The Essential John Grisham in Audio
John Grisham is celebrated for his compelling crime thrillers and engrossing legal procedurals. For longtime fans of Grisham and newcomers alike, we’ve cultivated a list of his very best in audio.
July 23, 2020
John Grisham is best known for his fast-paced legal thrillers and mysteries, many of which have been adapted for television and film. Because he’s so prolific and has been writing for decades, it can be difficult to know where to begin when selecting a title from his impressive back catalog. And Grisham is definitely a jack-of-all-trades: he’s written not only legal thrillers, but nonfiction, a series for kids, some humorous novels, and recently, a new mystery series outside of the legal thriller genre. To help you decide which Grisham gem to download next, we’ve compiled a list of the very best John Grisham audiobooks.
Though some characters are recurring, most of these are standalone novels, so you can feel free to jump in wherever you want.
John Grisham’s most popular novel is also the one that kicked off his career as a master of legal thrillers. Michael Beck narrates this mystery set in a small town in the South, which unravels the repercussions of a horrific crime committed against a 10-year-old Black girl, her father’s taking justice into his own hands, and the white defense attorney, Jack Brigance, who takes the case—only to find that his client’s life, and his own, are in grave danger.
Mark is just a kid who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. And when he overhears information that immediately puts him in danger, his life is changed forever. He knows the location of a dead body that criminals and law enforcement are both desperate to find. With nowhere safe to turn, he puts his trust in a young lawyer who will protect him at all costs. Blair Brown expertly narrates this thriller, keeping you on the edge of your seat as you eagerly wait to hear what happens next.
When a young law student writes a brief, she has no idea that it will have immense ramifications for her life, the legal system, and the entire country. But in the aftermath of the assassination of two United States Supreme Court Justices, she’ll find herself in grave danger, only able to trust a young reporter looking for the truth. This audiobook is narrated by actor Anthony Heald, who superbly brings the tense atmosphere to life.
Grisham takes on the issue of jury tampering in this thriller, narrated by the accomplished Frank Muller. It takes place in Biloxi, Mississippi, following what proves to be a landmark trial regarding the tobacco industry. The jury quickly begins to behave strangely, and it’s not long before members believe they’re being watched. Sequestering them makes no difference, and soon, one woman claims she can predict their next movements. But who is manipulating the jury, and why?
The always excellent Frank Muller again shines as the narrator of this courtroom thriller, about a young law student in his final weeks of study who must provide free legal aid to senior citizens. Along the way, he stumbles upon one of the largest insurance scams he’s ever encountered. He knows that someone must challenge this billion-dollar corporation, but the odds are stacked against him—he’s broke and hasn’t even passed the bar exam yet. But that won’t stop him from trying.
Adam is a young lawyer with a promising career ahead of him when he makes the shocking move to defend a death row inmate—a racist Klan member convicted of a bombing that killed multiple people. Adam has ulterior motives for taking on a case that could derail his entire future: there are long-hidden family secrets he desperately needs to shed light on, and only the defendant—who happens to be his grandfather—can do so. In his crisp delivery, narrator Alexander Adams crafts a listen that will grab hold of your attention from the very first minute...and refuse to let go.
Frank Muller narrates this intriguing thriller about a missing lawyer who may or may not have stolen millions from his firm. Danilo Silva was a partner at a profitable, respectable law firm when he died in a fiery crash, leaving behind a wife and a child...or did he? Just days later, millions of dollars are stolen from his firm’s offshore account, and four years later, Danilo Silva is found alive in Brazil. But he’s not living the luxurious life of a millionaire—he’s haunted, thin, with no signs of wealth. So what really happened, and why did he have to disappear?
Bringing listeners back to that famous courthouse in Clanton, Mississippi, this long-awaited sequel to A Time to Kill catches up with Jack Brigance three years after the trial that launched his career. An old man hangs himself in a sycamore tree—but before he dies by suicide, he makes a handwritten will that takes his substantial fortune away from his children and leaves most of it to his Black maid. Jack must once again untangle a legal mess that will have major ramifications for his bigoted community and the deep roots of its tortured, racist history. Michael Beck returns to narrate, delivering a performance recognized as an Audie Award Finalist.
When a dying billionaire decides it’s time to figure out who should inherit his fortune, he hires Nate O’Riley, a high-powered lawyer whose life is on the rocks, to find a young woman named Rachel, who left the US to serve as a missionary in Brazil and hasn’t been heard from since. Nate travels to find Rachel, and the secrets he uncovers on his journey are truly shocking. Genre-favorite Frank Muller narrates this mystery, which is a slight departure from Grisham’s usual courtroom dramas.
Frank Muller narrates this listen about an up-and-coming lawyer in a high-powered DC firm, whose life is forever changed when a homeless man holds the partners of the firm hostage, desperately pleading for justice. Shaken, Michael Brock decides to leave his job and turn to helping those living on the streets get fair representation. But first, he’s determined to bring down a conspiracy, detailed in a highly confidential file at the firm he left, making his former partners his new enemies.
Malcolm Bannister is a former attorney currently serving time in prison. When news breaks of a federal judge’s mysterious murder, Bannister sees his chance to leverage some very important information that he’s been sitting on for quite some time. He knows who wanted the judge dead, and he also knows what was in the judge’s empty safe. But he won’t reveal his information to just anyone. JD Jackson narrates this audiobook, adding a gifted performance that listeners have called “pitch-perfect,” “soft-spoken,” and “intelligent.”
Audie Award winner January LaVoy narrates the first book in Grisham’s new mystery series, which doesn’t star a lawyer. Instead, this book focuses on Camino Island, Florida, where a bookseller who specializes in rare books—and occasionally dabbles in black market products—makes his living. A young writer is approached by a mysterious woman and asked to infiltrate this Camino Island group to find stolen F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts—but naturally, nothing goes quite as planned.
Frank Muller narrates a legal thriller that looks at the opposite end of the justice system. Three former federal judges are living in prison after their various misdeeds caught up with them. They meet in the prison’s library each day to write letters, help dispense some jailhouse justice, and execute a daring extortion scheme that will have a big impact on the outside world, where a presidential election is getting heated.
Set in Ford County in the 70s, this novel focuses on the chilling events following a notorious case. In 1970, the local newspaper is saved from bankruptcy by Willie Traynor, a 23-year-old college dropout, and gains national attention when he covers, in unflinching detail, a young mother’s brutal rape and murder, and the trial of the accused. When the perp was convicted, he promised revenge on the jurors. Nine years later, he’s back to make good on that promise.
Grisham turns to the espionage thriller genre with this audiobook, narrated by Michael Beck, about a powerful broker who was imprisoned but granted a last-minute presidential pardon. The CIA whisks him away from prison, gives him a new identity, drops him overseas, and then sits back waiting to see who will kill him—because then maybe they’ll know who has compromised their satellite system.
Tirzah Price is a YA writer and contributing editor at Book Riot.