Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Top Ten Favorite Books by John Grisham

John Grisham is one of my favorite authors so I decided to compile a list of my favorite books that he’s written. In alphabetical order, here you go.
A PAINTED HOUSE: This book isn’t a legal thriller. Told from a child’s perspective, and set during cotton picking season in Arkansas, a young Luke Chandler deals with growing up poor and coming of age. I think it’s a little slower-paced than the usual action packed, edge-of-your-seat kind of story that Grisham is famous for, and a refreshing change of pace.
A TIME TO KILL: Complex issues wind their way through the narrative and forces the spotlight on how gray, as opposed to black and white, justice can be. Grisham puts the reader in the shoes of a man whose ten-year-old daughter is brutally beaten, repeatedly raped, and thrown off a bridge to die. It also takes the reader on a journey with Jake Brigance, a lawyer determined to find justice in spite of the chaos surrounding the case. This book made me think, and re-examine my morals and values.  
BLEACHERS: This book is all about football. How could I not like it? The main character, Neely Crenshaw, is a star quarterback in high school with some grievances against his old coach, Eddie Rake. Old secrets come to light years later as Coach Rake is dying. I wasn’t impressed with Mr. Rake. His mistakes make me question the methods purportedly used by some athletic coaches, but the book is fantastic.
THE BROKER: This is one of the first Grisham books I read. Part of it is set in Italy, a country I’m aching to see. Joel Backman, after spending years in Federal prison, is given a pardon and whisked away to Northern Italy where he’s given a new identity. Joel tries to resume a normal life. It almost sounds like a dream vacation were it not for the people out to kill him. Lots of action, drama and suspense, a very worthwhile read.
THE CLIENT: This book really pulled my heartstrings as a mother. A young Mark Sway is forced to listen to the confession of a lawyer who works for the mafia. Then the lawyer committed suicide in front of the boy. The FBI wants Mark to testify against the mafia. The mafia wants him dead. Mark Sway is one tough kid who gave them all a run for their money, including his lawyer Regina Love. I cheered as Mark managed to get justice for himself, and his family.     
 THE CONFESSION: This book “changed” the way I view capital punishment. Career criminal, Travis Boyette, has an inoperable brain tumor, and he’s also got a horrible secret. He wanders into the church office of minister, Keith Schroeder, and confesses to a horrendous crime. But how can that be? The cops arrested Donte Drum for the crime, and they swear they’ve got the right man. Is Boyette lying? I wasn’t sure.
I sobbed as I turned page after page, hoping, praying the victims would get justice. The ending wasn’t the happily ever after I thought it would be. If you’re looking for a sappy sweet ending where a heroic lawyer rides into court on a white horse with compelling evidence that sets the innocent free, this book is not for you. I threw it across the room, and cried. Yet, this book is one of my favorite’s because of how it moved me.
THE FIRM: This is Grisham’s second book, and it’s every bit as fascinating as his first. Mitch McDeere is hired at the law firm of Bendini, Lambert and Locke, a company that heaps lavish perks upon its new employee’s, but they’re hiding a terrible fact. Many of their clients are in the mafia. Mitch finds this out. Then the FBI tracks down Mitch, and asks him to testify against the crooked lawyers in the firm. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place. Lots of heart pounding suspense, a great book.       
THE PELICAN BRIEF: This one deals with a fight to save an endangered species of pelicans, and I’m a sucker for endangered animals. It begins with the murders of two Supreme Court justices and kept me on the edge of my seat. The suspense was palpable and I couldn’t wait to find out who-done-it! Darby Shaw has it right, but her struggle to bring the truth to light endangers not just her, but everyone around her. The book has more twists and turns than a Bavarian pretzel. It also has a surprising and satisfying ending.     
THE STREET LAWYER: I love how this book deals with the plight of the homeless. Michael Brock has it all, a nice boat house, expensive car, a cushy job at the law firm of Drake and Sweeney. He’s about to make partner. Things change dramatically when a homeless person enters the law office with a shot gun and fires away. It appears the vagrant went on a random rampage, but the law firm has secrets. Michael discovers those secrets and realizes the indigent man had reason to target them. One of my favorites by Grisham, I’ve read it at least four times, and it still makes me cry.  
THE TESTAMENT: The main character, a lawyer named Nate O’Riley searches for a woman named Rachel Lane, heiress to a large fortune. She’s also a missionary, deep in the jungles of Brazil, where phones and computers are non-existent. Time is of the essence as scores of people are lined up to claim the fortune if Rachel can’t be found. I love the elements of faith in this book. The happy ending brought me to tears.
            Have you read any John Grisham books? If so, what are your favorites?
            Next month I’ll post a list of my favorite books set during the Civil War, in honor of the 150th Anniversary of Lee surrendering at Appomattox Courthouse.