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The Pelican Brief

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3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  276,542 Ratings  ·  1,876 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published April 25th 2006 by Delta (first published March 1992)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Cathie
Mar 26, 2008 Cathie rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Tina Suraj
Apr 27, 2010 Tina Suraj rated it it was ok
Shelves: suspense
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 ...more
Whitney
May 15, 2007 Whitney rated it did not like it
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.
Tom Barnes
Oct 17, 2008 Tom Barnes rated it it was amazing

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
Stefania T.
Jul 09, 2011 Stefania T. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ana M. Román
Aug 12, 2016 Ana M. Román rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Acabo de terminarlo hace apenas unos momentos. Debo decir que me ha gustado pero me gustó más La Confesión. Me parece evidente que es uno de sus primeros trabajos, es menos legalista que el anterior que menciono y usa más los típicos elementos usados para agradar a un público más amplio, incluído cierto componente romántico sútil. Además es mucho más comedido en sus críticas ya que aunque las hay son más del tipo que todo el mundo sabe y siempre dejan de lado que las que nos encontramos en La Co ...more
Annet
Nov 19, 2016 Annet rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
Read it years ago, remember I liked it, entertaining read. I used to like reading Grisham's books, maybe I'll try a new one soon, sort of lost track of all the books he wrote in the past years.
Tim Rees
Sep 22, 2016 Tim Rees rated it it was amazing
Many years since I read it, but I remember I couldn't put it down and falling in love with Darby Shaw. I read the book before the film and Julia Roberts was brilliantly cast in the role.
Megan Johnson
May 04, 2016 Megan Johnson rated it liked it
This book was hard to get into. I only read it because I heard it on Jeapardy and I wanted to seems smart. LOL, Just kidding.

The book was interesting, but with reading other books as well, I tended to jump around a lot. I usually don't do that, but it seemed like the book was really dry unless you were reading a dialog.
Anna
Jun 12, 2016 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
John Yelverton
Sep 16, 2011 John Yelverton rated it it was amazing
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.
Deb
Jan 03, 2013 Deb rated it it was amazing
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.
Seth
Oct 30, 2012 Seth rated it really liked it
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
Apr 11, 2013 Nabil Dabbagh rated it it was amazing
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
Harish Challapalli
Nov 28, 2011 Harish Challapalli rated it it was ok
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
Aug 17, 2013 Nenette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kieraanne
Hol-ee crap, that's hours and hours of my life I'll never get back. I've never read any of Grishams books, as thrillers starring lawyers and legal briefs have never interested me. Now having read this I don't see that changing any time in the foreseeable future. The entire plot line was entirely too convoluted. Too many characters with too many boring government jobs that I don't care about. Too much seemingly pointless plotting behind the scenes. The basic plotline itself failed to hold my ...more
Soho_Black
Feb 29, 2016 Soho_Black rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, used-to-own
Having recently come across a Grisham novel I actually enjoyed, I was encouraged to try another. I had only vague recollections of the film version of “The Pelican Brief”, but I figure that a book what was made into a film starring Hollywood stars as major as Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington couldn’t be all bad.

In “The Pelican Brief”, two Supreme Court Justices are murdered, seemingly at random. A legal student, Darby Shaw, thinks that they are linked and writes a brief explaining her thinkin
...more
Ashley Leader
Jul 11, 2011 Ashley Leader rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
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
Salymar
Jun 06, 2012 Salymar rated it it was amazing
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(afte
...more
Amber McAlister
Jan 29, 2015 Amber McAlister rated it liked it
This was my first Grisham novel. A fun, suspenseful read. It kept my interest. It's not the sort of book that deeply effects, makes one think profoundly, or covers any important social issues. So, I wouldn't call it an Important read, but if you need a good place-filler, something suspenseful and absorbing, this book could fit the bill.
It's likely that I'll be giving another Grisham novel a chance. They keep the reading muscles toned.
Luke A. Bunker
May 29, 2013 Luke A. Bunker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, ibooks, 2013
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!
Katy
Sep 08, 2015 Katy rated it really liked it
I was surprised it didn't have the big "twist" at the end that most of his books have. I can't believe I haven't read this one yet, but it's definitely a great old school John Grisham.
Dusty
Sep 19, 2008 Dusty rated it it was amazing
One of Grisham's best, if not THE best. A suspense classic.
Vignesh Umapathy
Darby Shaw's theory(The pelican brief) about the murders of the supreme court judges passes to the wrong hands and wreaks havoc in her life.

Grisham's characters don't go out of their way mostly. Like the incredibly broke Darby who doesn't jump into a fist fight. There is scarcely any action(That's good).
But she has one too many people to outwit. The FBI, a deadly assassin and bunch of goons who ambush her. Grantham, a resourceful reporter tries to help Darby.


Pelican brief has an interesting rea
...more
Steven Brandt (Audiobook-Heaven)
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 t
...more
Todd Russell
Jul 18, 2013 Todd Russell rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller, novel, legal
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
Elyse
Jul 16, 2013 Elyse rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Drebbles
Oct 09, 2009 Drebbles rated it liked it
Shelves: 2006
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 ...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
...more
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