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The Brethren

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  74,234 Ratings  ·  1,537 Reviews
Trumble is a minimum-security federal prison, a "camp," home to the usual assortment of relatively harmless criminals--drug dealers, bank robbers, swindlers, embezzlers, tax evaders, two Wall Street crooks, one doctor, at least five lawyers.

And three former judges who call themselves the Brethren: one from Texas, one from California, and one from Mississippi. They meet eac

Hardcover, 366 pages
Published 2000 by BCA
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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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The Sort of Book Most Appreciated by People who Move their Lips While Reading

Grisham pulled the plot of this novel from infamous prison pen pal scams near me in Louisiana and Mississippi in the late 1980s. The scam worked like this: the prisoner would engage an unwitting, relatively well off, closeted gay male in harmless discourse by letters which would gradually progress to professions of "love" and then explicit homo-erotic letters and ultimately one phone call by which point, the prisoner w
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

2.5 stars

Note: The Brethren was published in 2000, so the social issues may seem a little out-of-sync with current times.....or maybe not.


Trumble Federal Prison near Jacksonville, Florida is a minimum security facility that hardly seems like a penitentiary: it has no fences, decent food, recreational facilities, and - as it turns out - opportunities for serious mischief.

Three of Trumble's older inmates are dubbed 'The Brethren': Joe Roy Spicer - a onetime Mississippi justice of the peace;
Susan Morris
Mar 20, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Asghar Abbas
Feb 21, 2016 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.

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 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
Mar 23, 2008 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
Marty Reeder
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
Jun 18, 2009 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
Jun 27, 2007 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.
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
Great book. Wished the ending wasn't so predictable.
Rita Chapman
An interesting story about a Presidential election and a scam operated out of a low-security prison by three ex Judges.
Feb 16, 2013 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
May 18, 2011 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
Mar 03, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have now read around a dozen of John Grisham's books and I have to be honest this was my least favourite one so far. There were large parts of the book that do have the John Grisham magic but generally the plot was drawn out and tiresome. Once it does get get going the book improves but again it is let down by a very disappointing ending.
Kaustubh Dudhane
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic scam, scared in-the-closet folks, CIA and the Presidential Election! Wow! It has been a long time since I have read John Grisham's novels. The wait was worth it. The pages had glue attached to them and I was able to finish the book in 3 sittings (which is a big deal for me.) It was fun.
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
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
Jul 19, 2011 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 ende
Apr 07, 2012 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
Reev Robledo
Oct 26, 2012 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
Robin Sencenbach Ferguson
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
Jan 11, 2013 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
Feb 25, 2009 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.
Dilwyn Griffiths
Possibly my favourite Grisham novel. Would love to see a film adaptation.
Hannah H.
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the best Grisham's novel i've read thus far.
May 21, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Muy best seller y representa muchas cosas que odio de las elecciones estadounidense y la política estadounidense. No thank you
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Interesting, intriguing, and the drama of politics unknown to the public eyes (I think). A good read!
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
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Goodreads Feedback: no longer see abbreviated community reviews 8 66 Oct 08, 2015 07:54AM  
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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 about John Grisham...
“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.” 5 likes
More quotes…