John Grisham's Recommended Thriller Reading List

Posted by Cybil on October 19, 2020
The prolific and beloved author John Grisham, known for his courtroom thrillers, is back this month with a new pageturner, A Time for Mercy, featuring the return of lawyer Jake Brigance, the protagonist who first appeared in Grisham smash hit novel A Time to Kill

As something of an expert to keeping readers glued to the pages, we asked Grisham to share the books that kept him reading long into the night. 

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Back in the spring, during the first days of the pandemic, the shock and fear were disorienting. I found it difficult to concentrate when reading anything.

So I wrote, as I usually do from January to July, and the writing kept me away from the news.  It’s a lonely business anyway. There’s no one else in the room when I work, and I’ve grown accustomed to the isolation.

When I write I try to avoid reading fiction. I  read only good books by good writers, and invariably I’ll catch myself imitating them when I write.

With time, though, I found that the worlds created by other writers were wonderful diversions from the mess we’re in. So, I returned to my old favorites.

Here are a few of them:

 
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David Robicheaux is one of the most interesting detectives in contemporary fiction. Here, he’s back for the 23rd time and he takes on two Cajun crime families that try unsuccessfully to share territory. The two families have more internal problems than most. One has even sunk so low as to traffic humans. Only James Lee Burke has the voice to examine ancient curses and superstitions in the complex world of Cajun Country.


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In this wild and roaring novel, James brings together an unforgettable collection of characters from the housing projects of south Brooklyn. When the anti-hero, a man called Sportcoat, shoots and kills the neighborhood’s favorite drug dealer, street life spins out of control.


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Sandy Stern, the fabulous criminal defense we first met in Presumed Innocent, is now 85 years old and on the brink of retirement. He takes his last case, the defense of an old friend accused of insider trading, fraud, and murder. Scott is still the master of the legal thriller, and his courtroom scenes  have no equals.


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A murder in Paris is a guaranteed hook. The hero, Armand Gamache, is in Paris with his family awaiting the birth of his grandchild when his godfather is hit in a deliberate attempt to kill. Gamache is drawn into the crime and must solve it.  The nightmare engulfs his entire family and before long he’s not sure who to trust. With the City of Light as the backdrop every page is a delight.


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This is a true story that was published several years ago, but I thoroughly enjoyed it for the third time. Bryan left Harvard Law School, turned down the big money, and instead went to Alabama and founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit dedicated to defending the poor and wrongfully convicted. This is a fascinating account of his early years and his grit and determination to fight injustice.


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This is a collection of ten stories, one of them a novella. Two, Baptism and Neighbors, were published previously to great acclaim. In the novella, Ron brings back his most famous character, Serena, from his fine novel of the same name published in 2008.


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John Rebus, the hero in many of Ian’s books, is getting old and even crankier. He’s trying to give up booze and cigarettes, but he can’t stay out of trouble. The partner of his daughter, Samantha, goes missing, and of course Rebus is soon up to his ears in solving the crime.


Have a great thriller recommendation? Share it with your fellow readers in the comments below.

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Comments Showing 1-7 of 7 (7 new)

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message 1: by Erika Du Vall (new)

Erika Du Vall Its gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood


message 2: by John (new)

John Article is titled "John Grisham's Recommended Thriller Reading List", but there's no way Just Mercy could be considered a thriller by anyone. Just FYI.


message 3: by Aditya (new)

Aditya John wrote: "Article is titled "John Grisham's Recommended Thriller Reading List", but there's no way Just Mercy could be considered a thriller by anyone. Just FYI."

It is alright, Grisham is not good at identifying genres. He calls his own work legal thriller, I re-read Grisham recently for the first time since I was a teenager and figured based on how his characters behave they should be called fantasy. And he is very good at it, it is a brand new take on fantasy, every new character you meet is more stupid than the one who came before him or her.


message 4: by Kellian (new)

Kellian Clink Lisa Scottoline is one of my favorites in legal stories, because she is funny and her characters are likeable. Scott Turow is my absolute favorite. Stephen Carter's good. I like the Kate Wilhelm's series, though I wish I was more like the Barbara character who forgets to eat when she's busy and has a great dad who makes her wonderful meals.


message 5: by superawesomekt (new)

superawesomekt John wrote: "Article is titled "John Grisham's Recommended Thriller Reading List", but there's no way Just Mercy could be considered a thriller by anyone. Just FYI."

I would agree. I think they should have taken "thriller" off of the list title. It's a great list, though.


message 6: by Tony (new)

Tony Morrow Okay, you may not think Just Mercy is a thriller but Bryan Stevenson is a superhero in my book. His story brings thrill to the human spirit and the power of one man to make a difference.


message 7: by Diana (new)

Diana Sandberg Tony wrote: "Okay, you may not think Just Mercy is a thriller but Bryan Stevenson is a superhero in my book."
You are so right. I found the whole damn book thrilling.


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