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Los chicos de Biloxi by John Grisham
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Los chicos de Biloxi (edition 2023)

by John Grisham (Author)

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1,1354218,035 (3.74)7
For most of the last hundred years, Biloxi was known for its beaches, resorts, and seafood industry. But it had a darker side. It was also notorious for corruption and vice, everything from gambling, prostitution, bootleg liquor, and drugs to contract killings. The vice was controlled by small cabal of mobsters, many of them rumored to be members of the Dixie Mafia. Keith Rudy and Hugh Malco grew up in Biloxi in the sixties and were childhood friends, as well as Little League all-stars. But as teenagers, their lives took them in different directions. Keith's father became a legendary prosecutor, determined to "clean up the Coast." Hugh's father became the "Boss" of Biloxi's criminal underground. Keith went to law school and followed in his father's footsteps. Hugh preferred the nightlife and worked in his father's clubs. The two families were headed for a showdown, one that would happen in a courtroom. Life itself hangs in the balance in The Boys from Biloxi, a sweeping saga rich with history and with a large cast of unforgettable characters.… (more)
Member:palmero
Title:Los chicos de Biloxi
Authors:John Grisham (Author)
Info:PLAZA & JANES (2023), Edition: 001, 512 pages
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The Boys from Biloxi by John Grisham

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The Boys From Biloxi follows two families beginning with the immigration of the two patriarchs in the early twentieth century. The publisher’s plot summary suggests the story focuses on Keith Rudy and Hugh Malco, the grandsons. Instead, the primary focus is on their fathers.

The patriarchs were hard-working, church-going, family men, but the families grew apart over generations. The Malco family found success in gambling and prostitution, while the Rudy family stuck to honest labor and, eventually, the practice of law.

When Hurricane Camille destroyed the business along the Biloxi coast and the homes of hundreds of working- and middle-class residents, Lance Malco saw an opportunity to expand his underworld empire and eliminate his competition. All the major insurance companies denied the residents valid insurance claims, further enriching themselves. Jesse Rudy agreed to represent the desperate residents, often with no remuneration. These forces resulted in Lance becoming the head of the loose-knit criminal organization ruling the Mississippi coast, Rudy becoming the district attorney, and a head-on clash between the two.

The Boys From Biloxi plods along at a sluggish pace due to the summaries describing Biloxi’s history, the multiple chapters establishing Jesse, Lance, Keith, and Hugh as three-dimensional characters, and the 54-page epilogue. The necessary information could have been into action-oriented plot segments, shortening the book by 80-90 pages and moving the story along smoothly. These enervating flaws could have been fatal, but I never considered setting the book aside after the first sixty pages.

While the book has the potential for an outstanding story, it is marred by a slow-moving plot that gets up to speed only in its third section. Nevertheless, Grisham is a skilled storyteller, and The Boys From Biloxi will please many of his faithful fans. ( )
  Tatoosh | Jun 25, 2024 |
The Dixie Mafia, Mississippi, childhood friendships gone awry. I trudged to the last 50 pages and gave up. I found the characters monochromatic, the plots were blah. Considering THE EXCHANGE, his book after this, to be so spectacular, I figured this was written during Covid and kind of reflects it. ( )
  LivelyLady | Apr 18, 2024 |
Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.
As a Grisham fan, I was excited to read this one (as I am to read every one of his books), although this book is not one of his typical legal thrillers. This book tells the story of two families – the Malcos and the Rudys. Both families are of Croatian heritage and both settled in Biloxi. Hugh Malco and Keith Rudy grew up, played baseball and graduated HS together. However, after graduation they separated but each followed their respective fathers’ footsteps and joined the family businesses.
Hugh joined his dad, Lance, running nightclubs along the “Strip” which also offered illegal gambling, prostitution and drug dealing. Keith joined his dad, Jesse, at his law firm which attempted to take down all illegal establishments and the bosses that control them.
This is a slow burn but you know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. There isn’t a lot of “mystery” to this story and not a lot of dialogue. The story starts to pick up when it gets to the court proceedings tied to Jesse’s attempts to clean up the city.
The book begins with a LOT of backstory and character development. So much so that I wondered how it all tied in but it did become apparent as the book progressed. ( )
  Cathie_Dyer | Feb 29, 2024 |
It's been six years since I've read anything from John Grisham, and I don't remember having had quite this reaction to his work before. It was only my general weariness with "legal thrillers" that caused me to stop reading Grisham in the first place, so this is the first time I've been so underwhelmed by one of his books. The Boys from Biloxi strikes me as nothing more, really, than a boilerplate rehashing of a basic plot line I've read way too many times already.

This is the story of two very different families who live on Mississippi's Gulf Coast where boys from each family bond and become fast friends over their shared expertise at youth baseball. But of course, the boys are destined to take very different courses in life because one is the son of a crime boss who is the dominant vice provider in Biloxi, and the other is the son of a family whose patriarch dedicates his life to fighting exactly that type of crime. Each family, by definition, becomes the mortal enemy of the other.

Keith Rudy goes to law school and follows closely in his father's crime-fighting shoes; Hugh Malco, on the other hand, becomes his father's right-hand man, especially after the old man gets sentenced to Parchman, and follows closely in his father's brutal methods of running a crime syndicate. The clash between Keith Rudy and Hugh Malco is inevitable, and it will prove to be deadly.

So with a feel to it of "been there, done that," The Boys from Biloxi is both a coming-of-age novel and a very long, multi-generational family saga (454 pages in the edition I read) that still manages to feel rushed at times. There is a whole lot of "telling" in summary fashion of major plot shifts; short chapters of six or seven pages during which entire crimes are committed and solved; and poorly developed characters that appear over and over again without ever seeming to be all that real despite the numerous opportunities Grisham has to flesh them out.

There is, in fact, so much "telling" going on and so little "showing" that the novel strikes me as more of a fully fleshed outline for a short series of novels rather than itself being one self-contained novel. But The Boys from Biloxi kept me reading for 454 pages, and for that reason alone I'm going to call this a three-star book. ( )
  SamSattler | Jan 24, 2024 |
Why have I waited so long to read a John Grisham?!? I was thoroughly engrossed in this legal thriller and it wasn't as "literary" or "legally" as I thought it might be. It was very straightforward and the plot kept me engaged. Biloxi wasn't just known for it's coastal beauty and fishing, it was also known for its vices and corruption. The police and judges were in bed with the mobsters; taking cuts from the illegal drinking, gambling, and prostitution. Two young boys were raised in this environment and they couldn't lead different lives; once friends and athletes the two grow apart after high school and find themselves at opposite sides. One will become a lawyer who idealizes his father and the work he is doing to clean up Biloxi; the other a thug and mobster, one who also idolizes his father and the "empire" he built. Fast paced, I liked how this story spans over decades. The city of Biloxi also feels like a character. I definitely need to read more Grisham! ( )
  ecataldi | Dec 28, 2023 |
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For most of the last hundred years, Biloxi was known for its beaches, resorts, and seafood industry. But it had a darker side. It was also notorious for corruption and vice, everything from gambling, prostitution, bootleg liquor, and drugs to contract killings. The vice was controlled by small cabal of mobsters, many of them rumored to be members of the Dixie Mafia. Keith Rudy and Hugh Malco grew up in Biloxi in the sixties and were childhood friends, as well as Little League all-stars. But as teenagers, their lives took them in different directions. Keith's father became a legendary prosecutor, determined to "clean up the Coast." Hugh's father became the "Boss" of Biloxi's criminal underground. Keith went to law school and followed in his father's footsteps. Hugh preferred the nightlife and worked in his father's clubs. The two families were headed for a showdown, one that would happen in a courtroom. Life itself hangs in the balance in The Boys from Biloxi, a sweeping saga rich with history and with a large cast of unforgettable characters.

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