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The pelican brief [Unknown Binding]

John Grisham
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

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  • Unknown Binding
  • ASIN: B00005WLCN
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nowhere near brief enough 17 July 2013
By G. M. Sinstadt VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If it is plot you are after, The Pelican Brief has several. There is the billionaire mastermind holed up on a Caribbean Island. There is the assassin - a Master of Disguise who speaks a number of languages. There is the threat to an endangered species. There is the turf war between the FBI and the CIA. There is the White House, corrupted by a power-mad aide while the President practises his putting on the floor of the oOval Office. There is the investigative journalist writing "the biggest story of his career." There is some legal background as is common with Grisham. Oh, and there is a sexy 24-year-old with long legs. In short, every cliche bar the kitchen sink.

To make it work would have taken a better writer. Grisham seems never to revise, never to wonder if something could be better expressed. So someone asleep is "dead to the world" (more than once). Two nurses "sort of" drag a patient; the journalist "sort of" dances to the phone. People "ease into" a room, "ease through" a door, traffic "eases" downtown. And "rather unique" is meaningless; there are no fractions of uniqueness.

Characterisation is one dimensional and sometimes plain unbelievable: the girl vacillates between being immobilised by fear and making inordinately detailed plans for her escape - only to put off discussing them in one instance until she had had "a bite to eat." On another occasion "there was not a second to lose." And for the nice girl she is portrayed as the phrase "spill my guts" sits uncomfortably.

This is a very long, tedious book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Legal Thriller without the thrills 8 Feb 2013

I was disappointed with this overall and feel that the 6 out of 10 is slightly generous. The previous Grisham novel I have read, "The Partner", was a solid page turner whereas this one never really got going. I couldn't get into the main story and it felt like Grisham was trying to keep a fast pace and glossed over a couple of areas which could have been fleshed out more and created a better overall read.

The thing that annoyed me first was the obsession Grisham had with drumming home the fact that Darby was a good looking, young, smart female. I got it the first time she was described; I didn't need every male character to then mention how stunning she was. Hit men who are paid to hunt her down and kill her are busy oohing and aahing at her good looks. Do the bad guys only hire hit men who think with the wrong kind of gun? Even the guys who are in grave danger go on about it. Give it a rest!

I do have my qualms with this book and whilst it never got flowing as I expected there were some good ideas overall. But once you understood the conspiracy and what she wrote in the brief, there were over a 100 pages left it took a little nose dive in pacing and interest. The characters weren't great either so they couldn't keep the story going at the end. Talking of endings, this one was rubbish. I genuinely wanted to throw the book on the floor when reading the last chapter.

Obviously I wasn't impressed but I will read more from this author and put this one down as a misunderstanding. I much prefer the Mickey Haller series by Michael Connolley and would recommend them to anyone looking for a good legal thriller but I have a few more of Grisham's novels lined up and hoping he can supply me with a good thriller down the line.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Time Filler 15 May 2008
The Pelican Brief is a good time filler.

I took four sessions to finish the 420-odd pages, and didn't feel pressed for time - it is a rapid read.

The plot is sort of realistic in that you can imagine someone wanting to bump off a couple of American Supreme Court justices to change the `political' make-up of the Supreme court - but the book does stretch credibility a little with the descriptions and personalities of both the victims and their executioner - it seemed as though Gresham had gone through a check list of `most likely to make a best seller' qualities and selected them for inclusion.

The same too with his heroine, Darby Shaw, who is a least female and intelligent - more intelligent than most of the other characters in the book. However, she never really escapes the cliché of female as victim in need of a good man to support her. Why did she have to be a blond bombshell? Why couldn't she have been short, stumpy even, and ugly? Why does the book have to end in such a `happy ever after' way on a beach?

One answer is the sales figures - and film rights.

All the way through I felt I was getting exactly what I wanted - no surprise other than a needed plot twist, no truly ambiguous character - just good guy and bad guy (and a very obvious - you got it wrong, good guy portrayed as bad).

And some very film-able locations - including Washington, New York and a pre-deluge New Orleans.

It occupied me pleasantly enough, but I ended with a - that's it? and so what? Turned the light off, and slept well.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but vaguely dissatisfying 24 April 2002
By A Customer
This was my first John Grisham novel, and while it won't deter me from reading any of his other works, I'm not exactly going to be jumping on his bandwagon either. The premise of the story is simple enough. A brilliant young legal student writes her own theory about who murdered two Supreme Court judges and why. What she doesn't realise is that her theories are actually bang on target, and before long, the bad guys are out to get her.
For the first two thirds of the novel, I couldn't put it down. It was a bona fide page turner, but as more and more of the story unfolded, I couldn't help but feel that Grisham was somehow cheating me out of a better novel. The vast majority of the characters we meet in the book have already read the contents of Darby's brief, but Grisham decides to leave the reader completely in the dark until the last act. It reeks of convenient plot device : here we have twenty odd characters wandering around with full knowledge of The Brief, and not one of them feels the need to talk about its contents, just so Darby can have her big Narrative Moment several hundred pages into the book. I haven't seen the film, but it doesn't take much thinking to know how Julia Roberts must have played it!
And it's pretty much downhill from there. With the big mystery out of the way, the novel devolves into the usual scenarios. Will the bad guys find Darby ? Will she expose the villains ? Will she survive ? It doesn't take a genius to work it out, and the continual cat-and-mouse chases are fairly standard, been-there-done-that, thriller fare.
The last hundred or so pages of the novel are padded out beyond belief. I kept waiting for something more to happen, and when it didn't, I wondered why Grisham didn't just wrap them up into one small chapter.
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