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The Brethren by John Grisham
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The Brethren (original 2000; edition 2005)

by John Grisham

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6,65155565 (3.36)40
Member:denverbennett
Title:The Brethren
Authors:John Grisham
Info:Delta (2005), Audio Cassette, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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The Brethren by John Grisham (2000)

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English (53)  Spanish (1)  Finnish (1)  All (55)
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
You have the three judges, who are locked away in a very low security prison in Florida. One for tax evasion, one for skimming bingo money and one for killing two hikers while driving drunk. Of the three, the only one that has any personality is the youngest, (in his fifties), Joe Roy Spicer. The other two, Finn Yarber and Hatlee Beech, play more of a supporting role. (I love the names!) The three collectively are known as "The Brethren" by the other inmates. These guys are smart and come up with a plan to extort gay men through letter writing and magazine adds with made up names. They find out their identities and the wealthy ones, then they begin to extort money in exchange for silence. Now, remember this is a low security Prison. But since they are in prison, they need an outside contact. Enter Trevor Carson. Trevor is a sleezy, lazy, and drunken, lawyer, who does not seem to do much in the way of law. He's a fun character though. You'll like and pity him.

Then there is Senator Aaron Lake, and CIA Director Teddy Manyard. Early on, Teddy convinces Lake to run for President after the caucuses are settled. He tells him to preach one single message: America is dropping the ball and cutting too much money on the military. This is obviously well before the events of 9/11.

So, how do the plots combine? It really takes only a minute to figure this one out. It is outlandish, but a fun read.

I did not like the way it ended. I had my ending in my head, but it rather abruptly just ended. It was almost as if a Grisham intended to write a sequel. ( )
  jothebookgirl | Jan 3, 2017 |
3 Judges — Scam Scene
Good + Quick — no poetic passages here —
loose ends left — maybe next book

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.
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  christinejoseph | Jul 3, 2016 |
3.5 stars ( )
  Andrew-theQM | Jun 20, 2016 |
Good story, weak ending. ( )
  Mwsberg | May 13, 2016 |
Frankly I don't expect a lot from Grisham, but this one tends to be one of his more predictable books. Having once worked in the legal profession, I enjoy the milieu more than anything else. The scam the judges use is the best part of the book. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
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From Publishers Weekly
Only a few megaselling authors of popular fiction deviate dramatically from formula--most notably Stephen King but recently Grisham, too.
 

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Grishamprimary authorall editionscalculated
Beck, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Berthon, PatrickTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dobner, TullioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuipers, HansTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuipers, HugoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuipers, NienkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lorentzen, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lundwall, Sam JTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Menini, Ma. AntoniaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muller, FrankNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rodrigues, Aulyde SoaresTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
van Gunsteren, DirkTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Villmann, PeeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For the weekly docket the court jester wore his standard garb of well-used and deeply faded maroon pajamas and lavender terry-cloth shower shoes with no socks.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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ISBN 0440236673 is for The Brethren; not The Firm
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440236673, Mass Market Paperback)

John Grisham's novels have all been so systematically successful that it is easy to forget he is just one man toiling away silently with a pen, experimenting and improving with each book. While not as gifted a prose stylist as Scott Turow, Grisham is among the best plotters in the thriller business, and he infuses his books with a moral valence and creative vision that set them apart from their peers.

The Brethren is in many respects his most daring book yet. The novel grows from two separate subplots. In the first, three imprisoned ex-judges (the "brethren" in the title), frustrated by their loss of power and influence, concoct an elaborate blackmail scheme that preys on wealthy, closeted gay men. The second story traces the rise of presidential candidate Aaron Lake, a puppet essentially created by CIA director Teddy Maynard to fulfill Maynard's plans for restoring the power of his beleaguered agency.

Grisham's tight control of the two meandering threads leaves the reader guessing through most of the opening chapters how and when these two worlds will collide. Also impressive is Grisham's careful portraiture. Justice Hatlee Beech in particular is a fascinating, tragic anti-hero: a millionaire judge with an appointment for life who was rendered divorced, bankrupt, and friendless after his conviction for a drunk-driving homicide.

The book's cynical view of presidential politics and criminal justice casts a somewhat gloomy shadow over the tale. CIA director Teddy Maynard is an all-powerful demon with absolute knowledge and control of the public will and public funds. Even his candidate, Congressman Lake, is a pawn in Maynard's egomaniacal game of ad campaigns, illicit contributions, and international intrigue. In the end, The Brethren marks a transition in Grisham's career toward a more thoughtful narrative style with less interest in the big-payoff blockbuster ending. But that's not to say that the last 50 pages won't keep your reading light turned on late. --Patrick O'Kelley

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:49 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

In a federal prison, three former judges who call themselves "the brethren" meet in the law library to run a rougher form of justice inside their community and make a some money, but when one of their scams derails, they are forced to confront the world of their own creation.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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