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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Brethren by John Grisham

The Brethren by John Grisham. New York: Doubleday, 2000. ISBN: 0-385-49746-6

Another entertaining yarn from the legal beagle of storytellers, one that apparently I missed when it first came out. The plot is pretty implausible, but amusing. Three bad judges, locked up in jail, are running a scam. They put personal ads in gay publications, pretending to be a young man looking for an older sponsor. When they hook someone in, they blackmail him.

But oops, unbeknownst to them, one of the fish they've landed is a U.S. senator, being secretly groomed for the presidency by the head of the CIA, who plans to manufacture some serious crisis or other to help push him to power while running on a strong defense platform. And the spooks don't take kindly to the possibility of their guy being outed as a closet gay.

That's the part that doesn't really ring true, to me at least. Sure, other people have written similar stories in the past, imagining some kind of coup taking over the U.S. government, but in Grisham's case, we know it's all just for fun, just part of the entertainment package, designed to keep us turning the pages. And it works, but we know it's not real.

The most disappointing aspect of the book is the ending. The young alcoholic lawyer on the outside, who acts as mailman for the judges on the inside, gets bumped off by the CIA for no apparent reason, except that he knows a bit too much, while the judges get away scot free, and live out their days in Rome, where bored, they apparently start running their scam again. It's all just a little too pat, and the story just kind of peters out with a bit of a thud.

Recommended for Grisham fans, but not in his top class, in my view. Certainly not in the same league as such previous efforts as The Client, or The Firm.


  • Must be an enjoyable read The Brethren by John Grisham. loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and orignal, this book is going in by "to read" list.

    By Blogger rohit, at 6:09 AM  

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