A classic legal thriller from the master of the genre.
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 each day in the law library, their turf at Trumble, where they write briefs, handle cases for other inmates, practice law without a license, and sometimes dispense jailhouse justice. And they spend hours writing letters. They are fine-tuning a mail scam, and it's starting to really work. The money is pouring in.
Then their little scam goes awry. It ensnares the wrong victim, a powerful man on the outside, a man with dangerous friends, and the Brethren's days of quietly marking time are over.
©2000 Belfry Holdings, Inc. (P)2000 Random House, LLC
"Gripping ... engaging and fast-paced ... will hook you from the first page and won't let you go." (New York Post)
Firstly I have to say that John Grisham has always entertained me and as an American author is one of the few that I read. This was also my first listen to Frank Muller, who I will deal with first. Right from the first syllable I did not like his delivery at all, I found it very slow and lumbering, with an annoying habit of overstressing certain words and underpinning it all with a heavy accent that did little to make me want to listen. I managed to make it slightly less annoying by speeding him up which made him a lot easier on the ear. After a hundred pages or so I got used to him and by the end of the book was beginning to enjoy, but I would think hard again about "buying" anything further if he was the narrator.
Moving on to the book itself I read a couple of very critical reviews of the story and therefore started the book not expecting a lot. For my part I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the complexities of a plot trying and succeeding in laying a rich story of three rather corrupt judges engineering the perfect crime from a prison cell through to the corruption that we all know takes place but hope that doesn't sully the USA's election machine. There is some imaginative and believable detail on how that machine can be manipulated by those that have the power and influence to do so. Further it underlines the lengths that those of influence and power will go to in protecting their interests.
The story essentially runs two plots which are bought together in a very clever way and as the reader it is difficult to avoid the feeling that the story paints a rich and very sick picture of the American power machine at its very worst.
I came away from the book feeling that all those involved were equally as bad as each other, and a certain appreciation of the corruption that poisons a nations systems of government, a corruption that clearly has no boundaries. Yet worse still that corruption lies nestled within a clandestine power structure that has the financial resources and the ability to keep all of that dirty laundry under a veil of secrecy that could achieve whatever it wants without any fear of reprisal.
I started this review by suggesting that there was more than a little undeserved "negative" criticism of the book, and maybe having now read the book I might be bold enough to suggest it is nearer to the truth than many would like it to be.
All I can say is read it and come to your own conclusion.
My conclusion........ well I put my grain of belief right where it belongs!
On the beach of thoroughly enjoyable......
Normally there is someone or some thing that you can get behind, this book is devoid of that. I stuck with it to the end and was disappointed further. Spend your credit elsewhere. The Woodcutter is an excellent read.
Disappointed with the ending, wanted some justice I think or some consequences for their actions. very well read.
A group of three judges make up the Brethren, the in-house legal team in a posh, low security prison. They are working up a new scheme where they fleece innocent gay men, but what has that got to do with the latest presidential campaign?
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