“The Pelican Brief” by John Grisham, a Book Review

I read two of John Grisham’s fictions recently, “The Racketeer” and “The Litigators”. Then TIME presented a list of 12 All-time Great Summer Reads. “The Pelican Brief” by John Grisham published in 1992 was in that list. Therefore, I picked up a copy and read the 436-page novel. It took me four days to complete it. The chase to know how the story ends started after I was in the middle of the book.

The story has elements of murders by professional hire, conspiracy at high places including the White House, mysteries of several individuals appearing at different times, the suspense of who was giving orders for a string of killings, the motives behind them, and how all the players fitted in.

Two Supreme Court Justices were murdered at the start. The President, his chief of staff, the FBI, and the CIA wanted to get to the bottom of these murders. They were not the only people interested in knowing. A law student, Miss Darby Shaw, and her Law Professor were also curious and Darby did some researching and came up with a brief of the likely people interested in seeing both Justices dead. This brief is known as The Pelican Brief and was brought to the attention of the President. This started the strings of further killings and chasing Darby around to silence her. At this time, an investigative reporter of Washington Post, Gray Grantham came into the picture to chase for the story. Both Darby and Gray became partners and their lives were in constant danger.

John Grisham kept me suspended throughout and even when we eventually knew who was the mastermind some three-quarter way into the book, I was still spell-bounded as to how Gray was going to get proof and to break the story in Washington Post. The news was going to be so huge as it implicated the highest office of the US Administration. The ugly side of American politics came through and I saw the internal workings of political maneuvering as no different from now.

It was a great story without any loophole. Events fell into place and were explained to remove lingering doubts as I read the book. All were revealed to my satisfaction. TIME was correct in listing this book as a great summer read.

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