The novel takes place in a number of locations across the United States and the Caribbean, but the setting that involves most of the plot and is important to the overall theme is that of Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis, which is adjacent to the Mississippi River, is the largest city in Tennessee and the second largest city the Southeast. Because the taxes in Memphis are lower than many other big cities, it has become a popular location for the offices of both national and international companies.
The main character, Mitchell McDeere, gives up offers at law firms in Chicago and New York to go with a firm in Memphis. He likes the family atmosphere of both the city and the firm itself, and feels that this hometown would be a better place to raise children. His wife agrees.
The irony is that Memphis turns out to be just as corrupt as those other big cities, and Mitchell ends up in a fight for both his morality and his life.
The setting of this novel changes quite a bit towards the end especially. The main location, which is the location of the firm, is in Memphis, Tennessee.