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The Brethren

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  71,848 Ratings  ·  1,455 Reviews

They call themselves the Brethren: three disgraced former judges doing time in a Florida federal prison. One was sent up for tax evasion. Another, for skimming bingo profits. The third for a career-ending drunken joyride. Meeting daily in the prison law library, taking exercise walks in their boxer shorts, these judges-turned-felons can reminisc
Paperback, 448 pages
Published March 27th 2012 by Dell (first published February 1st 2000)
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Elke Koepping Nothing, boring book. Didn't like it as well. Better read another one by Grisham that suits you better. Time is too precious to waste it on a book you…moreNothing, boring book. Didn't like it as well. Better read another one by Grisham that suits you better. Time is too precious to waste it on a book you don't get along with.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Reads Like a Someone Else's Parody of a John Grisham Novel
"Scientists are now using lawyers instead of rats for their experiments. There are two reasons for this. The scientists don't become attached to the lawyers and there are some things rats won't do.
Robin Williams as a grown Peter Pan in Hook (1991, Tri Star).

Grisham pulled the plot of this novel from infamous prison pen pal scams near me in Louisiana and Mississippi in the late 1980s. The scam worked like this: the prisoner would engag
Asghar Abbas
Feb 21, 2016 Asghar Abbas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Undoubtedly well written and undeniably funny. Often cited as his funniest book, so very entertaining. Although, lack of a definite protagonist was irksome, really bothered me. I demand absolutes and neatly ordained worlds in fiction, or else it's pointless.

Plus, it was scary how a presidential candidate can be so easily controlled and selected; the whole selection be that manipulative with such precision. That didn't seem fictional at all.

Susan Morris
Mar 20, 2009 Susan Morris rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I like John Grisham as a writer, but not this book.

Three things:


There was something about the homophobia in the novel that made me squeamish. I understand there are homophobes, but there was nothing in this novel to offset it. It's a dominate theme in the novel, normal and accepted, as if there is no alternative to homophobia.

The reader gets to know the inner workings of the minds of some of the worst lowlifes in the book, which is amusing at times. Not so with the protagonist. In fact, I'm
The Bretheren was published in 2000, one year before 9/11, which makes it a remarkable read, and for those who read it at the time, must have been flabbergasted at the horrific event of that day, September 11, 2001 in New York.

In the marketing world an expression is used which rings true for everything in life: You can fool all the people all the time if the advertising is right and the budget is big enough - Joseph E. Levine. Another concept is to first create a need(if there isn't an existing
Dec 11, 2008 Brad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The Brethren by John Grisham

I found this to be a pretty interesting book. It is the story of the brethren, three ex-judges in a low-security prison called Trumble, who come up with a scheme to extort money from older homosexual men. Two victims and one hundred eighty-nine thousand dollars into the scam the judges run across their biggest victim of all – Aaron Lake. He is the next president to be and seems to have a lot to offer.

One of the cool parts of this book is how much of the story happe
Marty Reeder
I would not say I'm a reluctant John Grisham reader. I just haven't felt a dying urge to search out his novels. Maybe I'm just afraid of any sort of legal setting and try to avoid it in any medium it's presented in. Finally, I picked up a paperback of Grisham's novel, Runaway Jury and plodded through it. Certainly he can present some very intriguing characters and situations, and his mastery of plot intricacies and how it plays out demonstrated to me why he has garnered the bestselling status he ...more
Mar 23, 2008 Amanda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it
I'm looking for something somewhat mindless and suspenseful.. and this has been lying around my apartment for a long while. It's probably been 10 years since I've read a Grisham novel, but I used to just tear through them. Plus it seems to have a presidential election as part of the plot. How appropriate!

5/23: Finally finished this. I have to say it wasn't high on my reading priorities list as I was reading it. So I dragged my heels a lot. That plus I really wasn't digging it too much. Early on
Jun 27, 2007 Sulan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As far as John Grisham goes... I have to say I was disappointed. I mean it was easy to read, and entertaining as Grisham always is, but the ending really sucked. To be fair, I don't know if he could ever top his classics like The Firm and A Time to Kill, etc. Let's just say, I wouldn't bother making a film out of this one.
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
Great book. Wished the ending wasn't so predictable.
May 18, 2011 Allison rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have read several John Grisham novels and this particular one did not have the usual punch that are typical in his stories. In other books of his there is suspense and intrigue, but I would not say The Brethren has these characteristics.

The dual plots are slow in developing and once the two converge it is fairly predictable from there. With a lack of twists and turns it was really difficult to stay engaged in the book. With no true climax or twists to drive the story it felt like it lacked hea
Kaustubh Dudhane
Jan 24, 2017 Kaustubh Dudhane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic scam, scared in-the-closet folks, CIA and the Presidential Election! Wow! It has been a long time since I have read John Grisham's novels. The wait was worth it. The pages had glue attached to them and I was able to finish the book in 3 sittings (which is a big deal for me.) It was fun.
Feb 16, 2013 Sharon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
John Grisham is one of my favorite authors, and I have a lot of respect for him. The characters in this book, however, were despicable. And thus, two stars. It's only redeeming value to me was the fact that it took place in Florida, near Jacksonville and Orange Park, where I have lived in the past. The story itself was completely and utterly depressing, and even more so because I feel that an author of Grisham's stature and qualifications will have done his research and that the premise is sound ...more
Apr 07, 2012 Steph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not usually a John Grisham fan. As a lawyer, I read to escape the drama of my daily life, not to be immersed in another attorney's fictional version of what he wishes our occupation looked like. However, this book far exceeded my expectations. The writing was creative, descriptive, and exciting, with incredible attention to detail. Although technically a drama, reading this book felt like an adventure I did not want to end.

This wasn't a book about the law, or lawyers, or the legal field. Hal
Knot Telling
There are three story lines in The Brethren. One takes place mainly in a minimum security federal prison camp where three disgraced former federal judges are incarcerated and from where they operate an extortion scam. A second story line takes place entirely within "the bunker", a windowless room from which Teddy Maynard, the aging and disabled director of the CIA, plays kingmaker and manipulates domestic and international events. The third story line involves the people outside prison and the C ...more
Alex Telander
Doing Time Never Paid So Good

To quite a few people, when they hear that John Grisham has come out with a new novel, their first hasty generalization is that it is another “lawyer book.” This may have been true with his first five novels, but the subsequent five had been entirely different. Yes, each involved a lawyer or the court in some way, but they entailed an interesting story not to do with law and the courts, but with ordinary happenstances of life. Once again, John Grisham has delivered w
Reev Robledo
Oct 26, 2012 Reev Robledo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grisham
Since I'm a law aficionado, I often read one Grisham novel a year (my legal drama fix mostly comes from lawyer TV shows though). For 2012, I'm glad I chose this one.

If you're accustomed to his body of work, then you know that most of Grisham's books have bittersweet endings. So it's a delight to read one which is, for a change, so unlike his previous writings. You thought I was going to say the opposite of "bittersweet" now, didn't you? Unless the book sucks, I hardly give spoilers when I do a r
Robin Sencenbach Ferguson
This is an unusual Grisham novel that both works and doesn't work. He steps out of his usual courtroom setting to a low-security prison where three former judges are incarcerated. They are serving their time, minding "court cases" among their fellow inmates--and are participating in a blackmail scheme. Entwined with this is a primary race where a no-name candidate is thrust into the public spotlight by the hefty financial resources of a powerful organization with motivations of its own. What beg ...more
Jun 18, 2009 Nathan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let me make a confession. I only checked this book out because, sitting in my bar review course on Constitutional Law, the teacher made a reference to a book titled "The Brethren" that purported to report that the clerks (and some of the Justices themselves) on the Surpeme Court would hold 'movie day' where they would watch the evidentiary movies that were being appealed on First Amendment obscenity-content/free-speech grounds. Such a statement was so absurd to me that I had to find-out for myse ...more
Jan 11, 2013 Janice rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though many of John Grisham novels usually contain numerous courtroom scenes, this book does not. His books are interesting and can be read in few sittings since we tend to get absorbed with the characters he writes about. I normally give his books a better rating, but it's the subject of this particular book that bothered me. That being said, I had to read it to the end to see how it ended.

Three ex-judges are serving time in a minimum security prison when they come up with the idea of extorting
Jul 19, 2011 Nenette rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Skeletons in the closet are what this story is all about.  They're actually high-powered skeletons kept by no less than the most popular candidate for the American presidency.  Skeletons that are being threatened to be exposed by conniving inmates in a federal prison.  A threat that was put at bay by no less than the CIA.

Everything was going nicely on all fronts: intriguing characters, exciting plot build up. I was telling myself this is why I like Grisham; then without warning, it suddenly ende
Feb 25, 2009 JoPaul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, legal
I don't have any doubt that Grisham will once again cast a spell on me with th rich story he had crafted through The Brethen. This is despite the selected diatribes I have read from the critics and fellow goodreaders. Undeniably, this novel is an amalgamation of humor and wit.
Dilwyn Griffiths
Possibly my favourite Grisham novel. Would love to see a film adaptation.
Hannah H.
Feb 15, 2017 Hannah H. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book does have some strengths, but by the end I hated it.

Grisham presents a cynical view of ruthless, arguably sociopathic behavior behind the acquisition and use of political power and enormous financial gain. I hate to say it, but I suspect this view is more realistic than most of us would like to believe.

The fact that this ghastly and violent view of the workings behind the scenes in national and international politics was published just a few months prior to 9/11 is remarkably propheti
Soumia soltani
Apr 08, 2012 Soumia soltani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Soumia Soltani

The Brethren by John Grisham is a suspense novel that won number one New York Times bestseller. The book lives up to it’s title. It is about three ex judges that are confined within Trumble prison. Joe Roy Spicer had been a Justice of the Peace, and was sent to jail for skimming bingo profits. Another judge called Hatlee Beech was arrested after killing two hikers in Yellowstone National Park due to driving under the influence. The third judge was arrested for tax evasion, his nam
Sinta Nisfuanna
Rasa bosan ternyata bisa membuat seseorang menjadi kreatif. Sayangnya, daya kreatif tak selalu beriringan dengan cara dan sikap yang positif. Tiga mantan hakim yang telah berstatus narapidana di penjara federal 'berkreasi' untuk mengisi tahun-tahunnya yang membosankan. Spicer, Beech, dan Yarber, yang menamakan dirinya Majelis, menciptakan sosok imajinasi, Percy dan Ricky, untuk mengelabui dan menjebak para pria paruh baya. Mereka memasang iklan di sebuah majalah yang seolah-olah dikirim oleh seo ...more
Josh Feinzimer
Oct 24, 2007 Josh Feinzimer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: suspense junkies
Shelves: thriller
I really enjoyed this book. I've read several of the lesser known Grisham books because I've seen the others on film.

I thought Grisham tackled sensitive subject material with with grace and intelligence. We all know, paying attention to the news, that there are in fact closeted gay men in elite positions in this country. Grisham explores this reality in the novel, which makes for genuine and realistic prose.

It's hard to determine who the hero is in this work because each character seems to be so
Sep 26, 2012 Kerra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, law-related
This book was awesome. I thought it would be one of those books where you could guess everything that happened or was going to happen, but I was wrong. The reason I thought this was because in the beginning of the book there were two different stories going on and I figured that both of them would merge eventually somehow. Well they did, and they did merge in the way that I guessed they would (I didn't want to believe it) but they did. However, when they started to get deeper in how the out come ...more
Tracy Darity
I give The Brethren 3.5 stars.

The Brethren by John Grisham is about a scam pulled off by 3 Felons in a low security federal prison, located in North Florida. But these aren’t your everyday criminals, they are public officials gone bad. With the help of a lazy attorney on the outside, they extort money from wealthy men with a secret they don’t want revealed. When they snag the wrong person in their trap things begin to unfold. Who they think is on to them really isn’t, but they are never the wis
Noah Hochberg
Oct 30, 2013 Noah Hochberg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read other books by John Grisham before. My personal favorite is The Rainmaker because it was made into a good movie. This book was way more interesting than his others though. While his other books are usually about lawyers and the right side of the law being portrayed as the protagonist, this book has criminals as the protagonists. I liked the new view. I also liked how a very boring topic could have been made into such a thrilling book. Three old men, rotting away in prison and doing bas ...more
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"Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of
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“And they drank heavily, partied with great enthusiasm, and relished the drug culture; they moved in and out and slept around, and this was okay because they defined their own morality. They were fighting for the Mexicans and the redwoods, dammit! They had to be good people!” 27 likes
“What would his friends think? The Honorable Hatlee Beech, federal judge, writing prose like a faggot, extorting money out of innocent people.” 5 likes
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