It takes a certain mind, a certain genius (if you will) to create a new genre in literature. Years ago, John Grisham did just that, creating the legal thriller genre that has captivated readers for nearly two decades. In addition, a number of his national (and international) bestsellers have been made into Hollywood movies (titles that include "A Time to Kill," "The Firm," "Runaway Jury," "The Rainmaker," and others). In the legal thriller "The Brethren," Grisham again takes readers on a wild journey of suspense, controversy, and wonderment. Readers who do not like Grisham's novels argue that many of his stories blend together and his genre lacks any originality these days. However, in this particular book, Grisham displays the ingenuity and superb storytelling that made him America's favorite storyteller.
"The Brethren" is an exciting, twisting story of Presidential hopeful Aaron Lake, who is raking in funds from military and defense companies as he travels the country warning Americans that the military is too weak to fight the great enemy, whoever that might be, that is growing stronger and stronger every single day. Teddy Maynard, the elderly but brilliant head of the CIA, secretly pulls the strings behind Lake's campaign; that is until one of his strings hit a snag.
Finn Yarber, Hatlee Beech, and Joe Roy Spicer are three disgraced judges, serving jail terms in Trumble Federal Prison in Florida. Aged beyond their primes, these middle-aged former judges have engineered a get-rich-while-we-wait scheme, extorting money from individuals under a rouse and with the help of their sleezeball lawyer, Trevor Carson. Everything is going along as planned and they have extorted hundreds of thousands of dollars from their victims; that is until they draw in the wrong victim.
In a series of wrong turns, political maneuvers, and desperate attempts to conceal identity and collect fortunes, Grisham masterfully brings the seemingly unrelated stories together in an unexpected and brilliant way. As usual, Grisham makes the "law" lingo easy to understand for his readers who are not well-versed in law and the work of lawyers, judges, and politicians. His character development, particularly of Aaron Lake and Trevor Carson, is well-planned, precise, and balanced.
While one is constantly asking about what will happen next, one is always confident that Grisham has the answer in the next turn of the page. Particularly engaging is the race for the nomination for President of the United States that Aaron Lake enters. In no legal or political book, or any book that involved politics, are the intricacies and underworld dealings of political races portrayed so dramatically. For this reader, reading this book during the race for the Republican nomination for President has made the news surrounding it much more appealing and interesting. If one finds political races at all interesting in anyway, this book will also spark one's interest.
John Grisham comes out with a new novel once a year, and while this book was written nearly 11 years ago, it still excites this fan for the release of his new book. While some readers, such as myself, may disagree with the political arguments present in his books, Grisham nonetheless captivates his audience and presents his point-of-view in a way that is easy to understand. Many authors today do not possess this gift, but Grisham has it and uses it in abundance. His unique storytelling and exciting plots make any of his legal thrillers an enjoyable read, and "The Brethren" is no exception.