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The Guardians

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In the small north Florida town of Seabrook, a young lawyer named Keith Russo was shot dead at his desk as he worked late one night. The killer left no clues behind. There were no witnesses, no real suspects, no one with a motive. The police soon settled on Quincy Miller, a young black man who was once a client of Russo’s.

Quincy was framed, convicted, and sent to prison for life. For twenty-two years he languished in prison with no lawyer, no advocate on the outside. Then he wrote a letter to Guardian Ministries, a small innocence group founded by a lawyer/minister named Cullen Post.

Guardian handles only a few innocence cases at a time, and Post is its only investigator. He travels the South fighting wrongful convictions and taking cases no one else will touch. With Quincy Miller, though, he gets far more than he bargained for. Powerful, ruthless people murdered Keith Russo, and they do not want Quincy exonerated.

They killed one lawyer twenty-two years ago, and they will kill another one without a second thought.

370 pages, Hardcover

First published October 15, 2019

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About the author

John Grisham

426 books73.8k followers
John Grisham is the author of forty-seven consecutive #1 bestsellers, which have been translated into nearly fifty languages. His recent books include The Judge's List, Sooley, and his third Jake Brigance novel, A Time for Mercy, which is being developed by HBO as a limited series.

Grisham is a two-time winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction and was honored with the Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for Fiction.

When he's not writing, Grisham serves on the board of directors of the Innocence Project and of Centurion Ministries, two national organizations dedicated to exonerating those who have been wrongfully convicted. Much of his fiction explores deep-seated problems in our criminal justice system.

John lives on a farm in central Virginia.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 7,373 reviews
Profile Image for Lou (nonfiction fiend).
2,771 reviews1,625 followers
October 14, 2019
After a few recent novels that failed to live up to Grisham's usual, exacting standard I heard many people pondering whether his time as a master of the legal thriller was over. Well, in The Guardians he replies in a way which will shut the naysayers up pretty damn quickly; here he is back to his barnstorming best, and I will undoubtedly be adding this to my favourite reads of 2019. The plotting is superb, the characters engaging, and the twists and turns plentiful and truly shocking; this is definitely up there with his most accomplished in my opinion. From the first page, I was gripped and ended up devouring it in a mere afternoon. Grisham's storytelling when at its peak is some of the most proficient in the whole of the literary sphere. But this book doesn't just focus on providing us readers with thrills and spills, it also has an emotional aspect to it which was very refreshing.

It centres around a group of lawyers who have turned their hand to investigating miscarriages of justice and are actively working to exonerate those who've become victims of a broken legal/court system. The fact that we are told at the end that this is based on a real-life group made it all the better and temporarily restored my faith in humanity. The story is impeccably structured and extensively researched; the information on miscarriages of justice was spot on, which I appreciated, and our narrator Post's ability to see situations from all perspectives is fascinating. This translates into him being able to understand the sentiments of both the defence and prosecution in the cases featured. If you enjoy legal-based thrillers then you simply can't go wrong; this is Grisham back to his finest and most addictive. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Joey R..
231 reviews277 followers
January 3, 2020
As a longtime John Grisham fan, I was hopeful that this fictional offspring of the earlier Grisham masterpiece “The Innocent Man” would be a compelling read. Instead, Grisham produced a very biased, unrealistic look into the American judicial system that makes all of the judges, prosecutors and sheriffs in the South look like a cross between Boss Hogg and something out of “Mississippi Burning”. His contempt for the judicial system he used to be a part of is so evident it ruined the book for me. The story follows the work of a group of lawyers/religious organization that work to get innocent people freed from prison. The main character, Cullen Post, comes across as an ambitious, self-righteous lawyer that will do anything to help free the clients he deems as innocent. He lies to witnesses, provides money aka bribes to others in order to get statements that will help free his client all the while railing on all prosecutors and judges as being corrupt. To me this was hypocrisy at its finest. The plot was very predictable and to say that I have read other books with the same type of plot and characters would be an understatement. As a lawyer and prosecutor in the South I can truthfully say that this book might be the most inflammatory, untruthful treatment of the criminal justice system and the people who work to put guilty criminals behind bars that I have ever read. I realize exceptions exist but to indict the whole system based on one corrupt prosecutor or a corrupt sheriff is unfair, unrealistic and undermines the integrity of the entire criminal justice system. Did I mention that I didn’t like this book? Lol
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,691 followers
December 10, 2019
4.5 Stars

I have been very pleased with the last few Grisham releases. They have been decently intricate and felt a lot like some of his early work. He takes what could easily be complicated legal jargon and dumbs it down without making the reader feel stupid. At the same time, the story is interesting and the characters engaging.

For a few books about 5 to 10 years ago, I felt like Grisham was losing his touch. I was having a hard time getting into them and I was reading them as they came out just for the sake of reading them. Now, I am getting back to being excited whenever there is a new release.

The Guardians does have a main storyline, but it also has a few side stories, all based on the docket of a group of lawyers who have given up a glamorous legal life to try and get people who have been wrongly incarcerated out of prison. As a person who gets very frustrated by wrongly accused stories (I get very riled up by the stories in the movies The Fugitive and Double Jeopardy – but, in a good way), I enjoyed the various different ways these lawyers were vindicating the innocent.

I highly recommend this book for Grisham fans and legal thriller fans. I think that there is a lot here to enjoy without getting too bogged down – in other words, a good escapist book for a quick and entertaining read.
Profile Image for Matt.
3,618 reviews12.8k followers
November 23, 2019
In John Grisham’s latest novel, the reader is taken back to the Deep South and into another interesting realm of the legal world; post-conviction appeals. The novel explores the particulars of death row inmates who feel that their innocence has been ignored as the system chewed them up and spat them out. Enter Guardian Ministries, headed up by Cullen Post. A former public defender, Post burnt out from the workload and became an Episcopal priest, after which he used his two vocations in tandem. Post has a bare bones staff in Savannah, Georgia, and six active files that require his help. After standing with one of his clients and being mere hours from an execution, Post is revved up to fight the good fight for any of his clients who might need him. When Quincy Miller writes to Guardian Ministries, the team cannot help but want to help. Accused of the murder of his lawyer, Keith Russo, Miller has sat in jail without a lawyer or advocate for over two decades. A black man in a small Florida community of Seabrook, Miller could not expect justice to find him. Now, with the odds stacked against him, Cullen Post will do all he can. Revisiting witnesses who may have perjured themselves and a prosecutor who sought blood, Post finds new hope for a man who had all but given up. However, there is a killer out there, someone who is surely not keen on having the truth of the Keith Russo murder uncovered. Someone who will stop at nothing to silence Quincy Miller at any cost, even if they use the State of Florida to do it for them. A thought-provoking piece that shows the power of Grisham’s abilities. Recommended to those who love Grisham’s ‘little guy’ legal thrillers, as well as the reader who seeks a well-paced novel about the law and all its flaws.

I’ve seen many people land on both sides of the fence with this one, some loving the latest Grisham thriller, while others call it cliché and blame it on the author’s writing longevity. Both have their points, but I cannot help but seeing what I did and judging it accordingly. The story may not be anything new, but the players and the details are fresh and offer up an insightful look into the legal system and how the scales are not always balanced. Cullen Post serves the role of protagonist well, though he wants no praise for his work. Rather, he seeks answers for his clients, all of whom have reached the end of their proverbial ropes. Post knows the system and how many have been left to languish in prisons until a shiny needle is inserted in their arms, but his compassionate side will not stop him working hard. Able to squeeze his way in to see people with his priestly collar, Post does all he can the entire justice sees the light of day, or at least fight until the bitter end. His backstory is clearly defined in the early chapters and his growth throughout will surely make him a character with whom the reader will have no trouble connecting, given the chance. Others make their imprint on the story and will touch the reader’s heart—should they let it out as they read—with Grisham’s great ability to personalise those who appear on the page. The story creeps along but is also tangentially exciting with all those who play a role in the various plots. The piece itself is one of hope where little exists and exoneration where the game is already determined. Grisham pushes the ‘little guy’ throughout, revealing much about the legal system that does not make the news. Things will not change because of this book, but perhaps a few readers will better understand that which is left to be forgotten and think twice about the law’s ugly underbelly. With a mix of shorter and lengthy chapters, Grisham pulls the reader in from the outset and allows them to see what innocence looks like, even if it is not glamorous.

Kudos, Mr. Grisham, for another winning piece. Some may call it repetitive, but perhaps they are the people who wish to keep their heads in the clouds, or buried deep in the sand.

Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...
Profile Image for Labijose.
927 reviews386 followers
February 18, 2022
Las injusticias del sistema legal estadounidense de nuevo bajo el prisma de este gran autor, que tan buenos momentos de lectura me ha dado a lo largo de los años.

Cullen Post es abogado y miembro de la iglesia episcopal, y está desencantado con el sistema. Tras un reventón psicológico, ahora sólo se dedica a defender a acusados a los que parece que se les condenó injustamente. Pertenece a una organización que se dedica a ello. Quincy Miller lleva 22 años entre rejas, acusado del homicidio de su abogado. Pero aquel juicio no había por dónde agarrarlo. Suena a amaño y corrupción por todas partes, y Post está decidido a poner las cosas claras, y de paso, exonerar a Miller. No es su única investigación, pero es la que más le afecta, ya que poderosas organizaciones criminales están dispuestas a dejar las cosas como están.

Grisham sigue en su línea de denuncia sobre las numerosas cuestiones pendientes de mejorar, tanto en el sistema judicial, como en el sistema penitenciario de su país. Por ejemplo, los famosos soplones carcelarios profesionales, que, a cambio de una sustancial rebaja en su propia condena han llevado a la cárcel a más de un inocente. Creo que, afortunadamente, esa práctica ya ha sido abolida, pero demuestra una vez más el interior de un sistema judicial que se enorgullece de ser imparcial, sin serlo.

La novela en sí está bastante bien, sin ser ni de lejos una de sus mejores. Los buenos samaritanos son eso, buenos a rabiar, viviendo casi en la pobreza con tal de poder sacar de la cárcel a algún inocente que otro. Y los malos, malotes que no paran en mientes, capaz de organizar palizas en la cárcel y asesinatos sin cuartel, con tal de seguir disfrutando de su status. En esta trama no hay término medio, o se es lo uno, o lo otro. Pero bueno, pelillos a la mar. La verdad es que yo me lo he pasado muy bien leyéndola, y eso es lo que cuenta para mi alta puntuación. Además, hablamos de John Grisham.
Profile Image for Carolyn Walsh .
1,421 reviews539 followers
October 27, 2019
Did not finish. Gave up about page 220. I have read and enjoyed most of John Grisham’s books. This was an informative fictional account of a non-profit organization that advocates for and exonerates prisoners who have been wrongly convicted of a crime they did not commit. In Canada, there is Innocence Canada which has helped exonerate 23 innocent people since 1993. In the United States, the Innocence Project has branches in many States. In 2018 alone, 9 innocent people were exonerated in the USA. These 9 wrongly convicted prisoners had spent a combined 215 years in prison and now have their freedom restored. We often see news releases about the prisoners at long last being released, but the hard work of the dedicated and heroic people of organizations such as the Innocence Projects is little known. The use of DNA evidence is a vital part of proving innocence.

This book tells the story of Cullen Post who founded Guardian Ministries. This is a small firm working to prove the innocence of the wrongly convicted. Post is the right man to advocate for his clients. His experience leading him to be selected to defend a very bad man whom he knew to be guilty of a violent, brutal attack caused him to have a nervous breakdown. He is now a minister, as well as a lawyer and works for Guardian Ministries. They only advocate for a small number of clients, working diligently to free the innocent.

Such an unfortunate man is Quincy Miller, a black man who has been languishing in prison for 22 years. He was accused and imprisoned for the shooting to death of a lawyer, Russo, and Quincy has had no advocate on the outside until now.

Post learns that Quincy was certainly framed through a series of lies, missing evidence, and incompetent expert witnesses. It seems Russo’s actual murder involved a powerful criminal gang. Post’s diligence in gathering affidavits from people who lied under pressure at Quincy’s trial, and the forensic testimony from highly skilled expert witnesses which contradicts previous sloppy evidence has put his life in danger. The ruthless criminals will not hesitate to kill Post to cover up past crimes, including their murder of Russo.

I found the book to be informative regarding the number of prisoners who may be innocent, and those working tirelessly to free them. I wanted to like the book and did admire its premise, but found that for me it became slow and tedious rather than a compelling read. I realize there are some highly positive reviews, and prospective readers should not be deterred by my misgivings.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
3,851 reviews35k followers
November 25, 2019
Audiobook... read by Michael Beck....( who was very good)

What happened to the flashlight?
Does it matter? ha!

At times I was on the verge of some serious laughter!!
Other times - I simply enjoyed the goodness and warmth I felt from Cullen Post....a priest, volunteer attorney, and overall likable guy.....
who was committed to freeing a prisoner who was wrongly accused.

The suspense was predictable, but the dialogue & characters kept me engaged.
It was slow in parts -
Yet... as an audiobook... I didn’t mind.
When soaking in a garden warm pool - slow was ok!

Its been years since I read a John Grisham’s book.
Kinda fun!

3.5 ish
Profile Image for Beata.
703 reviews1,065 followers
February 9, 2020
A story of injustice done will always move me.
Profile Image for Malia.
Author 6 books543 followers
December 2, 2019
I am sadly in the minority of readers who did not care for this book, which is disappointing because I was excited to read it. However, though Grisham does offer insight into the prison system and the story he outlines is probably and tragically not unrealistic, I just couldn't get into it. Cullen Post is a good man, but he is also such a cliche, and I had trouble really connecting to any of the characters, even as I tried. You can't force these things, and in the end it just wasn't for me. Oh well, glad it resonated with so many readers, but for me it's onward and upward:-)

Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com
Profile Image for Andrew Smith.
1,016 reviews555 followers
September 26, 2022
Cullen Post is a lawyer and a preacher, or rather he used to be a preacher but these days his efforts are fully focussed on trying to get innocent people out of prison. He’s based in America’s Deep South and works for a nonprofit organisation. Consequently he earns very little money, works crazy hours and hasn’t had a romantic relationship in quite some time. We follow him as he works on a number of cases, primarily concerning two men imprisoned for murders Post is convinced they didn’t commit.

I’ve found Grisham’s output to be patchy of late, but this one had me hooked early. I really liked Post, he’s earnest and pushy and determined to do everything possible to get results. And fighting bent cops, crooked lawyers and dozy judges he’s really up against it here. I guess I always knew how things were going to turn out but it was still a lot of fun getting there. There’s a couple of decent twists and some excellent courtroom scenes – exactly what you’d expect from Grisham’s good stuff.

In a footnote, the author explains that the the character of Post is based on a real life preacher come lawyer and that the case that is given most space here has its genesis in an actual case, as yet unresolved. That certainly provided a sobering moment. Grisham is back on form here, and when he’s good he tends to be very good. This may not be his very best book but it’s not half bad.
Profile Image for Brandice.
800 reviews
January 3, 2020
John Grisham returns to classic form in The Guardians and I was not disappointed.

Cullen Post is a former lawyer, turned pastor, turned lawyer again, working in Savannah at a non-profit, Guardian Ministries. The primary case Cullen is working on is for Quincy Miller, a black man tried and convicted of murder of a lawyer, Keith Russo, in a small town in Florida. Quincy has served more than 20 years in prison already but maintains his innocence. Cullen works diligently to investigate how Quincy was framed, why key witnesses in the trial lied, and who is behind this shady setup. The case itself was interesting and I stayed curious throughout the book, eager to learn who was responsible as well as their motives.

It’s been awhile since I read a Grisham book and wasn’t hooked with the last one I read, so it was nice to feel redemption as a reader with The Guardians. I also think this is a very timely topic as innocent people are, in fact, serving time for crimes they didn’t commit, whether they lack the financial or educational resources to obtain proper assistance with appeals, or advancements in technology often used in investigations today weren’t available to them back during their original trial. It’s truly disappointing, often infuriating, and a reason I’m so supportive of organizations like the Equal Justice Initiative, which works to end mass incarceration and excessive punishment, and to restore rights for those who are wrongly convicted.
Profile Image for Jean.
1,699 reviews737 followers
October 30, 2019
This is an “issues” novel about a disillusioned attorney, Cullen Post, who has become an Episcopal priest. Cullen now volunteers as an attorney for a non-profit Innocence project. They are attempting to free a prisoner who was wrongfully convicted.

The book is well written. The plot twists and turns and the characters are interesting. Grisham starts the suspense immediately and continues to build it throughout the story. The book was entertaining as well as informative. It is a quick easy read.

I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is eleven hours and fifty minutes. Michael Beck does a good job narrating the book. He is an actor and audiobook narrator. Beck has narrated a number of John Grisham’s books.
Profile Image for Natalie M.
1,020 reviews36 followers
November 28, 2019
2.5 stars - I really wanted to love this book but the first half felt like I was a wrongly convicted prisoner sentenced to monotony and boredom.

The writing did not feel like a typical Grisham read and it’s simplistic vocabulary had me wondering in places if this was his book. Plot - yes there is a need to set the scene but this one just chugs along at the pace of the judicial system. There are no surprises either in plot or revelations about the system. There is no big twist or complex legal wrangling. The characters are interesting but largely as one would expect for the scenarios that play out.

The most captivating aspect of the read was the author’s note at the back of the book about the relevance of the story and the fact it is based on actual events (absolutely tragic). Overall, not a classic Grisham read.
Profile Image for Heidi.
1,188 reviews127 followers
April 15, 2021
Oddly enough the best part about this book wasn’t the literary suspense or characters, but rather the fact that it’s loosely (very loosely) based on a real case.

Unlike other Grisham protagonists, I didn’t particularly like our crusading hero, yet you have to respect his dogged devotion to his calling— and yes, I would certainly describe what an innocence attorney does as a calling. Post is a bit too judge-y for my taste.

Grisham does a rather fine job of detailing the mountains of bureaucracy these groups must climb to even make a dent in undoing legal wrongs. I found it both fascinating and depressing. Yet this book isn’t preaching— amidst the good fight going on in this book to free just one innocent man, is the reality than a rather large number of innocent folks remain incarcerated— even with a preponderance of evidence proving they were quite literally given the shaft.

I applaud Grisham but the four star rating isn’t for the story line but for the education. I applaud the real Posts who tirelessly fight for the innocent.
Profile Image for Lorna.
633 reviews339 followers
November 11, 2019
The Guardians is the latest legal thriller by John Grisham focusing on wrongful convictions and the attempts to overturn them. However, as Grisham points out, this book is based on the work of Centurion Ministries founded in 1980 by James McCloskey when he was a divinity student. This is the fictional account of Cullen Post, a lawyer and Episcopal minister, working for Guardian Ministries headquartered in Savannah, Georgia. This foundation is made up of four people, all dedicated to the work of trying to free the innocent.

The plot of The Guardians centers on prisoner Quincy Miller wrongfully convicted of the brutal killing of a lawyer in the rural area of Seabrook in north Florida twenty-two years ago. There are a lot of twists and turns as they work to exonerate Miller. This was a good book in that it shines light on our justice system. It should also be pointed out that John Grisham is on the Board of Directors of the Innocence Project; its focus to exonerate and free unjustly convicted people on the basis of DNA evidence. This is a cause obviously very important to Grisham.

"Prison is a nightmare for those who deserve it. For those who don't, it is a daily struggle to maintain some level of sanity. For those who suddenly learn that there is proof of their innocence yet remain locked up, the situation is literally maddening."
Profile Image for Kathryn in FL.
716 reviews
November 29, 2019
Civilized people demand retribution, particularly when a crime is heinous. What if an innocent is paying the cost of another's penalty? What about when the guilty remains free?

Seldom do we hear about those who are incarcerated erroneously. Media coverage of the outrageous fills a need for excitement in our otherwise boring and or monotonous lives. We rejoice with enthusiasm when a evil person is justly punished for a murder or financial scheme defrauding others. Yet, we rarely even give thought to those who are doing "hard time" for a crime that they never committed. Our society doesn't discuss the concept of walking in someone else's moccasins anymore. It is increasingly rare for others to rally for another, particularly if they are a stranger, when they suffer tragedy. Of course, we will send money or food to those surviving horrible earthquakes, hurricanes or flooding but to actually get out of our comfort zone and put forth physical effort it is not on our agenda.

I commend John Grisham for tackling this question. His story is detailed and based on some actual accounts. Told from the perspective of co-founder of a non-profit organization, who is both an attorney, also a minister, advocating for those wrongfully convicted of serious crime, this story examines two men in just such circumstances. We see the process that is entailed both through an appeals process and in revisiting the evidence used to convict the injured inmate. These details while simplified to allow the story to flow without all the detailed processes involved are illuminating to the reader of just how much work is involved to free even those, who were obviously targeted or faultily prosecuted. A key component involved in appeals process means that attorney's must provide new evidence that was not available (or presented) during the trial convicting the innocent victim. This may seem like a modest challenge but when the case is cold and key person's are no longer available (be it that they are dead or have a reason not to want to become the focus of the public attention a second time, or perhaps the error will jeopardize their career), there can be many barriers to justice. Add to this, the fact that sometimes there is an unknown agenda that motivated law enforcement, judges, prosecuting attorneys to focus on the innocent individual as opposed to prosecuting the guilty party and there is often a dangerous element to revisiting a case.

As I read this book, I wavered in my appreciation. As some reviewers have pointed out this book is an issues book, but isn't that true of much fiction? There is nothing wrong in that in my opinion. Yes, the book "tells" a bit more than "shows us", which made it a bit dry. However, I think the author was trying to remain true to reality and educate us about how the system really works, though interesting, not exactly "thriller" material. Grisham balances this as much as possible with an intriguing back story to one of the two crimes, which unfolds in this 18 mo. period. I suspect there was extensive editing as this book was very readable. Anyone else trying to accomplishing this would have fallen flat on their face, the result to bland to tolerate by most!

I have long been a fan of Centurion Ministries, which has been improving the lives of many since it's inception in 1983.

In their own words, "Centurion is the first organization in the world to investigate cases of unjust convictions. To date, Centurion has freed 61 innocent men and women throughout the US and Canada. Centurion undertakes the most difficult cases which often lack a DNA aspect and thus require thorough field investigations. Centurion's investigators travel to the crime scene, locate witnesses, convince reluctant witnesses to come forward, search court records, and interview everyone who previously testified. Centurion often discovers evidence that was intentionally hidden from the defense, learns that witnesses were coerced or manipulated, and unearths forensic evidence that was not previously discovered. Centurion receives over 1500 requests a year and works on 20-25 cases at any given time."

It is critical not to look just at those 61 people freed. They are parents, siblings, children and spouses to many other persons. Many lives are impacted in judgments against those wrongfully accused. I say this as a person, who is doesn't have a problem with Capital Punishment, when the person is a serial killer (Ted Bundy as one example). I do have a problem, when there is some question to the conviction. With that in mind, I have been a supporter of Centurion Ministries for more than 15 years. I admire these individuals, who have chosen to forsake more lucrative careers to serve those who will never be able to repay the costs involved in setting them free, currently that cost is around $300K per individual! More ridiculous is the "Prison" Industry that runs prisons for profit. These companies are paid more than $60K tax payer dollars per year to care and feed prisoner's in despicable conditions. While many are outraged with the cost (and they should be!), many say these conditions are far worse than government run prisons. Meanwhile, children in America go hungry and elderly make so little on their pensions (if theirs hasn't gone bankrupt yet) and social security that many only get one meal a day.

Frankly, I am okay with those who don't want to read this story because it is "to real to life". This just reinforces my personal views of the American Justice System, which in a word is appalling. I think the more appropriate term is the Victim Injustice System...

This book has enough fiction to make it interesting and a compelling story for many.
Profile Image for Kristy.
990 reviews139 followers
November 26, 2019
This is one of the best John Grisham books I’ve read in quite some time! It’s a strong, captivating story featuring the “good guys” versus “bad guys” dynamic that Grisham does so well.

Cullen Post works for Guardian Ministries, traveling the country fighting wrongful convictions. Guardian takes on clients forgotten by the system. Post, a lawyer and Episcopal minister, finds himself drawn to their latest client, Quincy Miller, who is serving life in prison. Quincy supposedly killed Keith Russo, a lawyer in Seabrook, Florida. He’s been in prison for over twenty years. And now Post is realizing that Quincy’s case is going to ensnare him and Guardian in a dangerous world—powerful people killed Keith Russo, and they do not want Quincy Miller exonerated.

"I have saddled myself with the burdens of innocent people rotting away in prison while rapists and murderers roam free."

This book has the legal and dramatic hallmarks of a strong Grisham novel. I was drawn to Post immediately and quickly caught up in Quincy’s case and Post and Guardian’s world. There are lots of twists and turns and surprises as Post works to free Quincy. I love the details Grisham throws in, plus the peeks into the courtroom, tidbits about examining evidence, and more. It’s a powerful read that gives you plenty to think about. Definitely worth a read! 4 stars.

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Profile Image for Gary.
2,554 reviews358 followers
November 16, 2019
I have read most of John Grisham's novels so was really looking forward to this one. The more I read the more I enjoyed it and I was aware that my initial rating was changing.
The book features Cullen Post a former priest who now works for an organisation called Guardian Ministries that tries to free people they believe to be wrongfully convicted by getting a retrial.
For the last 22 years Quincy Miller has been in prison and as always claimed his innocence. All the evidence surrounding the murder of a lawyer appears to point at Quincy. Several witnesses give evidence against him that is damning, a fellow inmate said he confessed to him, his ex wife said he owned guns and another witness said they saw him fleeing the scene. Quincy Miller swears he has never owned a gun and was no where near the incident. Post somehow believes in his innocence and takes the case on.
The plot is well grafted and there are some excellent characters that certainly grew on me. This is another hit for the author and well worth a read.
Profile Image for Tim.
2,084 reviews192 followers
January 10, 2020
The beginning of this is a tough read because the words, "innocent until proven guilty," amounts to a catch phrase. This is especially true for people of color in the United States who are convicted in disproportionate numbers. After wrongful convictions, The Guardians emerge to get a few innocent victims out of prison. 6 of 10 stars
Profile Image for Judy Collins.
2,471 reviews347 followers
October 23, 2019
Quick notes. I LOVED, LOVED THE GUARDIANS! I am an avid John Grisham fan and this is the author at his FINEST! A legal thriller/historical fiction classic. This is one for the home library. Top Books of 2019! If I could give it 10 stars I would. Here you go: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I have always been fascinated with innocence work and ministries for many years. I love books surrounding this topic. The people who work with little pay to help save the innocent from the needle. Justice for crimes they did not commit. Those who are serving long sentences because of unqualified experts and their unfounded theories of guilt, as well as small-town police corruption, and witnesses who lie.

The clock is ticking. A man is charged with a crime he did not commit. Exonerating Quincy Miller is their goal. They must unravel the State's case. Twenty-three years in prison. No one is working on solving the case. Finding the real killer is not a priority. It is not a cold case. The State of Florida got a conviction. The truth is irrelevant.

Post and The Guardians must help. They have a track record and many successes. Frankie being one. Another black man serving fourteen years in Georgia for someone else's murder. Now a rich man.

Will a (white) Episcopal priest turned lawyer (Post) and his team, THE GUARDIANS, uncover the information they need before it is too late?

The author states inspiration came from two sources: one, a character, the other a plot. Based on a real story (you can read about it at the end of the book). You will be Googling the real Ministry and a way to help.

PLEASE, Please, more Guardian Ministries From Savannah GA, Carolinas, Seabrook, FL, to the entire state of Florida. (got to love this fellow Floridians and the familiar spots). What a dedicated and tireless team. Bring it on!

I could see this as an ongoing series with different cases. I ADORED these characters! Cullen Post was dynamite as well as Quincy, Frankie, Duke, Vicki, Mazy, and the others.

OMG! 🙌💕 A TV series, please. This book checks all the boxes. If you loved John's earlier books you will devour this one. I could not put this down. This is where the audiobook came in handy so I did not have to miss a beat.

Let me say, I enjoyed this so much, I purchased the audiobook, e-book, and ordered the hardcover which is coming today! I have been telling everyone about this book. The audiobook narrator was one of the BEST. A superb award-winning performance by Michael Beck. On my Top audiobook for the year and top narrator. He was the perfect voice. I could listen to him day and night.

Now that I have hopefully shared with you a bit of my enthusiasm for THE GUARDIANS, move this one to the top of your list. Buy this book! A novel that will remain with you and its characters. You will laugh and you will cry. Well done Mr. Grisham!!! Fingers crossed for more Guardians. I think this may be his BEST book yet and one of my very favorites. You were meant to write this book.

I need to gather my thoughts and will circle back this week for a more formal and complete review. I cannot wait to hear everyone's thoughts!

Profile Image for Lisa.
607 reviews229 followers
November 11, 2019
A deftly written and thought-provoking book that will stick with you long after the last page is turned.

Quincy Miller has spent the past twenty-two years in prison for a crime he did not commit. He had no lawyer and no advocate until he wrote a letter to Guardian Ministries, a small innocence group based in Savannah, Georgia which handles only a few wrongful conviction cases at a time. Cullen Post, one of the founders of Guardian Ministries is a lawyer, and minister who travels the South investigating the evidence in innocence cases, and he has agreed to take Quicy’s case.

Quincy had been accused of murdering a young lawyer named Keith Russo. Russo was shot at his desk, while working late one night. The killer left no clues and no witnesses behind. But Quincy was framed, convicted and sent to prison for life for Russo’s murder. Powerful people murdered Russo and they will do whatever it takes to keep Quincy from getting exonerated. But Cullen Post will go anywhere and do whatever it takes to get Quincy’s name cleared.

“In at least half of the DNA exonerations of innocent men and women, bad forensics have been the cornerstone of the prosecution’s evidence.”

THE GUARDIANS is a wrenching look at injustice in the legal system. I loved this book and could not stop myself from inhaling the pages. It reminded me of some of Grisham’s early legal thrillers.

Cullen Post’s character, who is based on a real person, was delightfully well developed. You will admire his dedication and diligence as well as his sensitivity and tirelessness in his efforts to clear Quincy’s name.

John Grisham’s writing is seamless and the story is compelling. He deftly captures the mood, the sense of urgency and the injustice of the wrongly convicted. You will feel the angst and the helplessness of both Quincy and Cullen. One of my favorite and funniest part of the book is when Cullen and Frankie, another Guardian Ministries employee, who had previously been exonerated, had quite an adventure in a haunted house.

THE GUARDIANS really makes you stop and think of the many men and women who have been wrongly convicted and are still serving time for crimes they did not commit. How many cases would and could be easily overturned by the DNA technology available today. Who will take up their cause? Who will fight for them as hard as Cullen fought for Quincy. This is the kind of thought-provoking book that will stick with you long after the last page is turned.

THE GUARDIANS is John Grisham 40th novel, and there is no doubt that the man can write a good story. His inspiration for this book came from two sources. Cullen Post’s character is based on Jim McClosky of Centurion Ministries in New Jersey, while the plot for The Guardians is based on the true story of Joe Bryan who was wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife in Texas. I listened to this compelling book on Audible and immensely enjoyed the narration of the story by Michael Beck.

Publisher Doubleday
Published October 15, 2019
Narrated Michael Beck
Review www.bluestockingreviews.com
Profile Image for Barbara.
260 reviews195 followers
February 1, 2021
Guardian Ministries is a group dedicated to pursuing justice by proving the innocence of those falsely incarcerated. Grisham's novel follows the lawyer Cullen Post as he struggles to find proof. Expert witnesses (or not so expert), lazy and indifferent judges, corrupt sheriffs, planted evidence, shady witnesses, incentivized jailhouse informants and other unsavory characters all contribute to a flawed judicial system and Cullen's problems.

This is only my 3rd or 4th Grisham book so I really can't say if it is better than or worse than any other. I had not known about nonprofit law firms that fight to vindicate the innocent, and the information of how they work was fascinating. Unfortunately, as long as there are unethical humans, we will have a flawed judicial system. It is comforting to know there are those who care and are willing to work for their beliefs.

Missing from this book are the interesting settings and well-developed characters that I love in the three mystery series I follow; series that dwell less on graphic details. This must be why the legal thriller is not my favored genre. That said, The Guardians is fast-paced and a worthwhile read.
Profile Image for Cherie.
193 reviews74 followers
September 27, 2020
Grisham slightly offended me early on by saying most jurors in Birmingham, AL struggled to read. Grisham is, I guess, just using the stigma that is already there for AL. I chose to overlook this minor offense and continue reading.
It is the storytelling method though that I can't overlook. He doesn't tell the story in a straight line, it is meandering, backwards and then sideways. Meandering tales are always a struggle for me, and makes the story needlessly longer and drawn out.
Profile Image for Jim.
542 reviews78 followers
February 9, 2020
The protagonist in this legal offering from John Grisham is Cullen Post. A lawyer turned minister turned lawyer. Post, as he prefers to be called, started out his legal career as a public defender. He had a breakdown when he was assigned to defend someone charged with a horrific crime. There really was no question of innocence in this case. Post had a breakdown, his career in the public defender office ended as did his marriage. When he recovered he entered the seminary and became an Episcopal minister. Later he joined a non-profit group, Guardian Ministries, whose mission is to defend men and women who have wrongly been convicted. Guardian only handles a few cases at a time and Post is the primary investigator.

Twenty-two years ago in the small town of Seabrook, Florida a lawyer named Keith Russo was shot to death in his office late at night. There were no witnesses but the police were quick to arrest Quincy Miller, a young black man who was a former client of Russo. Quincy was framed, convicted, and sent to prison for life. For twenty-two years he has languished in prison with no lawyer and no advocate on the outside. Then he wrote a letter to Guardian Ministries.

Post is a tireless advocate for the wrongly convicted. He barely scrapes by. Living on fast food or eating in diners, staying in cheap motels, driving throughout the southeast United States (Florida, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina) in his old SUV. His joy is when the conviction of an innocent person is overturned and he or she is set free. With Quincy though he may be getting more than he is used to. Keith Russo's real killer is still out there and it appears to involve powerful and ruthless people. People who do not want to see the Keith Russo case reopened.

Cullen Post is a very likable character, as are several of the other characters in the story. There are some though that I found to be stereotypes. Corrupt sheriffs, prosecutors, and judges in deep south. This aside though this was an enjoyable story about the men and women who dedicate themselves to trying to help those who have been wrongly convicted and have nowhere to turn. It made me stop and think.
Profile Image for Jim C.
1,476 reviews24 followers
February 17, 2021
This book follows a lawyer Cullen Post who works for a very small organization. Their goal is to free inmates who have been wrongly convicted. These inmates have spent years and years in jail.

My enjoyment of this novel wasn't the best and I am probably not being fair to this novel. The problem was I read the book Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson a little while ago and I kept on comparing this book to that book. It probably wasn't fair but I could not help it. Just Mercy is a non fiction book about a lawyer who has done this in real life. It was impactful and emotional book. This book wasn't. That is where the unfairness on my part comes in. This book is based on a real lawyer who is similar to Bryan Stevenson. I think this being fictional did not hit home to me when I know it is being done in the real world. I also believe part of the blame lays on the author too. I didn't think he brought out the main character or the crime that was committed. I felt like I was reading an outline and I kept on wanting to know more. The only connection I felt was one little courtroom scene.

Sometimes timing plays a key factor in the enjoyment of a book. I might enjoy a book a little more than I would if I just read a lousy book. It could work in the opposite way too. My timing was bad for this book as it was too similar to a non fiction book that I really enjoyed. If this subject matter is new to you this book might work for you as I do strongly believe it is an important topic.
Profile Image for Leslie Ray.
174 reviews95 followers
March 28, 2020
This is a legal thriller that I could not put down and typical of some of the previous John Grisham novels that he is known for. The main character is a former trial lawyer, who enters the seminary, and specializes in exonerating the wrongfully convicted, especially death row inmates. This story centers around someone in a backwoods Florida town wrongfully convicted for a death of a successful lawyer. There are a lot of things brought to light, such as "snitches" bribed into testifying for prosecutors, harassment of expert witnesses and the questionable analysis of blood stains by so-called experts with no real forensic background.
If you love the early legal thrillers that John Grisham is known for, this is a book you will enjoy.
Profile Image for Repix.
2,132 reviews389 followers
December 6, 2021
Refleja perfectamente cómo funciona el sistema judicial americano, las prisiones y los pseudoperitos que pululan por los juicios.
Profile Image for NILTON TEIXEIRA.
760 reviews230 followers
November 27, 2021
Gasp! 2.5 stars!
I always look forward to reading a book by John Grisham, one of my favourite authors.
This book was inspired by real facts.
There are a good number of stories based on wrongly convicted people being exonerated and released from prisons.
Unfortunately the development of the storyline was boring. It did not feel that it was written by Grisham.
It started well but then it became very repetitive.
Such a great concept but, in my opinion, poorly written. There was nothing thrilling about it. No interesting characters.
And the protagonist was somewhat arrogant (or prepotent?)
I know that I’m in the minority, so please, don’t mind me.
This one did not work for me.
There was no heart.

Book: 370 pages, 48 chapters, 104k words.

I also simultaneously listened to the audiobook narrated by Michael Beck. The narration was soooooo slow! By the time he finished a paragraph I was already on the next page. I could only enjoy it at 1.75x.
Profile Image for Lori .
317 reviews2 followers
October 29, 2019
I will give him one more chance. His last few have been terrible, so much so that I haven't read anything since Gray Mountain (I'd give that zero stars if I could). Fingers crossed!

Update: well, it was better than Gray Mountain. Ha! It was entertaining and I read it in less than a day, so 3 stars for me. Also, I recently re-read The Partner (one of his better ones) and this one felt to be in the same caliber. This was definitely not Gray Mountain or one of his "phoning it in" novels.
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