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PSIPOOK | books | the broker, john grisham

story broker
Title: The Broker
Author: John Grisham
Publisher: Dell
Price: ¥1,092
ISBN: 0-440-29643-9

The Broker is a bit of a departure for John Grisham and his fans. He has got out of the courtroom and the world of lawyers and moved out of his beloved southern US. In fact he has moved out of the US entirely and located his latest offering in Italy. He has not moved away from his familiar territory of making a good, solid read. The current novel is a politics-and-espionage thriller that has all the pace and fun of any of his other works.

The story kicks off with a failed president of the US in his last hours in office. He is reviewing requests for the traditional outgoing presidential pardons. One name is shoved under his nose by the CIA. It is not that the convict deserves pardon, it is that they need him for a terribly important operation. The prez agrees and Joel Backman is whisked from confinement to a new life and identity in Italy, all paid for and arranged by Uncle Sam. It sounds like a good deal, but you wouldn’t want to be Backman. No way.

Backman is a former Washington lobbyist who got in deep on the surreptitious sale of a snazzy satellite system to persons unknown and the CIA, having learned a thing or two from Donald Rumsfeld, want their unknowns known. They figure that if they leak the details of Backman’s new identity and location to the prime suspects — Saudi Arabia, Israel, Russia, China — someone will send a hit man round to rub him out, as in tidying up loose ends. Incidentally, we find the premise in a bit of pain here, because if Blackman was killed, would the CIA necessarily know who did it? And how do they know the satellite purchasers really don’t like loose ends? It doesn’t matter. Grisham makes us believe all of it.

Kansai Scene, September 2005

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By the way, have you read Chris Page's novel Weed? It really is rather fantastic.

Words of praise for Weed from a publisher in London.

"... it’s really witty and very strong ... I would compare the writing to Robert Rankin, or a really satirically biting Tom Sharpe, and will say again that I’m really impressed by it"



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