by John Grisham
(Hodder, £19.99) ****
Apart from his success, the most remarkable aspect of John Grisham’s literary career is how his loathing of corporate law firms remains unqualified. His latest begins with a convincing portrayal of a meltdown: David Zinc, a 31-year-old drone at Rogan Rothberg in Chicago, is unable to exit the elevator and descends instead to a day of drinking at a bar. He somehow becomes involved in a massive case against a drug company, Varrick Labs, whose anti-cholesterol pill, Krayoxx, may actually be lethal. Given the naive Zinc’s first name, it is obvious that he will find himself “all alone against the big boys”. Once again, Grisham puppy-walks the reader through the legal process. The characterisation is off-the-peg, the twists signalled a mile off, and yet it’s gripping.
by Michael Connelly
(Orion, £18.99) ***
Harry Bosch of the Open-Unsolved Unit is just beginning to investigate how the blood of a 29-year-old rapist could be part of a crime scene when he was only eight years old, when he is diverted to a suicide at the Chateau Marmont hotel. The jumper – or was he pushed? – is the son of one of Bosch’s enemies, Councilman Irvin Irving, who has a vendetta against the LAPD. Why has the ex-cop insisted Bosch lead the case? The Drop is a brilliant title. Besides the dead man’s fall, it refers to the police department’s Deferred Retirement Option Plan Harry has applied for, a taxi driver’s delivery of a passenger and a drop of blood. If the identity of the 1989 killer is revealed too soon, the answer to the did he-or-didn’t-he question of the prospective suicide is satisfyingly delayed.