The Pelican Brief
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The Pelican Brief

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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  203,332 ratings  ·  1,385 reviews
In suburban Georgetown a killer's Reeboks whisperon the front floor of a posh home... In a seedyD.C. porno house a patron is swiftlygarroted to death... The next day America learnsthat two of its Supreme Court justices have beenassassinated. And in New Orleans, a young lawstudent prepares a legal brief... To Darby Shaw it wasno more than a legal shot in the dark, a brillia...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published April 25th 2006 by Delta (first published March 1992)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Cathie
I worked at a law firm where part of the movie was filmed. When Julia Roberts's character goes into a law firm to ask for a particular lawyer only to find out that he no longer works there and she leaves, that is my old firm. It is an ornate marble lobby with a small stream of water in the middle of the lobby. She goes through a glass door and can either go up an escalator or up some stairs to the reception desk, which overlooks the lobby. The walls are all glass and she can see across the floor...more
Kiersten
This book was a lot more suspenseful and entertaining than I thought it would be. I don't know why I thought it would be so boring, since John Grisham is so popular. It was incredibly suspenseful at parts. It was the first book I'd read by Grisham, so I really didn't know what was coming. I had three problems with it: 1) Although, like I said, the book as a whole was really suspenseful, I thought the end was a bit anticlimatic. 2) The environmentalism was a bit heavy handed. I'm all about preser...more
Stefania T.
John Grisham: primo fatale incontro.

'Il rapporto Pelican' è un libro "da apnea", ovvero appartiene a quel genere di libri che ti lasciano come unica via d'uscita la totale immersione. Non puoi smettere di leggere, il demone della frenesia da lettura si impossessa di tutte le tua facoltà fisiche e mentali, perciò non puoi fare altro che arrivare, in preda all'ingordigia, all'ultima pagina.

Tanto di cappello! Quante volte mi è capitato di avere la necessità fisica e mentale di letture simili? In qu...more
Whitney
May 15, 2007 Whitney rated it 1 of 5 stars Recommends it for: people who can read books very, very quickly
i had read a less well-known grisham book, and was pretty disappointed, so i decided to read this one, which is supposedly one of his best. terrible ending, tedious story for the most part. if you can read quickly you might not think you're wasting your time on this book.
John Yelverton
An edge of your seat thriller that keeps you turning the pages right up until the very end. A well done book by a great author.
Tom Barnes

Washington wakes up to the gruesome news that two members of the Supreme Court have been murdered overnight. The shocking part was in their diversity. The old, should have retired years ago, Democrat Justice Rosenberg and the younger Republican Justice Jensen. The fact that they were almost always on opposite sides of any issue left law enforcement with no clear political motive. The only clues left behind seemed to be ones of the killer’s choosing. A nylon cord used to garrote Jensen as he sat...more
Tina Suraj
My first Grisham novel and probably my last. The book was much too formulaic and a bit dull (not for an avid mystery reader and an adrenaline junkie)though at certain points it was a fast page turner. The plot was really weak. Maybe this environmental conspiracy plot was breakthrough in the 90s but in 2010, it's a tad bit overused and overdone. What made this book unbearable was Grisham characterization of Darby. She is the generic 90s heroine...extremely smart, absolutely stunning, with a spunk...more
Harish Kumar Sarma Challapalli
One of the boring plots!! Formula of Grisham!! Extortions, scams, legal issues, gayism, some political flavor!! There are many unanswered questions in the plot!! There are some thrilling points during the plot, but not very gripping at some times which leaves the reader a puzzled feeling!!

The story begins with the assassination of two
philosophically divergent Supreme Court
Justices. Liberal Justice Rosenberg is killed
at his home, while the conservative Justice
Jensen is killed inside a gay porn ci...more
Nenette
Such an exciting read. I've never watched the movie, but now I must see it.

The story is a testament to the adage "small but incredible". The package may be small, but it could be a bomb inside. Who'd have thought that a brief written by one gorgeous law student would be the downfall of many powerful men?

Grisham did a good job on playing out the whole story. Nothing was missed and cut; I didn't have unanswered questions. This is one of his best.
Seth
I recently re-read The Pelican Brief. Also known as John Grisham’s love letter to Julia Roberts. (He wrote the character of Darby Shaw with Julia Roberts in mind). Did he write the character of Gray Grantham with Denzel Washington in mind? Methinks probably not.

You probably know the plot - two Supreme Court justices get knocked off. A Tulane University student named Darby Shaw comes up with a theory as to who is responsible for the killings. She's spot on, and has to go on the run to save her ow...more
Nabil Dabbagh
I expected nothing but greatness from Grisham, and he didn't let me down (though that doesn't mean I don't have some small critiques).

Though The Pelican Brief was filled with suspense, the beginning to mid section of the novel did feel a little slow, but as the chapters go the book started sticking to my hands. (NOTE: Do not -- I repeat -- do not, read the last 5-7 chapters before going to bed. Give yourself enough time. I made the mistake to start reading the end at 11:30pm and didn't put the b...more
Salymar
OM. This book kept my interest, PAGE after PAGE.
The story is different from normal storyline in most of the books found on the shelves. :)
It gets you reading again and again so that you won't have to set this aside for a bit.

It's a one sit book - you sit and read then you're finish~voila!(of course with a taste of awesome satisfaction afterwards)

John Grisham truly writes legal mystery novels that will really keep your interest from the first page to the last.♥

This is one of my favorite books(aft...more
Luke Bunker
This is my kind of book! This isn't the traditional legal procedural I've come to expect from Grisham, but it's one of his earliest and one of his best that I've read so far. I loved the interplay between Washington politics, New Orleans sleuthing, and a heavy touch of my more favorite genres, the espionage thriller. Loved it!
Deb
First time I read this was 20 years ago. Just reread it for a book club and it's as exciting and relevant today as it was then.
Dusty
One of Grisham's best, if not THE best. A suspense classic.
Drebbles
When two Supreme Court justices are assassinated on the same night, there is plenty of speculation as to who the assassin or assassins are and why the judges were murdered. Like many others, law student Darby Shaw thinks she knows the motive. She writes a brief, soon to be known as The Pelican Brief, and shows it to her law professor/lover, Thomas Callahan. Unfortunately, he shows it to a friend of his who works for the FBI, who passes it along, and it falls into the wrong hands. When Callahan i...more
Elyse
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ashley Leader
This book was entertaining and pretty suspenseful, but it has a lot of problems. I have read two other Grisham books, The Client and The Firm, and I didn't think this one was as good.

Okay. Firstly, the characters are flat. This is acceptable because this is a thriller, but it would have been much better if people had some personality. Darcy, the protagonist, was so stereotypical as a beautiful (men can't help but lust after her oft-mentioned long legs) and brilliant law student.

Secondly, the who...more
Steven Brandt
The Pelican Brief is not my favorite John Grisham audiobook. I like his stories about young, hotshot lawyers going up against multi-million dollar insurance companies and things like that. Instead, The Pelican Brief is about a law student who has to go on the run after inadvertently identifying the guilty parties in a high-profile assassination. It’s not a bad story idea, but I don’t think Grisham pulled it off.

The law student, Darby Shaw, is primarily interested in constitutional law, and the...more
Todd Russell
The best character names provide an instant snapshot of what the person might be like. Enter Darby Shaw, the prodigal, beautiful (of course!), classy female law student who writes what seems like a far-fetched brief on who was responsible for the murder of two supreme court justices. This so-called pelican brief starts a chain of very bad events, over-reactions, involving villains that send Darby on the run. Enter chase scenes and tons of Oh No, I Think I'm Being Followed paranoia.

Some of what I...more
Sara Sbaraglia
Consigliatomi da mio padre, che è un appassionato del genere.
Visto e considerato che i miei gusti e i suoi fanno a cazzotti, per tutte le 400 pagine in questione mi sono chiesta perché diavolo l'ho assecondato.
(OT: quando gli ho riferito il mio giudizio negativo mi ha risposto che non era il libro che più mi consigliava, era un altro che ci teneva a farmi leggere, che questo non è niente di che, effettivamente, ma l'altro è bellissimo. Credo che come minimo farò passare due-tre anni prima di dar...more
Robert Gelb
A thriller novel that might as well have been a movie. There are few decent transitions, little insight in the aspects of the law (a legal thriller), and convoluted plot devices and decisions. With all of the running around and developing tension the story, you'd expect some sort of grand crescendo near the end. Not here. Pacing is hit or miss at best.

Where are the morals? Why must all of the bad guys be sociopathic or unfeeling? And how come the protagonist goes from diligent-and sexy, as EVER...more
Russ
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gregg
Jul 16, 2008 Gregg rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: crime
This must be where John Grisham started to lose whatever allure he'd built with me. His first two novels were captivating legal thrillers, but this one more resembles a block of wood with letters carved on it, for all the razzle-dazzle of his prose. Darby Shaw is a 24-year-old law student who takes it upon herself to investigate the assasinations of a couple of Supreme Court justices, inadvertently realizes the truth, and runs for her life when her memo on her theory winds up in the wrong hands....more
Connie
This book kept my interest, page after page.

The story is different, in fact,very different from normal storylines in most of the books out there on the market. It is refreshing and interesting because it shows how one ordinary lady, Darby Shaw, can come up with a solution that all the experts could not think of. Even after two justices are killed without a trace of evidence, she decides to uncover the killer. Then, when her brief is handed over to the FBI, the agent dies two days later in Darby'...more
Michael
Two supreme court justices are murdered on the same day. Everywhere people are speculating on who might have committed the crime and for what reason.

The President sees this as a chance to reshape the court. Eight of the justices will be republicans and this could change the direction of the country for years to come.

Darby Shaw is a bright law student at Tulane and thinks she knows the reason for the murders. She researches her opinion and publishes her findings in a document called "The Pelican...more
Emily
Oct 23, 2012 Emily rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
A review of Grisham's latest reminded me that I'd never read anything by this author. The first half of the novel annoyed me. Yes, Grisham is setting up the sexist and homophobic characters as bad guys, but I didn't feel that he was distancing himself enough from those attitudes (that it is awesome for a professor to date a student, that it's inherent embarrassing to be gay, etc.), and it got under my skin. Amazingly, in this dispiriting election season, this book managed to make me happy to be...more
MC
This book has its way of making the reader hooked. It kept me awake all night. But it was predictable. It lost its charm after Victor Mattiece was revealed as the mind behind the killings of two Supreme Court Justices. John Grisham wasn't able to maintain the thrill which was present in the first half of the story. I find Darby Shaw's decision to fly to D.C. and help Gray Grantham stupid. Her life was in danger. If I were her I would've run as fast as I can as far as possible. I've also noticed...more
Carra
I read this book with the hopes of bashing my pre-conceived notion of John Grisham. I've never been a big fan of his books, but everyone gushes about how amazing they are. I hoped that I could find the same thread in this book, that the masses seem to find in each book. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. It was a good book. I wasn't sullied by the movie (I've never seen it), but I just don't feel like John spends enough time developing his characters. He spends a great deal of time working on th...more
Imnot Anipod
interesting story; fair pacing; (generally) solid writing--though some of the dialogue seemed too contrived and the decision to refer to Darby Shaw's body in the objective, rather than possessive, was risky; furthermore, though everyone likes to see a protagonist strive, Darby's character seemed too unrealistic, too perfect, and at times was melodramatic and annoying. all in all an enjoyable read but nothing i'll be thinking about in the morning... my lukewarm reception to the work of a one-time...more
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721
"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...more
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