphis law firm Bendini, Lambert & Locke and fled the country? The answer is in The Exchange, the riveting sequel to The Firm, the blockbuster thriller that launched the career of America’s favorite storyteller.

It is now fifteen years later, and Mitch and Abby are living in Manhattan, where Mitch is a partner at the largest law firm in the world. When a mentor in Rome asks him for a favor that will take him far from home, Mitch finds himself at the center of a sinister plot that has worldwide implications—and once again endangers his colleagues, friends, and family. Mitch has become a master at staying one step ahead of his adversaries, but this time there’s nowhere to hide.

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My Review

Master storyteller and king of legal thrillers, John Grisham (a favorite), is back fifteen years after The Firm with the highly anticipated THE EXCHANGE. The movie version released 30 years ago, starring Tom Cruise as lawyer Mitch McDeere, remains his highest-grossing adaptation.

The star, of course, is Mitch McDeere, now 41 years old and still married to his wife, Abby McDeere, with two twin sons, Carter and Clark. Living in Manhattan, Mitch is a partner at Scully & Pershing (a global international firm), and Abby is a cookbook editor.

Fans, do not expect THE EXCHANGE to fill in all the gaps about what happened since the explosive ending of THE FIRM. This book could be a standalone, and not much is discussed about the mafia, FBI, Mitch taking the money, etc. THE EXCHANGE is more of a crime action thriller than a legal thriller. Something that Tom Cruise would be right at home in.

THE EXCHANGE takes place mainly in New York City, where Mitch is a partner at a massive international law firm, and Gaddafi’s Libya, where he goes on behalf of a client, and things become complicated from here on out.

Grisham does provide a summary that after Mitch spent time overseas following their escape from the corrupt law firm Bendini, Lambert & Locke —they are back living in New York City, and Mitch is a partner in a high-profile international law firm and works for wealthy global clients. The firm is a hundred years old and boasts prestige, power, and money.

Mitch does take on a few pro-bono cases each year they require. He is tired of these cases, and he hates losing and letting down his clients. This leads us to a brief trip to Memphis after Willie Backstrom encourages him to meet regarding a man on death row, but that does not follow through. While in Memphis, he detours and meets with his old buddy Lamar Quinn to catch up. (I was hoping for more here).

Other than the brief trip to Memphis, the sequel has little connection to the plot of The Firm. This turned out to be a red herring, and he never returned. However, maybe a #3 will return!

With over 400 million copies sold, Grisham is a rock star tackling legal, racial, corporate, environmental, capital punishments and injustice working with the Innocence Project. (The Innocence Project books are my favorite Southern stories by Grisham).

Grisham is a passionate advocate for the wrongfully convicted and an opponent of the death penalty; he sits on the board of the Innocence Project and speaks frequently about criminal justice issues.

In THE EXCHANGE , Mitch does a lot of globetrotting when he agrees to help out with a lawsuit of mega million for Luca Sandroni, a partner at his firm, out of the Rome office. He has cancer and needs Mitch to take over and his daughter, Giovanna, to assist.

Mitch is comfortable with global clients and travels since he and Abby lived in Italy for some time. However, on the day they were supposed to meet the client, Mitch gets food poisoning (was this planned by the powers that be), and Luca urges his daughter to go without him. However, the trip turns tragic.

The client is a Turkish construction company suing the government of Libya for an unpaid debt of $400 million regarding a bridge.

From terrorism, brutal murders, conspiracy, and kidnapping. Giovanna is kidnapped, and the demands are high, and Lucas has difficulty raising the money, even from the firm. Abby becomes involved when a mysterious woman reaches out to her to be the go-between. They send brutal, violent videos of the murders, and Giovanna could be next.

While this is John Grisham, and he is a brilliant writer delivering his books each year consistently, this is not like The Firm. It is more global, and much of the book involves dealing with the kidnapping. While this may appeal to a specific audience, I prefer the Southern settings and taking Mitch back to his roots and Memphis. However, different readers like books set outside the South, and publishers must consider the total audience.

However, there are still thrills and fun as Mitch still does not live up to his in-laws' expectations, and we do get to have a brief encounter note about his family. Plus he uses some of the money he stole from the mafia to try and get Giovanna back.

However, I would like to know how he escaped the Mafia and has taken a high-profile position, and they do not seem to be worried about that—a lot of unanswered questions. I even went back to listen to the audiobook of The Firm again to refresh myself. No, he still has not confessed to cheating that one time.

In a recent TIME MAGAZINE article, Grisham even mentions this. I highly recommend reading it. Very good.

I wonder if there will be a #3 that has to do with the meeting with Lamar in Memphis. I would love to see them back in Memphis, where everything began.

It was nice hearing about the Peabody and other familiar sites in Memphis. I enjoyed THE EXCHANGE, but not what I expected (prefer more legal and less crime globetrotting). A huge fan of the author's, giving this one a 4.5 stars versus the usual 5 stars. If you were a fan of Mitch and Abby, I highly recommend reading it but do not expect to pick up where it left off in THE FIRM. Will there be another movie?

I look forward to reading Camino Ghosts coming June 4, 2024. Bookstore owner Bruce Cable has reunited with Mercer Mann for another thrilling mystery packed with sun, sand, and mayhem. Filled with unpredictable twists, the return to Camino Island is guaranteed to be this summer’s perfect escape.

Since breaking out with THE FIRM in 1991, Grisham has released 48 consecutive New York Times No. 1 bestsellers, a feat no other writer has matched, per the TIME MAGAZINE.

Many thanks to Doubleday Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advanced reading copy for an honest opinion.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: Oct 17, 2023

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Oct 2023 Must-R

The Firm

The Firm #1

#1 Worldwide Bestseller

By John Grisham

Narrator: Scott Brick

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the master of legal thrillers, a page-turning classic of “suit-and-dagger suspense” (The New York Times): At the top of his class at Harvard Law, Mitch McDeere had his choice of the best firms in America. He made a deadly mistake.

Don’t miss John Grisham’s new book, THE EXCHANGE: AFTER THE FIRM, coming soon!

For a young lawyer on the make, it was an offer Mitch McDeere couldn’t refuse: a position at a law firm where the bucks, billable hours, and benefits are over the top. It’s a dream job for an up-and-comer—if he can overlook the uneasy feeling he gets at the office. Then an FBI investigation into the firm’s connections to the Mafia plunges the straight and narrow attorney into a nightmare of terror and intrigue. With no choice but to pit his wits, ethics, and legal skills against the firm’s deadly secrets—if he hopes to stay alive… BUY THE BOOK

About the Author

John Grisham is an expert storyteller, whose unforgettable characters fight for justice in a world that isn’t always fair.

John Grisham is the author of forty-seven consecutive #1 bestsellers, which have been translated into nearly fifty languages. His recent books include The Judge’s List, Sooley, and his third Jake Brigance novel, A Time for Mercy, which is being developed by HBO as a limited series.

Grisham is a two-time winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction and was honored with the Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for Fiction.

When he’s not writing, Grisham serves on the board of directors of the Innocence Project and of Centurion Ministries, two national organizations dedicated to exonerating those who have been wrongfully convicted. Much of his fiction explores deep-seated problems in our criminal justice system.

John lives on a farm in central Virginia. WEBSITE

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