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The Broker

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  85,658 ratings  ·  2,982 reviews
In his final hours in the Oval Office, the outgoing President grants a controversial last-minute pardon to Joel Backman, a notorious Washington power broker who has spent the last six years hidden away in a federal prison. What no one knows is that the President issues the pardon only after receiving enormous pressure from the CIA. It seems Backman, in his power broker hey ...more
Paperback, 422 pages
Published September 26th 2006 by Delta (first published January 10th 2005)
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christopher mc cumskey Good question. In this modern world it would absolutely be as obsolete as my wife's first IPhone!…moreGood question. In this modern world it would absolutely be as obsolete as my wife's first IPhone!(less)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  85,658 ratings  ·  2,982 reviews

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Ahmad Sharabiani
Oct 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Broker, John Grisham

The Broker is a suspense novel written by American author John Grisham and published in the United States on January 11, 2005.

The novel follows the story of Joel Backman, a newly pardoned prisoner who had tried to broker a deal to sell the world's most powerful satellite surveillance system to the highest bidder.

Joel Backman is "The Broker," a Washington power broker-lobbyist, considered by some to be one of the most powerful men in Washington. However, his life falls a
I don't have a whole lot to say about this book. It is an older Grisham book I have waited a while to read, and I could have waited longer. It was not great. In an author's note at the end he even mentions the subject matter and plot in this book are not his normal. While I applaud him for stepping outside of his comfort zone, I am glad he stepped back in.

As you may have seen in other reviews, almost 2/3 of this book is learning Italian language and culture filler. It could easily have been summ
Natalie Vellacott
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, john-grisham
I finally found a Grisham novel that I don't remember reading before!

The Broker, Joel Backman is in prison serving twenty years for a crime that he may or may not have committed. With fourteen still to go he is unexpectedly pardoned by the outgoing President and smuggled to a secret location in Europe. Then, the authorities of various countries sit back and monitor him as they wait to see who will get to him first.....

This was a great read and kept me hooked until the end. The danger the main c
Jr Bacdayan
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
It's OK. Not that bad, not that good either. The plot was promising, but I got bored along the way. Because it's Grisham, the characters are always interesting and the writing is always great. But my problem here was the pace. There were a lot of instances where I thought Grisham was beating around the bush. He was rather fond of the Italian culture and took lengths to explain quite a few things and that would have been nice if this was a book about Italy. But, this is an espionage thriller of s ...more
Aug 08, 2012 rated it did not like it
In this hefty 422-page wanna-be spy-novel-travel guide, -421 pages too long-, Mr. Grisham confirms that he is fortunate, indeed, to make so much money with so little talent. This book is generously peppered with little gems, such as, ‘”I love Stuttgart,” Marco said, just to watch it unwrinkle.’ Or, “He met Joel at the powerful oak door and they shook hands properly, but not like old friends.” “In other days, he’d have followed Elke anywhere, but now it was only downstairs.” Mr. Grisham, who is n ...more
Sumit RK
Dec 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
It starts promisingly.. Then it gets repetitive and reads like Italy's tour guide instead of a thriller. Even the ending seems too far fetched & implausible. ...more
Eric Dunn
Jul 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This is another novel in a long line of great books by John Grisham. You know it's going to be a fun book when the CIA is leaking someones whereabouts just to see who kills him. When I read the jacket of the book I was afraid that they may have given too much of the plot away. I was wrong. There was still plenty of suspense and drama to be had. This book had me guessing how it was going to end until it was over. I must admit that I didn't guess right at all.

The characters in this book are well
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
The first, somewhat sluggish half is immersed in Italian lessons before gaining traction in the exciting second half. 8 of 10 stars
Jul 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
My brother recommended this book. Since I want him to read Joel Salatin, in a tit-for-tat deal I agreed to read The Broker. The first 13 pages, the political pardon arrangement, were hilarious. I was hooked. But not for long. After the main character, Backman, was whisked away to Europe by the CIA, the spy-vs-spy vs innocent-in-a-strange-land story - or whatever this was supposed to be - went awry. At this point Grisham's editor - he does have one, I presume - should have sent back the manuscrip ...more
Bodosika Bodosika
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: legal-thrillers
Am a fan of John Grisham and if am not mistaken I have read almost all his work starting from "A time to kill,The firm,The pelican brief,The runner way jury, The client and so on and so forth.
John Grisham don't disappoint.

This starts out with a super secret meeting in the White House, doing HIGHLY ILLEGAL things, and from that first bit we go to a Federal Prison to get out "The Broker" A High command, High powered lawyer/lobbyist(Rubbing shoulders with Senators, Congressmen, Even Getting a President elected!!!!) in Washington D.C. He is out and from there whisked out of the country to Italy......
From there is where our main character is on his own so to speak with the deck stack
Sully (thysaltymar)
Oct 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned-books
“The president had shifted to the 'we' mode now, something he invariably did when a potentially unpopular decision was at hand. For the easy ones, it was always 'I.' When he needed a crutch, and especially when he would need someone to blame, he opened up the decisionmaking process and included Critz.”

Every so often, we wonder how the decision making process goes inside the government, particularly in the seemingly superior branch of the government (go figure). The Broker gave us a little previ
Asghar Abbas
Feb 21, 2016 rated it really liked it

John Grisham throughout his career had this weird affinity for Pakistan/Pakistanis, many of his minor characters featured in his books have been Pakistanis. Like for example in his holiday novella Skipping Christmas, the nonwhite residents that were driven out of the community by a zealot nosy neighbor were Pakistanis. And this fixation continued to this novel. But in it, Pakistani characters graduated to the main plot. That was nice. Considering he is popular and read widely in Pakistan.

The no
Sep 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some time ago, i entered a multistore in my area. I was just browsing books, when this book caught my eye. I took it in my hands to take a look at it. When i saw writers name, a had a feeling that i know this name.

«John Grisham? John Grisham? I know him for sure…», i thought. It felt like, i’ve heard of him, before. Of course! It’s the write of «Pelican Brief», the book that, the 1993 homonymous film, was based on. As i start to read it, it felt like i was the main protagonist and i was commiser
Thomas Edmund
Jan 05, 2017 rated it liked it
I hadn't read Grisham for a while and The Broker was not a bad start to 2017. The story starts with a slightly more sardonic humorous tone than usual Grisham books introducing a quintessential 'worst president ever' who goes on to pardon the real MC Joel Backman aka 'the broker'. It's all part of a plot to get Backman killed something that basically just requires getting him off US soil and letting his enemies take care of it.

The story starts powerful and tense, Backman isn't a hugely relateable
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read every book Grisham writes but seldom read one twice. The Broker is by far my favorite, thanks to the Italian setting. (Yes, I know it's becoming cliche to set books in Italy but I am shamelessly in love with that country and believe you can't have too much of a good thing in this case.)

Caution: do not read while hungry and especially not while in need of coffee with no way of getting any. I considered counting how often the main character drank espresso or some other delectable Italian co
Deacon Tom F
Oct 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you know me, you know that I am a Grisham fan through and through. So I loved this book!!!

The Broker was intense, fast-paced and well written. I missed sleep because I couldn’t put this novel down. From the presidential pardon to the tour of Italy, this book moved quickly

Of note,his characters were complex and evolved at the right pace. Joel’s struggle to learn Italian is a struggle that I can relate with. I have struggled with German my whole life.

The ending caught me by surprise. I loved
Una Tiers
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Broker has a painfully slow start, a nice middle and a preposterous ending.
Andre Gonzalez
May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Should have been five stars, but the ending fell flat. Brilliant writing as always, and the entire time throughout the book was a big build up toward what I thought was supposed to be an ending with fireworks, but it ended without a bang and sort of fizzled into nothingness.
Judy & Marianne from Long and Short Reviews
Originally posted at:

He might have pled guilty, but that doesn't mean he was.

Okay, so why would an innocent man plead guilty if he wasn't? That's what The Broker is about. There are a very few auto-buy authors for me. John Grisham is one of those authors. Once I sit down to read one of his books, I'm there for the long haul. I never know what will happen next and can't wait to find out how it happens.

Joel Backman did a lot of bad things. He brokered deals
Charlotte Smith
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book started of slow but picked up half way through.
Apr 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Welcome to John Grisham's fast pace, high-tech (not too technical) International, political, suspense/thriller. All complete with a nicely flawed antihero. A tad bit of romance. And a nice descriptive trip to Italy (however and unfortunately, at times the language interpreting portion within this trip has a casual tediousness to it).
Oh, did I forget to mention CIA hitmen?

4.5 to 5 stars
Tom LA
Jun 06, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jesse Broussard
Mar 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: good, fiction
This is probably my favourite of Grisham's books, despite a smattering of sentimental cliches that make me desire to inspect the brains of some fairly central characters with a fire poker. The worst one:

(She:) "Have I offended you?"
(He:) "You could smile more."
She nodded slightly and her eyes were instantly moist. She looked away, through the window, and said, "I have so little to smile about."

This type of thing, along with the rhythm (wretched) of most of his prose convinces me that Grisham ou
Anne OK
Aug 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-reads
I definitely must be spouting off too often and too much about the undercurrents and underbellies of political world. This is the second time since the first of the year that a "friend" has passed along a Grisham book to me. Early on I read quite a few of Mr. Grisham's novels, but I grew weary and frankly just bored. This one had a little more strength to it. I didn't hate it, nor did I love it (or even really like it). I can read the newspapers these days and get more action and espionage and d ...more
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's ages since I read any Grisham books but I thought I'd give this one a try. One of those where you remember that some people simply write well. I really liked the Broker as a character. Baddie he may be but I quickly found myself liking him. Other characters were generally good. The basic story idea was ok. I really liked Marco's time on the run in Italy - it felt well worked. As I said I did like as a character and simply couldn't see how he could survive the situation he was in. Hence the ...more
Vishakha Motwani
Mar 31, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
The beginning was exciting and so were most parts of the book but there were times that I lost interest in the book only because it felt more like a tourist guide for Italy. Personally, I like fast paced mysteries and thrillers and this book can somehow make it to that category but I need more action in the book than this one.
Rhonda B
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: john-grisham
Put yourself in a new country, state, city and do not know a soul, the language, where you are. Now try to keep out of sight from those watching you....wee...the ride is on and the writer keeps the words flowing so the pages keep turning. What a good book all the way through. I could not help but cheer Joel/Marco on.
Feb 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm toying with the idea of only commenting on books on other people's entries, but although this is a departure from typical GR practice, it might end up just adding lots of complexity to the site. but it does prevent people from reading straight book reviews if they're located on some other person's account. and, it involves losing data control over that review to another person. decisions, decisions!

since a chunk of time has passed since departure from Club H, I guess feelings have calmed dow
Jack Heath
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 Stars. Another gripper from Grisham. High powered lobbyist Joel Backman is serving a twenty year sentence for numerous offences, the most important of which is shopping secrets which could jeopardize the security of the United States. A terrible President in his last days in the White House unexpectedly pardons him. The question is why. The CIA proceeds to hide him in Italy to see which foreign government wants to limit their losses and kill him. Will it be the Chinese? The Russians? Others? T ...more
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I HATE IT 32 228 Sep 28, 2016 03:18PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Correct Book information 2 20 May 05, 2014 12:39AM  
What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Convict sent to Italy [s] 4 19 Jan 13, 2014 07:45PM  

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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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