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John Grisham, Copyright: Deborah Feingold
John Grisham
born: 02-08-1955
in: Jonesboro, Arkansas


1989 .|. A Time to Kill Excerpt from Random House .|. Little Worm
1991 .|. The Firm Excerpt from Random House .|. Little Worm
1992 .|. The Pelican Brief Excerpt from Random House .|. Little Worm
1993 .|. The Client Excerpt from Random House .|. Little Worm
1994 .|. The Chamber Excerpt from Random House .|. Little Worm
1995 .|. The Rainmaker Excerpt from Random House .|. Little Worm
1996 .|. The Runaway Jury Excerpt from Random House .|. Little Worm
1997 .|. The Partner Excerpt from Random House
1998 .|. The Street Lawyer Excerpt from Random House
1999 .|. The Testament Excerpt from Random House .|. Bookworm's Comment
2000 .|. The Brethren Excerpt from Random House .|. Bookworm's Comment
2001 .|. A Painted House Excerpt from Random House
2001 .|. Skipping Christmas Excerpt from Random House .|. Bookworm's Comment
2002 .|. The Summons Excerpt from Random House .|. Bookworm's Comment
2003 .|. The King of Torts Excerpt at Bookreporter.com .|. Bookreporter.com
2003 .|. Bleachers Excerpt at Bookreporter.com .|. Bookreporter.com
2004 .|. The Last Juror Excerpt at Random House .|. Bookreporter.com
2005 .|. The Broker Excerpt at Bookreporter.com .|. Bookreporter.com
2006 .|. The Innocent Man Excerpt at Bookreporter.com .|. Bookreporter.com
2007 .|. Playing for Pizza Excerpt at Bookreporter.com .|. Bookreporter.com
2008 .|. The Appeal Excerpt at Random House .|. Bookreporter.com
2009 .|. The Associate Excerpt at Entertainment Weekly .|. Bookreporter.com
2009 .|. Ford County: Stories Excerpt at Entertainment Weekly
2010 .|. The Confession Excerpt at Random House
2011 .|. Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer
2011 .|. Theodore Boone: The Abduction
2011 .|. The Litigators Excerpt at Random House
2012 .|. The Racketeer Excerpt at Doubleday

The Testament
"The Testament" (Doubleday, First Edition, Hardcover, 1999, read: April 99)
"Troy Phelan is a self-made billionaire, one of the richest men in the United States. He is also eccentric, reclusive, confined to a wheelchair, and looking for a way to die.... ... Nate O'Riley is a high-octane Washington litigator who's lived too hard, too fast, for too long. ... Rachel Lane is a young woman who chose to give her life to God, who walked away from the modern world with all its strivings and trappings and encubrances, and went to live and work with a primitive tribe of Indians in the deepest jungles of Brazil. ..."

These are the three main characters, whose lives are influenced by the testament. Actually, this is not your ordinary Grisham because the plot alternates constantly between the courthouse and the Patanal in Brazil. On the one hand the highly indebted family of Troy Phelan is fighting among each other over the held back inheritance. On the other hand are the adventures of Ned O'Reilley in search for Rachel Lain in the brazilian rainforrests.
The courtroom scenes are not without humor, especially because the members of the family and their lawyers are quite a strange bunch of characters. However the real adventure takes place in the Patanal and suits among others the purpose to make it clear to the reader that this area is short of an ecological catastrophy. Eventually this is a book with a message. Not only due to the ecological aspect but also because of O'Reilleys alcohol addiction. All in all this is not bad but honestly I read Grisham because of his gripping courtroom dramas. If I wanted to have jungle adventures I would go for someone else. But it is as usual excitingly written and the end has an unsuspected twist in store.
[Dorothée Büttgen, May 99]

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The Brethren
"The Brethren" (Doubleday, First Edition, Hardcover, 2000, read: March 00)
"Trumble is a minimum-security federal prison, a 'camp', home to the usual assortment of relatively harmless criminals - drug dealers, bank robbers, swindlers, embezzlers, tax evaders, two Wall Street crooks, one doctor, at least five lawyers. And three former judges who call themselves the Brethren: one from Texas, one from California, and one from Mississippi. They meet each day in the law library, their turf at Trumble, where they write briefs, handle cases for other inmates, practice law without a license, and sometimes dispense jailhouse justice. And they spend hours writing letters. They are fine-tuning a mail scam, and it's starting to really work. The money is pouring in. Then their little scam goes awry. It ensnares the wrong victim, a powerful man on the outside, a man with dangerous friends, and the Brethren's days of quietly marking time are over."

The summary on the cover sounds a lot more thrilling than the book turns out to be. But it isn't boring either, because Grisham is a master in building up suspenseful storylines. He starts with two alternating, completely separate storylines and one can't wait to find out when they will meet: on one side the 'Brethren' with their scam to blackmail rich men, on the other side the CIA plot to get an unknown candidate elected for President of the United States in the middle of the campaign. But there the reader's problems start: who shall one identify with? Who shall win in the end? The three judges, all rightfully sentenced and now working as miserable blackmailers? The director of the CIA, pulling his strings in the background and not shrinking back from terrorist activities to get 'his' president elected? Or Aaron Lake, who came from nowhere with a seemingly white vest and who can't resist the temptation to become the most powerful man of the western world? These protagonists are either bad guys or pawns in a chess play. There is no 'hero' one can fear for if he may beat the system as for example in Grisham's earlier novels 'The Firm' or 'The Client'. And that leaves one with a bad feeling.
[Dorothée Büttgen, April 00]

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Skipping Christmas       DVD - Christmas with the Kranks
"Skipping Christmas" (Century Books London, First Edition, Hardcover, 2001, read: November 01)
"Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded malls, no corny office paries, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That's just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they'll skip the holiday altogether. Theirs will be the only house on Hemlock Street without a rooftop Frosty; they won't be hosting their annual Christmas Eve bash; they aren't even going to have a tree. They won't need one, because come December 25 they're setting sail on a Caribbean cruise. But, as this weary couple is about to discover, skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences - and isn't half as easy as they'd imagined."

John Grisham has written a Christmas story whithout any lawyers and courtrooms. It's a sweet story which mainly tries to answer the question if it's possible to avoid all the annual Christmas rituals which, as we all know, have nothing to do anymore with the real reason for the celebration. But Mr. and Ms. Krank don't want to do it to become better human beings but to make a cruise to the Carribean. And to finance this cruise they give up all the costly Christmas stuff. But they didn't reckon with their friendy neighbours, colleagues and shop keepers who make it rather difficult for them to stay consequent. But in spite of this it looks really good for the Kranks to make it.
I really don't tell too much of the end of the story when I say that it doesn't work out after all. But exactly at that point everything that should be most important at Christmas comes into focus again: unity, support and family.
The perfect book for the pre-christmas-season, very American (from an European point of view) and a quick funny read.
[Dorothée Büttgen, December 01]

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The Summons
"The Summons" (Dell Publishing, 1st edition, Paperback, 2002, read: October 02)
"Once Judge Atlee was a powerful figure in Clanton Mississippi - a pillar of the community who towered over local law and politics for forty years. Now the judge is a shadow of his former self, a sick, lonely old man who has withdrawn to his sprawling ancestral home. Knowing the end is near, Judge Atlee has issued a summons for his two sons to return to Clanton to discuss his estate. Ray Atlee is the eldest, a Virginia law professor, newly single and still enduring the aftershocks of a surprise divorce. Forrest is Ray's younger brother, who redefines the notion of a family's black sheep.
The summons is typed by the judge himself, on his handsome old stationery, and gives the date and time for Ray and Forrest to appear in his study. Ray reluctantly heads south to his hometown, to the place where he grew up and now prefers to avoid. But the family meeting does not take place. The judge dies too soon, and in doing so leaves behind a shocking secret known only to Ray. And perhaps someone else."

A family story from the Southern USA which sounds thrilling but gets rather boring after a few pages. When his father dies the son finds a fortune in cash in the house and tries to keep it secret from his drug-addicted brother. But someone else seems to know about the money. Therefore he runs away with the money, hides it, gets found, runs away again, gets found again and so on and so forth. During all this time he tries to find out by talking to various people where the money could have come from. This is neither very thrilling nor is the solution very surprising. In the end it doesn't really matter where the money came from. But the investigations take up a lot of time in the story. And concerning the persuer: It's not the gardener, but after a short while its so obvious that its no surprise at all. A book one can easily forget and which is no 'must read' even when you liked the earlier Grisham novels a lot.
[Dorothée Büttgen, November 02]

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