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The Brethren

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3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  69,350 Ratings  ·  1,378 Reviews
They call themselves the Brethren: three disgraces 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 ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 440 pages
Published December 26th 2000 by Random House Publishing Group (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

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Asghar Abbas
Jun 12, 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 26, 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:

1:

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.

2:
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
...more
Perry
Reads Like a John Grisham Parody
Shallow, Contrived and Boring


I'm familiar with news several years ago of the prison pen pal scams in LA and MS, from which Grisham apparently pulled the plot of this novel. When he started writing this, his heart obviously wasn't there. This one seemed neither real nor true. It lacked a shred of suspense.

[[[I'll just be honest here: THIS BOOK SUCKED .]]]

In fact, I don't feel like being nice about this one. This is a bullshit novel, no question about it. I am mak
...more
Margitte
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
...more
Erick
Aug 02, 2016 Erick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book, has a bit of insight to our current American President election, money buys power...
Brad
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
...more
Marty
Feb 06, 2008 Marty rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Amanda
May 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
...more
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
Great book. Wished the ending wasn't so predictable.
Sulan
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.
Sharon
Apr 30, 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
Steph
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
...more
Allison
May 30, 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
...more
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  ·  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
...more
Janice
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
...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
...more
Nenette
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!
...more
Gabe
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
...more
JoPaul
Feb 24, 2011 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.
Alisonnic
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
...more
Dilwyn Griffiths
Possibly my favourite Grisham novel. Would love to see a film adaptation.
Zoe
May 21, 2014 Zoe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is by far my favorite of all of John Grisham's novels.

I grew up watching The Firm with Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman, and The Pelican Brief with Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington, and from the first time I saw each, I became completely enthralled and fell in absolute love with them both. They still remain as two of my all time favorite movies. But only recently in my adult life did I finally begin to read and listen to the rest of Mr. Grisham's stories. I've read some, and listened to audio
...more
Noah Hochberg
Jan 23, 2014 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
Nathan
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
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
...more
Matt
Jan 04, 2011 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Eric Dunn
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
...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
...more
Jawe Querimit
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
...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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“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!” 28 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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