Last week I woke up in the middle of the night and had trouble falling back asleep. Why wife is a night owl in the midst of her busy season, so we crossed paths. I wanted to read something fictional and mindless so I could fall back asleep, and she reminded me that the last time I asked for that she bought me a used copy of The Firm.

About an hour later, I was on page 100. It is no surprise that a John Grisham novel is a page-turner. But the reason it was a page turner may not be what you think.

Next to no thrilling content is found in those first 100 pages. You get the sense that the novel is moving in that direction, but you aren’t deep into the mystery just yet.

Instead I was met with page after page of enormous salary package offers, signing bonuses, and the relentless pursuit of a new employee by a wealthy … Firm.

Much to my surprise, I was hooked.

I work for not one, but two non-profits. My Masters degree is among the least lucrative you can earn, financially speaking. The first 100 pages of The Firm, with all its recruitment of top talent with over-the-top offers, is something I simply will never experience.

And yet I was hooked. Probably because this is something I simply will never experience.

All that to say: I think John Grisham knows exactly what he is doing. Action and thrilling suspense can hook readers. But perhaps not as much as the allure of being pursued or the temptation of instant wealth.

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