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The Brethren

John Grisham

Average Review Rating Average Rating 7/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Arrow

Published : 2000

Copyright : Belfry Holdings, Inc. 2000

ISBN-10 : PB 0-09-928025-6
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-09-928025-5

Publisher's Write-Up

Trumble is a minimum security federal prison, home to the usual assortment of relatively harmless criminals - drug dealers, bank robbers, swindlers, embezzlers, tax evaders, and three former judges who call themselves The Brethren. They meet each day in the law library where they handle cases for other inmates, practise law without a licence, 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.

'Grisham spins out a compelling, beautifully written thriller it's all absolutely brilliant.'

Independent on Sunday

'An engaging and fast-paced story of powerful men in high places and blackmail gone awry, it will hook you from the first page and won't let you go.'

New York Post

'Completely gripping.'

The Mirror

'A lively and fast-paced story.'

Times Literary Supplement
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Reader Reviews

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Review by Chrissi (010302) Rating (7/10)

Review by Chrissi
Rating 7/10
It seems to me that Mr. Grisham is getting a bit bored with his format, I can remember reading the Client and the Firm for the first time and the pace and suspense were wonderful, however, this one just does not have the zip that the early stories had.

That is not to say, though that it was not an interesting story, American politics always seem to have that certain something that we lack here, a certain flamboyance, but we are rather more staid than that. We like to consider ourselves to be a good judge of character of our politicians, and to think that we can make our decisions without bias, not en masse like sheep.

The Brethren shows how money and political influence can alter the race for the Presidency, and how much people may be willing to pay not to have their dirty linen washed in public.

The Brethren are inmates of a low security prison who have evolved a nice little sideline in blackmail to build a nest-egg for when they get out. They put letters in discrete publications, pretending to be a young man with problems who wants a relationship with an older man. The older man, unsuspecting, writes back and enters into a carefully managed correspondence, his letters are scrutinised for hints of wealth and blackmail-ability, and then the bottom is torn away, revealing a demand for money against silence from whatever they fear most. Many of these men seem to have lived their lives in the closet, and do not wish to be dragged from its comfort.

Unfortunately, the letters seem to snag a man who no-one would ever have considered to have any secrets, a man who the powers that lurk behind the government of America think can do the top job better than any other, and who are prepared to put their money and faith behind to get him into that position. The Brethren are about to bite off more than they can chew, you would have thought.

That is about as far as you get, there is never any real tension, and certainly no threat to the Brethren, you would think that an organisation ruthlessly willing to subvert a government would not have any qualms about bumping off a bunch of geriatric criminal blackmailers, but at no point do you imagine that they will actually take this kind of action.
It is an OK type of book, and would make good holiday reading, but just do not plan to think too hard about it, and if you are looking for a rather more demanding book, take the Client, it is a much more gripping story.

Chrissi (1st March 2002)

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