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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6381 comments The Rooster Bar by John Grisham
The Rooster Bar – John Grisham
Audiobook read by Ari Fliakos

Three third-year law students are stunned when their friend and fellow student commits suicide. They hadn’t known he was bi-polar, and they are simply unable to return to classes once they look into his paranoid conspiracy theory of “Satan” and how the billionaire has preyed on the hopes of marginal students by founding multiple for-profit law schools whose graduates can’t pass the bar or get a decent job. Drowning in debt, they decide to drop out of law school and find another way to make some money.

Grisham knows how to write a thrilling adventure tale. Here he imagines three students on a mission to turn the system on its head. Who needs a license? They figure that they can perform at least as well as the sleaziest courthouse- or police-station trolling attorney, picking up poor and uneducated clients for quick plea deals. Learning on the fly they make mistakes, but they also begin making some money. And then they turn their attention to the billionaire who started it all …

The three main characters – Mark, Todd and Zola – are reasonably bright, motivated, and quick on their feet. I found their friendship and loyalty to one another and to the memory of Gordy touching and genuine. Grisham also peoples the book with a variety of colorful minor characters, from a black teen with a speeding ticket, to a high-powered attorney specializing in medical malpractice, to the owner of a number of bars in the DC area, and a highly-sexed cute-as-a-button prosecuting attorney bored with her assignment in traffic court.

I did think that Grisham wrote himself into a hole and was struggling to get out. There’s a significant side plot focusing on one student’s parents – illegal immigrants who fled Senegal decades ago (Zola was born in the USA). For most of the book I thought this was a distraction, though their situation becomes a key to the final resolution. Kind of a cheap trick, in my opinion.

Ari Fliakos does a fine job performing the audio version of this book. I did sometimes get confused between Todd and Mark, since Fliakos doesn’t give them much difference in tone or inflection. Since they have many conversations together it’s somewhat important to know which of them is speaking which lines of dialogue. Still, overall, I thought he did a great job. He kept the pace at a steady speed and the action moving forward.

LINK to my review

Jason Oliver | 2097 comments I agree with your assessment. A good classic John Grisham book. Well written in his great story telling style and as always, a page turner.

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