I kept waiting for the action, the plot twist, the surprise. All I got was a lousy Italian lesson. When I finished the audiobook I kept thinking "is this all there is"? Robert Ludlum, Grisham is not!
This book looks like it was published by the Food Network. Half the novel they are talking about food and the other half its predictable. Not the best novel by this author.
There were places that it held my interest but overall I was disappointed. It didn't make sense that the CIA wanted to see who would kill Joel Backman but they already knew everyone wanted to kill him. There were a lot of details that didn't move the plot forward. The ending seemed very anti-climatic.
What an outstanding tale of an imprisoned power broker, released under mysterious circumstances and exiled in Italy. Grisham's research in Northern Italy is apparent in his colorful rendering of the picturesque area, as his tale of intrigue unfolds.
This audiobook (unabridged version) kept me hanging on every word and really gave me something to look forward to as I progressed through the story. The characters were well developed and, although the reader did all the voices (male and female), he successfully portrayed each as its own character.
The Broker made me remember how much I once wanted to become a writer. My hat is off to John Grisham. I highly recommend this audiobook (esp. the unabridged version) to anyone who loves a great story, well told. Additionally, those interested in traveling to northern Italy may enjoy the tale on those merits alone.
I have read all of John Grisham's novels and have watched a spiralling, downward trend. It's not that his books are not readable, it's just that they have become so formulaic as to be almost boring. This story is passable, but with every new novel, I hope to read something different, something closer to "A Time to Kill" but I'm always disappointed. I'm not wishing he will write about racism in the South or anywhere else; I just long for something with more body, something that displays his gift for storytelling, such as the homespun pull felt in "The Last Juror." I really don't think I will be reading any more of his books, because I know now, that it will be the same old story, just a differnt character name and setting.
This is definitely the worst book I have ever read. I wanted to quit listening after the first 30 minutes. I wait impatiently for a new John Grisham book as I am sure others do and this was a a terrible disappointment. If I had had to listen to one more description of Joel Backman and his Italian lessons (For what???) and him ordering expresso several times per day I believe I would have been driven to strong liquer. I agree with the person who said John Grisham must have made a bet to see if he could publish this terrible sustitute for a book and how many people he could trick to buy it. I rate this book a ZERO. This is one loyal Grisham fan who will definitely rethink my next purchase.
I agree totally with audiblebull's review. The first part of this book is slow and unnecessary. Too much Italian...and, as the title character says, why isn't he in Australia? (Anyway, I thought the bad guys didn't want to hide him too well). In addition the whole premise of the pardon doesn't seem to make sense (and if you had something EVERYONE wants wouldn't you use it to stay OUT of jail in the first place?)
In fairness, Grisham can make boring material readable. I still listened steadily even though I was constantly complaining about the story. I bet the abridged version would be a lot more enjoyable.
Say something about yourself!
I loved this book. For me it isn't about the story as much as it is about good writing. John Grisham can take a flawed character and make you end up rooting for them and caring about what happens to them. He does it over and over in his books. I loved hearing about the food, I loved the twists and turns, I found it extremely enjoyable to listen to, and I was hooked until the end.
A story that starts out great but has unexplained events that make you wonder "what happened". The ending is also a let down. If you can forgive that, it's still a good read, even with its dangling parts.
Grisham is one of my favorite writers particularly when he writes in the thriller fashion. This was a fun and fast moving book. The ending left something to be desired yet it was still a fun ride. What is amazing about Grisham is that he can so honest about the dark side of the law and government yet still have a voice that is positive, hopeful, and optimistic.
Mike Beck is also a wonderful reader for this and all this author's books. His voice and reading style are so wonderful that I wish he would do other books as well.