The Pelican Brief by John Grisham #BookReview

Pelican Brief.jpg

Author: John Grisham

Genre: Legal Thriller

Format: Paperback 432 pages

Release Date: 28 October 2010

Publisher: Arrow

Since I love legal thrillers so much, I decided I would like to re-read, from the start, all novels written by John Grisham. I’ve read many of his books over the years but I can’t be sure I’ve read them all and I’m a sucker for lists and doing things in order so why not start from the beginning! 


Two Supreme Court Justices are dead, their murders unsolved.

But one woman might have found the answer.

Darby Shaw is a brilliant New Orleans legal student with a sharp political mind. For her own amusement, she draws up a legal brief showing how the judges might have been murdered for political reasons, and shows it to her professor. He shows it to his friend, an FBI lawyer.

Then the professor dies in a car bomb.

And Darby realises that her brief, which pointed to a vast presidential conspiracy, might be right. Someone is intent on silencing Darby for good – somebody who will stop at nothing to preserve the secrets of the Pelican Brief…

My Thoughts

Like all John Grisham books, the plot for this book is one that is utterly unique and throughly thought out. I have read a few of his books now and one thing I always find when I’ve finished reading is that I’m blown away by the thought process that has gone into the book. This could have been a really complicated plot to follow, but John Grisham has a way of making it flow in such a way that you really don’t want to put the book down. 

My only bug bear with this book is the relationship between Darby and her professor. Darby is one of the top of her class, very conscientious about her studies and keeps herself to herself around college, yet somehow, she is involved in a romantic relationship with one of her professors. I don’t know, but for me, this point just didn’t seem to fit with the character description that was being portrayed for Darby.  

But to be fair, that is a really small bug bear considering how I felt about the rest of the book! The book really ramps up in the second half and it reminded me a lot of the author’s previous book ‘The Firm’, in that it almost evolves into a bit of a chase of cat and mouse between the ‘baddies’ and the main protagonist, in this case Darby. 

Another great legal thriller from John Grisham and another book I would throughly recommend. 

About the Author

Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi, law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel.

One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl’s father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.

Grisham lives with his wife Renee and their two children Ty and Shea. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA.

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. Fab review! I remember enjoying the film with Julia Roberts, and I think Mel Gibson was in it as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure if I’ve seen the film for this one. It’s ringing vague bells as I was reading it but I think it was a very long time ago if I did!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved the book when I read it many moons ago. I was blown away by the complexity of the story. Maybe I need to reread it!
    Fab review x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Claire. I’m pretty sure I read this many moons ago as well but it’s such a complex story I felt like I was reading it for the first time again! X

      Liked by 1 person

  3. By Chloé says:

    Great review!! I love his style

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Chloe 😊 I’m really enjoying re-reading through his books


  4. Wow what a blast from the past! It was a pretty good movie as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A few people have said that now. I must re-watch it as it’s been a few years now!


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