The Broker

The Broker by John Grisham

ISBN10: 1844131637
ISBN13: 978-1844131631
Author: John Grisham
Book title: The Broker
Publisher: Century Books; Airport Ed edition (2005)
Language: English
Category: Genre Fiction
Size PDF: 1206 kb
Size ePub: 1678 kb
Size Fb2: 1268 kb
Rating: 4.2/5
Votes: 629
Pages: 320 pages

The Broker by John Grisham

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While John Grisham's latest book The Broker was not one of his best books it was still an ok read. It still has the wit that we are used to seeing in his books and I definitely got quite a few chuckles out of it. However the characters in the book do not have the depth that we are used to seeing in his characters.

Most of the book takes place in Italy where former lawyer Joel Backman is in hiding. At one time he was a very powerful man in Washington DC. His life changed when three students discovered the most powerful satellite surveillance system in the world (quite by accident), got greedy and tried to sell to the highest bidder - using Joel Backman as their broker. When the story breaks and he is caught those involved start turning up dead. Backman decides that the best way to save his life is to accept the plea agreement and hide out in prison.

Six years later he is unexpectedly pardoned by a lame duck president on his way out of office, no explanation is given. He is whisked off to Italy, given a new identity and taught a new language. What Joel doesn't know is that his own country is setting him up to be murdered. They are just going to sit back and see who does it, hoping that this will tell them who invented the satellite system.

The book takes a slow turn at this point. We join Backman on a tour from Italian town to Italian town complete with lessons in language and the history of the town. There is also a little romance involved though it is very discreet and not the main focus of the book. As usual Grisham is very convincible and knowledgeable sounding on his subject matter. He makes a very plausible case for the conspiracy theorist who thinks that the government is out to get us all.

By the end of the book the leisurely tours of Italy are over and we are back to the cat and mouse chase that Grisham is famous for. But by this time it is too late to really redeem the book. You spend a lot of the book wondering when the plot is actually going to thicken, sadly it never does.

While it wasn't a "couldn't put it down" book it was one that I would have probably still have purchased - even knowing what I know.

After spending 6 years of a 20 year federal prison sentence, Joel Backman, a former major player in DC's political circles is granted a sudden, dramatic pardon. He is then quickly and secretly flown to Italy where he is transformed by CIA handlers. Why the sudden pardon, why the handlers, why Italy and why all this intrigue? All this comes to light in this unique, John Grisham page turning thriller. Fast paced, beyond the usual Grisham attorney/client norm, the storyline keeps the reader involved with interesting characters throughout. If you've enjoyed Grisham novels in the past, you'll definitely find "The Broker" an excellent read.

This story is unique; you end up liking the lead character who is the broker. That isn't the case in the beginning but his character is fully developed and he evolves as a person because of his situation (on the run), realizing several people want to kill him. It gives you an insight to how the CIA and respective organizations like them in other countries operate. It feels very real and you get a travelogue view of Bologna, Italy. It's not about the law or the courtroom but is a story about politics, influence, lobbyists and Washington.

As a longtime Grisham fan, I do not know how I missed reading this earlier; but, I totally enjoyed this book. The plot was absolutely believable meaning that it was timely for the lives we are living now. The workings of our government espionage agencies are always a wonder to me and this novel gave me another view of their work as it unfolds. The idea of a presidential pardon for a prisoner who has settled into his sentence for the long run was the first contemporary idea; but, the way he was smuggled out of the prison and set up with another identity along with new residences, name, experience, and the life was beyond puzzling. The complexity of the undertaking was amazing. Grisham develops his characters to the point that the reader feels that this could be a neighbor is demonstrated again. The human side of the characters demonstrated in their choices of food and drink as well as clothing is most interesting. The fact that our government would undertake such an exhausting endeavor with the intention of having another government take over just blew me away. I came to hate the director of the agency and his having to be bundled in blankets, drinking tea all of the time! He knew his business alright. But, he was not a favorite of mine. The ending was one I would never have predicted as the plot wore on, but it was most satisfying. Once again, Grisham comes through with a unique story and an issue that deserves our attention.

If you are a reader of Grisham novels, you know what I mean by this header. He has a style of writing that brings you back time after time to his books. I had missed this title (2005) when it was first published because of a topsy-turvy year in my life. Found the plot just as relevant in 2017. Politics, international spying, CIA, FBI, cyber and digital age events. Fast moving plot that kept you hanging on till the end.

Kept my interest all the way through. Enjoyed the setting in an ancient Italian city. The presidential pardon added interest: did the lead character bribe his way out of the penitentiary; was he set up to be assassinated by one of the foreign powers that he had offended in his financial schemes? The protagonist's struggle to learn Italian will resonate with any reader who has tried to master a second language. The Italian language is but one element of establishing an entirely new identity for the lead character. Not merely name change or wardrobe adjustment. Interesting story and a "free trip" to Italy.

It’s been awhile since I read one of his books, but I remembered them as all being good. This one is a travel guide to parts of Italy with a backstory that is incomplete, hard to follow, never had any steam to run out of. The ending sounds like whomever wrote the book just got tired of it and just wrapped it up with a period.

Worst book I’ve read all the way through in a long time.