The Broker

John Grisham is quite well known for his series of legal novels. A few have been made into films like The Firm, and The Pelican Brief. The Broker represents a departure from his previous works.

The Broker is kind of a "thriller lite." The novel has the plot of a thriller, but it never takes itself that seriously. I consider it a refreshing change from some of the recent novels I have read.

The principal character is Joel Backman. While he is an attorney, he makes a living as a power broker (hence the title) among Washington D.C.'s elite as the lobbyist weilding the ultimate in influence- for sale at a hefty price. Backman's "wheelin' dealin'" lifestyle lands him with a prison sentence, which is unexpectedly truncated at an eleventh hour Presidential pardon for a CIA plan.

Backman then ends up laying low in Italy. He enjoys the local cafes, and struggles with learning the Italian language aided by his team of tutors. Of course, he is constantly looking over his shoulder behind him as he had made more enemies than friends in his previous powerful position.

There is a little high tech gadgetry, including the ultimate satellite surveillance system of unknown origin. The bulk of The Broker centers around Backman's experiences in Italy. Grisham's rich descriptions of Bologna go a long way to lending realism and credibility to the tale.

The Broker is the thriller equivalent of an espresso enjoyed at an outdoor cafe. Sip by sip, we, the reader, leisurely saturate our senses with a unique experience. This is the perfect book to pack on your next trip to the beach.

Overall Grade: B+

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