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The Pelican Brief by John Grisham
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The Pelican Brief (1992)

by John Grisham

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (42)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (46)
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
Two Supreme Court justices have been killed. As an exercise, Tulane law student Darby Shaw writes a brief about the case. However, it has a nasty way of causing the deaths of anyone who knows its contents. When the trail of death extends to her professor and lover Thomas Callahan, she's forced into a life on the run, while the FBI tries to figure out who is responsible and perhaps save Darby's life as well, if they're lucky.

For a legal thriller, this book moved surprisingly quickly. It especially picked up the pace once Callahan was out of the way. I thought Darby was much too smart for such a boozy, irresponsible person, so it was a relief to see him gone. She made a resourceful heroine, adapting well to being on the lam even while it put great strain on her mental and financial resources. It was especially nice to see her being so resourceful when she was the only female character of note in the book. I also found the backbiting and rivalry among the various government spy agencies amusing, while wondering how much was true.

Overall I enjoyed the book, even the almost painfully suspenseful dénouement that caused me to hold my breath while reading. Recommended if you're interested. ( )
  rabbitprincess | May 27, 2014 |
Another great read from John Grisham - but I don't think it was one of his very best ones. ( )
  adeej | Apr 25, 2014 |
Amazon.com Review John Grisham's head was full of movies when he wrote The Pelican Brief, which is such a brisk page-turner you could use it to dry your hair. He had Julia Roberts in mind for the heroine, Darby Shaw, a brilliant Tulane law student who comes up with an ingenious theory to explain the baffling assassinations of two Supreme Court justices in one day. They were shot and strangled by ace international terrorist Khamel, who loves the film Three Days of the Condor, but government gumshoes don't get what connects the deaths. Silly government guys! They died so the conservative president, who just wants to be left alone to play golf, will appoint new, conservative justices who will help out a case involving an industrialist who is the enemy of pelicans and other living things. It's all spelled out for them in Darby's brief. She likes to do legal feats to impress her boyfriend, her boyish law prof Thomas (who, like Grisham, prefers to shave at most once a week, and is cool, smart, and antiauthoritarian). The prof likes to paint her toes red, in homage to Susan Sarandon in Bull Durham. (Sarandon also starred in the film version of Grisham's But when Thomas gets splattered by a car bomb meant for Darby, she escapes the hospital and hooks up with a Washington Post reporter, Gray Grantham, who sleuths like the guys in Grisham wishes he hadn't written The Pelican Brief quite so quickly (his first novel, Pelican's very breathlessness contributes to its dreamy, cinematic chase-o-rama atmosphere. From Publishers Weekly In this tale of the aftermath of the assassinations of two Supreme Court justices, Grisham delivers a suspenseful plot at a breakneck pace, although his characters are stereotypes. The hardcover was on the PW bestseller list 48 weeks and the mass market was No. 1 last week.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. ( )
  Hans.Michel | Sep 13, 2013 |
This is the only John Grisham novel I've ever finished. ( )
  JG_IntrovertedReader | Apr 3, 2013 |
Read it in my teens, loved it. Decided to read it again. Sometimes I just like a blockbuster novel!! On rereading it again, I found it enjoyable, and in places, exciting. I find I do like novels where the main characters are being chased, and have to look things up in libraries, etc...I loved the main female character, Darby, being chased through various cities, and her escaping death at every corner. It was a fun novel! And on around page 142 of the small paperback version, a major shock bombshell happens I wasn't expecting, and I'd already read the novel once before!! I liked this, but was very surprised at (SPOILER AHEAD!!!) the writer basically knocking himself off (the character was sooo John Grisham, but drunk). So well done for that!! I loved all the reporting and newspaper aspects in it, I love anything set in a newsroom. There's just something very exciting about a busy newsroom and how papers used to be made (this was written or published in 1992. Not so exciting now in digital times). There's even a bit of romance at the end, a happily (by month) ever after. You romantic, John Grisham you!! All in all a very fun read, action packed and never stops for a breather. I found the female lead, Darby, a bit lacking however....she was like Law Student Barbie. All long legs and no character, but every male fell over himself for her. Apparantly being good looking is all it takes to be a good character.
  Pinky22 | Mar 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Grishamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ruuska, IrmeliTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tremps, EnricTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To My Reading Committee: Renee, my wife and unofficial editor; my sisters, Beth Bryant and Wendy Grisham; my mother-in-law, Lib Jones; and my friend and co-conspirator, Bill Ballard
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He seemed incapable of creating such chaos, but much of what he saw below could be blamed on him.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385339704, Paperback)

John Grisham's head was full of movies when he wrote The Pelican Brief, which is such a brisk page-turner you could use it to dry your hair. He had Julia Roberts in mind for the heroine, Darby Shaw, a brilliant Tulane law student who comes up with an ingenious theory to explain the baffling assassinations of two Supreme Court justices in one day. They were shot and strangled by ace international terrorist Khamel, who loves the film Three Days of the Condor, but government gumshoes don't get what connects the deaths. Silly government guys! They died so the conservative president, who just wants to be left alone to play golf, will appoint new, conservative justices who will help out a case involving an industrialist who is the enemy of pelicans and other living things. It's all spelled out for them in Darby's brief. She likes to do legal feats to impress her boyfriend, her boyish law prof Thomas (who, like Grisham, prefers to shave at most once a week, and is cool, smart, and antiauthoritarian). The prof likes to paint her toes red, in homage to Susan Sarandon in Bull Durham. (Sarandon also starred in the film version of Grisham's The Client.)

But when Thomas gets splattered by a car bomb meant for Darby, she escapes the hospital and hooks up with a Washington Post reporter, Gray Grantham, who sleuths like the guys in All the President's Men.

Grisham wishes he hadn't written The Pelican Brief quite so quickly (his first novel, A Time to Kill, went through dozens of drafts), but Pelican's very breathlessness contributes to its dreamy, cinematic chase-o-rama atmosphere.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:55:25 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

In suburban Georgetown a killer's Reeboks whisper on the front floor of a posh home... In a seedy D.C. porno house a patron is swiftly garroted to death... The next day America learns that two of its Supreme Court justices have been assassinated. And in New Orleans, a young law student prepares a legal brief... To Darby Shaw it was no more than a legal shot in the dark, a brilliant guess. To the Washington establishment it was political dynamite. Suddenly Darby is witness to a murder -- a murder intended for her. Going underground, she finds there is only one person she can trust -- an ambitious reporter after a newsbreak hotter than Watergate -- to help her piece together the deadly puzzle. Somewhere between the bayous of Louisiana and the White House's inner sanctums, a violent cover-up is being engineered. For somone has read Darby's brief. Someone who will stop at nothing to destroy the evidence of an unthinkable crime.… (more)

» see all 19 descriptions

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