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The Brethren

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  87,573 ratings  ·  1,947 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

Paperback, 384 pages
Published December 27th 2005 by Delta (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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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  87,573 ratings  ·  1,947 reviews

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Ahmad Sharabiani
The Brethren, John Grisham

The Brethren is a legal thriller novel by American author John Grisham, published in 2000.

They call themselves the Brethren: three disgraced former judges doing time in a Florida federal prison. One was sent up for tax evasion. Another, for skimming bingo profits. 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, dispense a
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was ok

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;
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
Asghar Abbas
Feb 21, 2016 rated it really liked it

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.

Mar 20, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
Karl Marberger
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: legal-political
It was an enjoyable read filled with plenty of political and legal intrigue as well as humorous writing. Ending was so-so.
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Natalie Vellacott
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, john-grisham
Another Grisham novel ticked off my very long list!

The Brethren is not one of the author's best works. The pace is significantly slower, in some places, than his other novels. However, it still contains enough drama to keep the reader wanting to know what happens at the end. Grisham's books are also not easily skim read because the plot details are skillfully woven together and you might miss something important rendering the book nonsensical.

Trumble is a minimum security federal prison which ho
Ivana Books Are Magic
The Brethren is, like most of Grisham's books, a legal thriller. The central characters are multiple, and so are the plot lines but the narrative is easy to follow and understand. The book is quite readable. It might be called a page turner, as the narrative is pretty eventful, thought one could always say that the 'page turning quality' is ultimately dependent on personal taste. The Brethren contains a fair amount of social satire, and perhaps we could say that is what sets it aside from other ...more
Dec 11, 2008 rated it really liked it

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
Deborah Ideiosepius
From inside Trumble, a minimum security federal prison, three former judges calling themselves 'The Brethren' organise a legal advice and inmate 'social trial' system. Their main occupation however is running a mail extortion scam, they have carefully and meticulously set it up to make a great deal of money for a few unfortunate victims.

Outside, in the real world a CIA heavy is planning to back a political candidate in order to increase military spending. It is a beautifully organised campaign t
Mar 23, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fast-paced and gripping story, liked it a lot!
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Another enjoyable and easy-read by Grisham, for a while for me it was extremely hard to follow, where the main part of the story involves a scam, and for the longest time I wasn't sure who was scamming who, the story kept jumping around, but as it progressed it all started to some together.

They call themselves The Brethren, a trio of three-stooges type disgraced former judges who have been doing time in a minimum Florida federal prison known as Trumble. #1 is sent to prison for Tax Evasion, #2 f
Jun 18, 2009 rated it liked it
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
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. ...more
Andre Gonzalez
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
much better book than the last couple Grisham books I've read. Definitely a fast-paced story with a good political story weaved into it as well! ...more
Marty Reeder
Feb 06, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
In a minimum-security prison, three old corrupt judges pass their days away running a scam by mail, asking help and promising companionship from closeted gay men across the country. When the marks bite, the judges demand money. Meanwhile, a hawkish head of the CIA plans to engineer the presidential election of a handpicked Congressman, Aaron Lake, in a single-issue campaign based on fomenting the fear of world war.

While it may seem obvious to some at what point these two plots will converge, I w
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, politics
I enjoyed this Grisham novel! It was easy to read and to understand, and the plot had good detail. I liked the unexpected plot changes! Recommended for those who like easy mysteries!
Feb 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Cathal Kenneally
Dec 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit of an anticlimactic ending to a very good book. I enjoy John Grisham because the legal aspects. Not all of his books are based in a courtroom or a lawyer's office but do contain some elements of legal proceedings which he creates good stories about.
Like the Racketeer which I still is his best book, this is based in a prison. That is where the similarities of the books mentioned end. There's a lot more going on here.
Overall worthy of four stars
May 18, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 27, 2007 rated it it was ok
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.
Mar 03, 2014 added it
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. ...more
Sep 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Thought this was a great Grisham book, though a bit predictable, it was well-written, suspense-driven, fast-paced, a book that kept my interest and made me want to read more.
Great book. Wished the ending wasn't so predictable. ...more
Rita Chapman
Sep 01, 2017 rated it liked it
An interesting story about a Presidential election and a scam operated out of a low-security prison by three ex Judges.
Andrea McGinnis
Nov 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved this one. Funny and cleverly written.
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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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