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Summary

John Grisham's newest legal thriller takes you inside a law firm that shouldn't exist.

Law students Mark, Todd and Zola wanted to change the world - to make it a better place. But these days these three disillusioned friends spend a lot of time hanging out in The Rooster Bar, the place where Todd serves drinks. As third-year students, they realise they have been duped. They all borrowed heavily to attend a law school so mediocre that its graduates rarely pass the bar exam, let alone get good jobs. And when they learn that their school is one of a chain owned by a shady New York hedge-fund operator who also happens to own a bank specialising in student loans, the three realise they have been caught up in The Great Law School Scam.

So they begin plotting a way out. Maybe there's a way to escape their crushing debt, expose the bank and the scam, and make a few bucks in the process. But to do so, they have to leave law school, pretend they are qualified and go into battle with a billionaire and the FBI....

Ingenious, immersive and page-turning, The Rooster Bar is a John Grisham legal thriller bar none.

©2017 Belfry Holdings, Inc (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"The best thriller writer alive." (Ken Follett)
"A superb, instinctive storyteller." ( The Times)
"A giant of the thriller genre." ( Time Out)

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not up to Mr Grisham's usual compelling level.

The storyline is original but not strong enough not to leave you wondering if a better one is about to develop as new characters are introduced. It felt more akin to a few weak episodes of "Suits" than a stand alone thriller except I was far less invested in the characters.

I found the verbose repetition of the email correspondence to and from the loan officers to be a frustrating waste of time. It had no real purpose or pay off in the story and felt like padding of the duration.

If you are happy enough with a competently written yarn which you can have wash over you whilst doing something else it's ok.

If like myself you prefer a gripping story where you care what happens next and which engages you enough to give you a break from your day, this one isn't for you.

Three stars overall as there was nothing wrong with the narration and the storyline was well constructed but in the end had no teeth.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Grisham Raises The Bar

NB This review is from the original 20th October release which was withdrawn by Audible in favour of a newer version with enhanced audio.  I cannot comment on just how "enhanced" the audio is but the original seemed fine to me.

Like many I was pretty disappointed with Grisham's previous release, Camino Island but Rooster Bar sees him returning to more familiar legal territory and things improve markedly as a result. ­­  The novel was inspired by an article of investigative journalism about student lending in the US.  Grisham once again weaves an entertaining story around legally engineered social injustice within the US.  The luckless law students entrapped by the loans system embark on some imaginative ways out of the hole that they find themselves in.  It's clever writing and displays the author's usual healthy cynicism about the American Dream.  I worried it might head towards some kind of US Robin Hood style scenario but Grisham blurs the lines between the good and bad guys to a delicious murkiness as the naiveté of the young mavericks leaves a trail of disruption in their wakes. Ari Fliakos gives his usual assured performance as the narrator and suits the material well.

This is Grisham on his home turf; street lawyers, injustice in US society and some interesting legal procedural shenanigans.  I for one am much happier with this return to familiar ground.

23 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Ann D
  • Newcastle, England
  • 11-06-18

Good stuff!

Not right up there with his best, but still a very good tale by Grisham. The narration fitted perfectly.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Engaging but heavily flawed premise

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Honestly, no. I read a lot of JG's early books, but took a break about 8 years ago. This book hasn't exactly endeared me back to him. A massively flawed premise where the 2 main male characters make moronic decisions time after time until you start venting your own frustrations at how much more dumb they can get.

Would you recommend The Rooster Bar to your friends? Why or why not?

Still no.

Which character – as performed by Ari Fliakos – was your favourite?

Ari did a decent job with the characters, nothing stand out - but no issues either.

Was The Rooster Bar worth the listening time?

I listened all the way through... just.

Any additional comments?

Poor addition to the JG catalogue

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Farfetched

Not the most believable story but to be fair the author does admit to stretching fact of law.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great yarn, could it be true.

Another great legal story and I am sure it could be reality.
Great ending and hope it lasts.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good but not his best

A pleasant book but not up there with his earlier work in my opinion, the performance is good and I preferred this book to the last Grisham (Camino Island) effort but I do miss the old stories, maybe it's just nostalgia.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Did John Grisham really write this?

I have read all of his novels. This one is a real disappointment. Over written, with a meandering, confusing plot, I seriously wonder if The Rooster Bar was written by Grisham. This unbelievable story had more holes in it than barbed wire. The main characters were hard to like, and the book, although well read, was so removed from the authors usual style and standard.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Dire

Good performance but such a banal novel. Grisham no longer seems to be even trying. Used to quite enjoy his trash.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Entertaining

I've read and listened to many of the author's books. Most have an honest lawyer as the hero who pits his wits against big business or fat-cat lawyers who are on the side of the bad guys. The present book is different. The lead characters are three students impoverished by huge debts run up to pay their law school fees. However, instead of being wholly sympathetic figures they become criminals embarking on a series of outlandish money-making escapades.

Unlike earlier books this is not a modern morality tale of good versus evil: more the little guys getting their own back on the system by dubious means. Despite their actions I found myself wanting them to get away with their felonies as their targets were the less admirable practitioners of the law.

A more serious side story involves the family of one of the law students highlighting the precariousness of life for illegal immigrants and what they face when deported.

Overall an entertaining novel, more humorous than earlier books.

The narrator is good

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • T. R. Pearson
  • 08-07-18

Even if you love Grisham - skip this one!

Like many others I end up buying all of Grisham's books, they are a normally reliable read or listen for that long plane journey or train ride. I really struggled to finish this one - it was hard to identify or empathise with the characters - the story didn't grip or excite, my disbelief was certainly not suspended.

In all I got the sense that JG was more interested in lecturing about the evils in society than entertaining us in this one.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Marisia Robus
  • 17-06-18

Nice to read a law story again

John Grisham never disappoints. Great read and it turned and ended where I did not expect. Wish they guys could get away with it a bit longer ....... but still enjoyable

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • AJF
  • 10-05-18

Grisham Disbarred

Unlikeable characters. Dull and repetitious. The Law (sic) treated like a doormat. Snowflakes welcome. Terrible.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Charmaine P
  • 19-02-18

Law school scam

Fascinating subject.... makes you wonder if this does actually happen.... ‘makes you think, doesn’t it?’

1 of 2 people found this review helpful