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Publisher's Summary

In his final hours in the Oval Office, the outgoing President grants a controversial last-minute pardon to Joel Backman, a notorious Washington power broker who has spent the last six years hidden away in a federal prison. What no one knows is that the President issues the pardon only after receiving enormous pressure from the CIA. It seems Backman, in his power broker heyday, may have obtained secrets that compromise the world's most sophisticated satellite surveillance system.

Backman is quietly smuggled out of the country in a military cargo plane, given a new name, a new identity, and a new home in Italy. Eventually, after he has settled into his new life, the CIA will leak his whereabouts to the Israelis, the Russians, the Chinese, and the Saudis. Then the CIA will do what it does best: sit back and watch. The question is not whether Backman will survive, there is no chance of that. The question the CIA needs answered is, who will kill him?

©2004 Belfry Holdings, Inc (P)2005 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"The spy-versus-spy intrigue is well constructed and fast paced." (The New York Times Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • User33
  • Sacramento, CA
  • 01-13-05

Best Grisham to date!

I have listened to or read every Grisham book available and I like them all. Somehow the author manages to make the listener get giddy with excitement about the most menial tasks. This book is no exception, the story deviates slightly from the usual 'main character is a lawyer' premise but does so for the better. This is by far the most addictive Grisham title to date.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Better than Most

This Grisham book was better than most. Grisham again returns to the same themes that made his other books sell: lawyers are rotten people. He takes it and runs with another theme: The CIA are rotten people. Grisham puts you in the position of cheering for the criminal class underdog lawyer, and you still feel good about it. It is an enjoyable listen, and I recommend it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Entertaining--and an Italian travelogue as a bonus

It's not LeCarre, but it's good spy stuff. The Italian settings, food, and language lessons all made me want to go.

It's a good read, and well narrated.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great read, one of Grisham's best!

I have read all of John Grisham's books and a only a few have been disappointing..well this is not one of them. The main character is extremely well written and one wonders if Grisham based it on someone he knew. The setting is Italy with all the color and flavor one can imagine.
We follow the main character as he tries not only to outwit the CIA but also to stay alive when all parties concerned wish him dead. Like the character in "The Street Lawyer" this guy is out on a limb and everyone he meets has a saw in their hands!
Very fast paced and entertaining.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Reg
  • Denver, CO, USA
  • 04-10-05

Grisham Great book

Great Story, I could not put it down.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

The Broker Didn't Disappoint..

Where does The Broker rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This was my 2nd audiobook, it was shorter then the first, and took a little time to get to the action. It was a good book non the less.

What did you like best about this story?

It was suspenseful, and had me looking over my shoulder thinking out loud "Don't open the door"..

What does Dennis Boutsikaris bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

This is my 2nd book with Dennis Boutsikaris, great narrator and part of the reason I chose this book. He does an outstanding performance, and continues to peak my interest in audiobooks.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Towards the end of the book, the time the "Broker" spent with his family.

  • Overall

The Broker

It is very good and a joy to listen. John Grisham writes great books and they never cease to entertain you.

  • Overall
  • Laurin
  • Washington, DC, USA
  • 10-12-05

Tedious to listen to

I have enjoyed many of Grisham's books over the years, but not this one. I found the plot to be dull and tedious. The Italian-English translation dialogue within is especially painful to endure. Someone gave me a hardcopy of the book while I was listening to the audio and I found the book much easier to bear than the audio because I could skim and skip the translations and other tedious parts. If you insist on reading this book, I would go for the hardcopy over the audio.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A Good Book

This is a good book. The main character is wonderful, and the story is a great description of Italy. You begin to understand the main character and understand his frustrations. The unabridged book is slow at times, but is still very good. I am sure the abridged book is wonderful, but I have not heard/read it - - yet.

  • Overall
  • Barbara
  • Granite Bay, CA, USA
  • 07-16-05

rotten ending

we have the abridged version. the ending was a big disappointment. we felt like the story was just getting good and it ended.

maybe the unabridged version has a more detailed ending