©2000 Belfrey Holdings, Inc.; (P)2000 Random House, Inc.
I've read (listened) to most of Grisham's work, and this is my favorite thus far. I really enjoy Grisham's dry sarcasm, and this book is full of it.
This was my first audible book and I enjoyed it immensely. The narration was wonderful, and the storyline kept me involved from the first page to the last. I almost wanted my hour long commute each way to work to be longer.
Very cool story. Grisham interwove two seemingly disjointed tales into each other gracefully. There wasn't much of a "mystery" involved as the reader can easily guess where the story is going. That fact, however, doesn't take anything away from the sheer brilliance of Grisham's storytelling effort here.
Grisham broke out of the cookie cutter mold with this novel. There is no "good guy". Every character has a different angle and motivation but they're all crooks. It's great fun! The narration is fantastic.
Give it a whirl.
There are three story lines in The Brethren. One takes place mainly in a minimum security federal prison camp where three disgraced former federal judges are incarcerated and from where they operate an extortion scam. A second story line takes place entirely within "the bunker", a windowless room from which Teddy Maynard, the aging and disabled director of the CIA, plays kingmaker and manipulates domestic and international events. The third story line involves the people outside prison and the CIA who are affected by the machinations of the judges and the kingmaker: primarily the judges' lawyer and their victims.
The plot is based on the premise that Teddy Maynard, the CIA director cum kingmaker feels that the US needs a stronger military. To that end, he grooms a relatively unknown member of Congress, Representative Aaron Lake, to become the next president of the United States, a president beholden to the CIA and especially to Teddy himself. With unlimited funds, personnel and influence, Teddy molds reality to his liking.
But all the resources that Teddy commands almost fail to discover Lake's secret, a secret that would surely lose him the election if discovered. The bulk of the novel is about the extensive measures taken by Teddy and the CIA to protect their investment in Lake, eventually bringing together the three story lines in what is probably supposed to be a shocking conclusion.
Not one of the characters in the book is well-developed. None of them have interior lives and none of them are particularly interesting. Indeed, none of them are particularly likable. I was unable to connect with any of the characters enough to root for or against them. Their interactions are formulaic. They seem to have no hopes or dreams, no love, no hate, no regrets, no ambition.
The great potential for including CIA gadgets and "trade craft" to spark interest went unexploited. The legal side of the story--John Grisham's strong suit--is completely neglected. The three women in the book are almost caricatures... but so are most of the men.
The narration by John Muller was marred by his habit of exhaling while pronouncing words, making it sound like he was on the treadmill while recording.
All in all, I found The Brethren a great disappointment. The only reason I listened all the way to the end was my vain hope that there would be a twist in the story and something interesting would happen
I thoroughly enjoyed this book ?another one of Grisham's best. Frank Muller, as usual, is a splendid narrator.
The Brethren is a pungent study of morality with characters drawn from a clear comprehension of human nature. Spicer, Beech and Yarber will no doubt plummet to the same fatal calamity as treacherous Trevor.
It's not good to be too greedy.
I love the humor that Grisham spews in his novels & this book is overflowing with it. By far this is one of my favorite Grisham's.
Frank Muller has a wonderful reading voice & captures the story fully, it is sad that he is no longer with us.
I expect John Grisham would change it, too, now. A huge part of the plot is a scam to trap and extort gay men, and everyone in the book treats this as though it is the most horrific, dirty, unacceptable secret ever. Just seems both dated and impossibly silly in this day and age, when being gay is not such a big deal. But at times it came off as really homophobic.
Actually I'm not there yet.
No, I'm going to try to avoid him -- he's very breathy, trailing off into an ominous whisper even on very ordinary sentences.
Pretty good job doing a variety of voices, so if you don't mind a little overdramatic breathy whispering, he might not bug you.
Grisham again manages to weave an intricate plot and surprise a reader with unpredictable twists and turns. Unfortunately, Frank Muller's reading was so obnoxious, it was a struggle to finish listening to it. The exaggerated breathiness and painful intonation were irritating and distasteful. I don't know what Muller was paid for this travesty, but it was too much. Needless to say, I won't buy anything more he may have loaned his voice to.
After listening to around 6 Grisham novels, I have yet to find one of his legal thrillers that I haven't enjoyed.
One reviewer complained about the narrater being breathy? I found the reader, Frank Muller to be top notch - I would seek him as a narrator again. He was dramatic in his reading and his characters were extremely distinct and consistent w/out being corny. They sounded like real characters.
The book is fairly typical for a Grisham book, which is fantastic. I guess what captures me is that someone is always finding a way to get rich and then hanging on the edge to find out if their scam will work or they will lose everything...
I love Grisham books and this was no exception to my rule.
What can I say?? Just a great story made better by the narrator, Frank Muller. His passing last summer leaves big shoes to fill for future narrators.
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