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The Brethren

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  66,438 Ratings  ·  1,291 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. And 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 reminisce about old court cases
Paperback, 384 pages
Published December 27th 2005 by Delta (first published January 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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28th out of 161 books — 294 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Susan Morris
Mar 26, 2009 Susan Morris rated it did not like it
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
Mar 09, 2014 Margitte rated it it was amazing
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

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
Feb 06, 2008 Marty rated it it was ok
Shelves: attic-bookshelf
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
May 23, 2008 Amanda rated it it was ok
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
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
Great book. Wished the ending wasn't so predictable.
Jun 27, 2007 Sulan rated it it was ok
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.
Apr 30, 2013 Sharon rated it it was ok
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
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
May 30, 2011 Allison rated it did not like it
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
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
Reev Robledo
Nov 23, 2012 Reev Robledo rated it really liked it
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
Alex Telander
Jan 23, 2011 Alex Telander rated it liked it
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
Jun 30, 2012 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 ended!
Aug 13, 2015 Gabe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well there is no secret about this author, he's prolific offering great books and I am no stranger to his books, in fact that's why I've chosen this one, so I can get reacquainted with his style.

Without spoiling your fun, I would say this is a very entertaining book. An interesting and quite unique theme is explored, something like three former judges now felons serving time in a low security federal prison are engineering and operating a lucrative scheme to extort money by blackmail from other
Nov 16, 2015 Alisonnic rated it it was ok
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
Jun 18, 2009 Nathan rated it liked it
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 04, 2011 Matt rated it really liked it
I was very skeptical of this book because of the plot line, but I ended up enjoying the book. I think that I liked it because of the fun that was had at the expense of modern day politics. The judges were fun characters even though they were convicted of crimes and extorting innocent people they were hard not to like because of there polar opposite personalities that mesh so perfectly together.

Three former judges (known as "The Brethren") incarcerated at Trumble, a fictional, federal minimum sec
Eric Dunn
Nov 01, 2010 Eric Dunn rated it liked it
This is probably the 5th or 6th Grisham book that I have read and I would have to say that it is a middle of the pack book for him. It's isn't great but it also wasn't terrible. Most of the time when I pick up a Grisham book I have a hard time putting it down and will read it until it's finished. That was not the case with this book.

The plot took a very long time to develop and once it did you could see the ending coming for about 100 pages. Usually with his books there is a surprise at the end
Tracy Darity
Jan 17, 2011 Tracy Darity rated it liked it
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
Jawe Querimit
May 23, 2012 Jawe Querimit rated it liked it
While reading the book, I felt like I was watching a movie. The characters are very interesting. I find them interesting not because they're evil but because they served as containers of the author's thoughts. Grisham was able to touch one serious problem that happened, may still be happening and may still happen in the future in the real world.

The plot's fantastic. The reader might have this feeling that he's reading two different stories at the same time at the onset of the book.

The ending wa
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
Josh Feinzimer
Oct 25, 2007 Josh Feinzimer rated it liked it
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
Robin Sencenbach
May 25, 2013 Robin Sencenbach rated it liked it
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
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
Jr Bacdayan
Feb 03, 2013 Jr Bacdayan rated it really liked it
I loved this book. The story is so irresistibly original. Three disgraced judges in prison have a scam extorting money from closeted homosexuals for their "retirement fund". What they're about to realize is that they've hooked the biggest fish in the ocean. This particular Grisham work is definitely one of his best. The pace is brilliantly fast that I couldn't stop reading this book when I started. The characters, especially the Judges are so terribly beautiful in their depiction. The writing is ...more
Aug 29, 2013 Donavon rated it liked it
The book is about these three judges who are guilty with treason. They are sent to jail. For many years. They have a plan to gain money by finding a lawyer who is willing to help them. After scamming many people they try to scam the next president. He was handpicked by the government to win.
The book was very suspenseful it was an okay read. I think you should read if you want to.

The book was okay to me I really think that it wasn't good. It basically had it’s up and downs. I could be very bad a
Elke Koepping
Jan 19, 2016 Elke Koepping rated it it was ok
I honestly have no clue why anyone would want to read a story about three old farts in prison who figure out some boring old scam scheme and a narcissistic politician reaching for world supremacy... John Grisham sure knows how to write, but I stopped reading beyond page 50. It just seemed all too slick, no edges, no curves.
Jul 11, 2012 Teresa rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-crime
This novel was different from others I've read from Grisham but still very interesting...definitely a good read. The story of three former judicial officers, who due to their criminal activities, find themselves guests in a low-security federal prison. To relieve their boredom and line their pockets they organize a scam preying on wealthy gay men whose sexuality is a secret and who want to keep it that way.

Enter presidential-candidate Lake. A virtual unknown to the nation suddenly mad to see him
Oct 28, 2015 Alesia rated it liked it
crazy story of what happens when people who know the in and outs of the law can use that to their advantage and the web they weave with that knowledge!
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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.” 4 likes
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