• The Guardians

  • A Novel
  • By: John Grisham
  • Narrated by: Michael Beck
  • Length: 11 hrs and 50 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (31,035 ratings)

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The Guardians  By  cover art

The Guardians

By: John Grisham
Narrated by: Michael Beck
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Publisher's summary

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • A classic legal thriller—with a twist. • "A suspenseful thriller mixed with powerful themes such as false incarceration, the death penalty and how the legal system shows prejudice.” —Associated Press

In the small Florida town of Seabrook, a young lawyer named Keith Russo was shot dead at his desk as he worked late one night. The killer left no clues. There were no witnesses, no one with a motive. But the police soon came to suspect Quincy Miller, a young Black man who was once a client of Russo’s. 

Quincy was tried, convicted, and sent to prison for life. For twenty-two years he languished in prison, maintaining his innocence. But no one was listening. He had no lawyer, no advocate on the outside. In desperation, he writes a letter to Guardian Ministries, a small nonprofit run by Cullen Post, a lawyer who is also an Episcopal minister.

Guardian accepts only a few innocence cases at a time. Cullen Post travels the country fighting wrongful convictions and taking on clients forgotten by the system. With Quincy Miller, though, he gets far more than he bargained for. Powerful, ruthless people murdered Keith Russo, and they do not want Quincy Miller exonerated.

They killed one lawyer twenty-two years ago, and they will kill another without a second thought.

Don’t miss John Grisham’s new book, THE EXCHANGE: AFTER THE FIRM, coming soon!

©2019 John Grisham (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

“Terrific…affecting…Grisham has done it again. Such creative longevity is not that unusual in the suspense genre, but what is rare is Grisham’s feat of keeping up the pace of producing, on average, a novel a year without a notable diminishment of ingenuity or literary quality.”—Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post

“Grisham again delivers a suspenseful thriller mixed with powerful themes such as false incarceration, the death penalty and how the legal system shows prejudice. The Guardian team of characters is first-rate.”– Associated Press

“With his début, 1989’s A Time to Kill, Grisham established himself as a skilled storyteller, a writer who can nimbly portray complex characters who overcome their fears and flaws to pursue justice.  Thirty years later, his authorial prowess glows again in this riveting tale.”—Fredericksburg Free Lance Star

What listeners say about The Guardians

Average customer ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Is Grisham getting serious about writing again?

I became a fan of John Grisham's legal thrillers with the 1989 publication of A Time to Kill. He followed that with 10 more 5 star thrillers. Then he seemed to become satisfied to rest on his laurels for almost two decades of releasing mostly third rate literary garbage. Now as he enters his dotage the release of The Guardians indicates that maybe he is finally getting serious about writing good novels again. Grisham has lived and prospered for nearly two decades of inferior novels based on a reputation he earned during the first decade of his writing career. I hope he is back to being the author he was during the 1990s. Michael Beck's narration is wonderful.

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575 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Great Story

This is an “issues” novel about a disillusioned attorney, Cullen Post, who has become an Episcopal priest. Cullen now volunteers as an attorney for a non-profit Innocence project. They are attempting to free a prisoner who was wrongfully convicted.

The book is well written. The plot twists and turns and the characters are interesting. Grisham starts the suspense immediately and continues to build it throughout the story. The book was entertaining as well as informative. It is a quick easy read.

The book is eleven hours and fifty minutes. Michael Beck does a good job narrating the book. He is an actor and audiobook narrator. Beck has narrated a number of John Grisham’s books.

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214 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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Michael Beck is the master.

Michael Beck is the best narrator for Grisham stories. Only he can capture the essence Grisham's characters and environments. Its a pleasure to have him back. Another great story by the legal master.

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175 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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Welcome back, Grisham!

This is the Grisham I remember - writing about well-fleshed out characters you love, characters you love to hate. It has a great story line about the value of a human life and social injustice (although the one black cop he writes about is the only kind, caring, and trustworthy police office, and all the bad cops are white - a little slanted, wouldn't you say?). The main character is someone you'd love to know and call "friend", although he seems to become a personal friend in this book. Michael Beck is an outlandishly good reader - how he keeps the multiple characters' voices straight and their accents believable, I have no idea.

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158 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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Too preachy throughout

The Guardians is a new story but in terms of theme, concept and plot line, to me, its just a continuation or alternate story line of Grisham's The Confession. The novel is way too preachy throughout the story, constantly restating the same phrases, statements and position of anti death penalty and that the justice system is flawed and corrupt. Okay, we get it. But it is endlessly preaching, hitting us over the head, again and gain. Made it difficult to get through or enjoy the novel. And listening on audible, it made it more frustrating because one could not easily skip the repeated preaching narratives (not seeing the text and not knowing how far to skip ahead). And as to the story itself, without particulars, so as not to post any spoilers, the events driving the conclusion were way too convenient and contrived. Did not enjoy this story. I listened to the novel via audible -- aside from the novel itself, narrator Michael Beck is terrific; his voice, cadence, inflections, etc., are always well done.

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83 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Grisham at his best.

Enthralling prose masterfully written by a master of lawyerly tales. Michael Beck is by far a master of southern accents with a voice range that I have yet heard matched by any other narrator. From gentlemanly southern trial lawyer, to gruff blackwoods hillbilly, to sweet sothern belle's, Beck covers the gambit like no other. This was one that I found myself sitting in the car listening to long after the trip was done.

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76 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Deja vu

I bought this based on the enthusiastic reviews and my love of Grisham. I often drive cross country and an engrossing book is a must have. I preordered this book with my current 16 hour drive in mind. I am three hours into this book and not feeling the love. Another story about innocent death row inmates and a lawyer dedicated to saving them. I used to love the fresh plot twists of Grisham novels. This is just sad and tired. Maybe something different and interesting will happen in the next eight hours. Meanwhile, I’ll have to keep switching to the radio to keep from nodding off as I’m driving.

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63 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved it!

As always, loved this book. Such an amazing author. He Does not disappoint with this one.

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49 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Old School Grisham

Very solid compelling characters, a well told story and lots to ponder about history and reality of our justice and penal system.

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48 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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skip it!

seriously boring. used to love grisham, but this was so formulaic. the narrator made any sections that MAY have been exciting into a monotone derge.

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30 people found this helpful