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Publisher's Summary

A classic legal thriller from the master of the genre.

Trumble is a minimum-security federal prison, a 'camp', home to the usual assortment of relatively harmless criminals - drug dealers, bank robbers, swindlers, embezzlers, tax evaders, two Wall Street crooks, one doctor, at least five lawyers. And three former judges who call themselves the Brethren: one from Texas, one from California, and one from Mississippi.

They meet each day in the law library, their turf at Trumble, where they write briefs, handle cases for other inmates, practice law without a license, and sometimes dispense jailhouse justice. And they spend hours writing letters. They are fine-tuning a mail scam, and it's starting to really work. The money is pouring in.

Then their little scam goes awry. It ensnares the wrong victim, a powerful man on the outside, a man with dangerous friends, and the Brethren's days of quietly marking time are over.

©2000 Belfry Holdings, Inc. (P)2000 Random House, LLC

Critic Reviews

“Gripping … engaging and fast-paced … will hook you from the first page and won’t let you go.” (New York Post)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • A. Brennan
  • 01-27-17

Good story, awful narrator

The narrators voice was not to my liking, very breathy and over exaggerated. Story was good though

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Pete Marsh
  • 08-12-15

It kept me entertained !

Firstly I have to say that John Grisham has always entertained me and as an American author is one of the few that I read. This was also my first listen to Frank Muller, who I will deal with first. Right from the first syllable I did not like his delivery at all, I found it very slow and lumbering, with an annoying habit of overstressing certain words and underpinning it all with a heavy accent that did little to make me want to listen. I managed to make it slightly less annoying by speeding him up which made him a lot easier on the ear. After a hundred pages or so I got used to him and by the end of the book was beginning to enjoy, but I would think hard again about "buying" anything further if he was the narrator.

Moving on to the book itself I read a couple of very critical reviews of the story and therefore started the book not expecting a lot. For my part I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the complexities of a plot trying and succeeding in laying a rich story of three rather corrupt judges engineering the perfect crime from a prison cell through to the corruption that we all know takes place but hope that doesn't sully the USA's election machine. There is some imaginative and believable detail on how that machine can be manipulated by those that have the power and influence to do so. Further it underlines the lengths that those of influence and power will go to in protecting their interests.

The story essentially runs two plots which are bought together in a very clever way and as the reader it is difficult to avoid the feeling that the story paints a rich and very sick picture of the American power machine at its very worst.

I came away from the book feeling that all those involved were equally as bad as each other, and a certain appreciation of the corruption that poisons a nations systems of government, a corruption that clearly has no boundaries. Yet worse still that corruption lies nestled within a clandestine power structure that has the financial resources and the ability to keep all of that dirty laundry under a veil of secrecy that could achieve whatever it wants without any fear of reprisal.

I started this review by suggesting that there was more than a little undeserved "negative" criticism of the book, and maybe having now read the book I might be bold enough to suggest it is nearer to the truth than many would like it to be.

All I can say is read it and come to your own conclusion.

My conclusion........ well I put my grain of belief right where it belongs!

On the beach of thoroughly enjoyable......



3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew P
  • 02-24-15

Worst Grisham book that I have read

Normally there is someone or some thing that you can get behind, this book is devoid of that. I stuck with it to the end and was disappointed further. Spend your credit elsewhere. The Woodcutter is an excellent read.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • sarahmoose2000
  • 01-21-15

Some People Get It Too Easy

A group of three judges make up the Brethren, the in-house legal team in a posh, low security prison. They are working up a new scheme where they fleece innocent gay men, but what has that got to do with the latest presidential campaign?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • William J. Wheeler
  • 03-18-18

One of his best books

Great, great read, second time of reading. Initially thought the readers voice might be an irritant, but its well read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-13-18

A darkly funnier Grisham novel

As mentioned by a few reviewers, the narrator is quite distinctive. I hadn't heard him before and it took a while to warm to his sometimes whispered, sarcastic delivery (at first I thought him reminiscent of Jim Carey in Ace Ventura!). But as the farcical elements of the story unfolds the style makes complete sense. Turns out the narrator is known as a legend in the Audiobook world!

The story itself is a little different to Grisham's usual "virtuous lawyer Vs the world" story and I really enjoyed it. I'm working through them in no particular order and this one is a highlight.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mummybee
  • 02-05-17

Good story, very good the way the two stories ran.

Disappointed with the ending, wanted some justice I think or some consequences for their actions. very well read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • mgemelia
  • 07-02-18

Brilliant

This narrator has the best voice ever and brings a touch of humour to even serious books. Fantastic story well written and well read.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Tom
  • 06-26-18

A Homophobic Romp with Teddy and the Supremes

I enjoy Grisham novels as a rule. I have a whole pile of them. Generally they take an area of the American legal system and spin a believable story of fiction where the good end happily and the bad unhappily. I like them for that. They sort of educate and I feel a little better about myself and the world by the end book, but not this time.

Here we have three imprisoned judges who are running a blackmail scam against closeted gay men. Men who have done nothing wrong, other than to conform to the lives others around them have pressured them into. Weak men, yes definitely. Evil men? No, not all. In this book these victims are seen as weak and deserving of what has happened to them. Not one redeeming feature. Not one understanding word or gesture. Not one single positive example of a happy strong gay man. Which is a shame. Because even a blind gay deaf mute could have spotted the gay guy here and saved a lot of people a lot of time. Everyone is straight. A point that is underscored on a number of occasions. If this book had been a little camper it would have least have had some redeeming features, but the closest we get to campness in this dreary diatribe is the pastel shades "the Brethren" choose to write to their victims - peach, or lavender - I ask you. What decade was Grisham thinking about when he put forward this insult to gay men. This was published in a new century yet he was reaching halfway back to the last.

What is worse is the low rent Putin character we have in Teddy. Teddy is an untouchable cripple. He is the head of the CIA.. Someone who is able to manipulate elections, oversee terrorist events and predict the future - but unfortunately unable to operate gaydar. Presumably, because everyone around him is so STRAIGHT. If there is evil here it is Teddy. Evil personified. Yet he is presented as some sort of republican hero battling through his proxy candidate against the "silly" issues such as racial equality, sexism and a woman's right to choose, as chosen by the other candidates. No we must have more guns and bombs and an unquestioning commitment to who is ever head of the intelligence agencies.

This book was written before 9/11 and before Putin came to power via a democratic vote - it has dated badly and casts the American democracy in a very poor light.