Last Updated on June 25, 2020
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John Grisham is a popular writer best known for his legal thrillers. His books are well-known and well-received all across the globe, and have been translated into 42 different languages!
In this article, we’ll discuss the 13 best books penned by this writer. Given the sheer amount of novels written by Grisham, it’s not an easy endeavor! We hope that this provides you with a good starting point to his books before diving into the rest of the literature this author has to offer.
1. The Partner (By John Grisham)
The Partner is, without a doubt, Grisham’s best book to date.
It tells the story of a Mississippi lawyer who decides to fake his death and steal over $90 million dollars. He is eventually caught and brought back from Brazil, where he was hiding and enjoying a simple lifestyle, without any signs that he had used the fortune he had stolen.
This is Grisham’s eight novel, and his growth as a writer definitely shows in the narrative. The Partner’s ending is incredibly well regarded and is widely considered the best among this author’s long bibliography.
It seems that Grisham might consider this book his masterpiece as well since he mentions it often during interviews.
Review: The Partner has been praised for keeping the reader’s attention from cover to cover. The reader never seems to fully know which character to trust, and it’s hard to understand what’s really going on until the very ending. This is a great quality when it comes to thrillers.
- Author: John Grisham is an American author, and has also dabbled in politics and activism. He graduated from Mississippi State University with a law degree and practiced as a lawyer for almost a decade before settling for his writing career full-time. Grisham published his first book in 1989. He is among the best-selling authors of his generation. As of the publishing of this article, he is one of the only three authors to have sold two million copies on a first printing. The other two are Tom Clancy and J. K. Rowling.
- Pages: 412
- Publisher: Doubleday (1997)
2. The firm (By John Grisham)
Though Grisham’s first published book, A time to kill, was truly great, it didn’t enjoy real popularity till later on. The firm, instead, was well-received from the get-go. This is the book that catapulted his writing career. It was even adapted into an incredibly popular movie, which starred Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman.
The firm tells the story of a young attorney who begins working at a large law firm. He soon comes to realize that behind closed doors, shady businesses are being conducted.
Review: Though The Firm is one of Grisham’s best titles to date, it also has a few inconsistencies that keep it from the number 1 position.
The eighty last pages are a bit superficial, not really doing much for the reader. The ending might be a bit too polished as well, and this has earned Grisham a few critiques from his readers.
That being said, it’s a wholly entertaining book, and Mitch McDeere remains among Grisham’s most fascinating characters.
- Pages: 432
- Publisher: Random House (1991)
3. The rainmaker (By John Grisham)
It’s not a big surprise that The rainmaker also centers around a lawyer’s life and the drama that he goes through. He is an underdog, taking on a Goliath-type adversary. One of the most peculiar aspects that differentiate it from the rest of Grisham’s work is that it’s almost entirely written in the present tense. It even inspired a well-known movie, featuring Matt Damon as Rudy Baylor, the novel’s main character.
Review: It’s truly one of Grisham’s best books, and should be one of the first novels to pick up when searching for the most entertaining legal dramas of the century. Some consider the first part of the story is weaker than the second one. So if you find yourself struggling to reach the midsection of the story, know that it’s worth the effort.
- Pages: 434
- Publisher: Doubleday (1995)
4. The Summons (By John Grisham)
The Summons is filled with lawyers, much like many other of Grisham’s books. A prestigious judge requests his two sons to meet him at his state. There is something different about the patriarch of the family, however, and when he dies, he leaves his eldest son with a terrible secret that could destroy everything he knows.
Review: Though this novel’s plot is simple and to-the-point, it’s still hard putting it down till the very end. It’s a fascinating novel that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat till the very last page. So if you are satisfied with quick and entertaining thrills in lieu of a complex story, this is the right book for you!
- Pages: 384
- Publisher: Dell (2012)
5. A painted house (By John Grisham)
A painted house tells the story of a young man and his childhood in an Arkansas farm back in the 50s. It grants the audience a detailed and beautiful peek into the life of this family, which is said to have been inspired by Grisham’s own past. It’s a stunning coming-of-age story that allows the reader to really connect with the characters.
Review: Though this is the first non-legal book Grisham ever published, it’s truly worth his reader’s time. It’s a slow-paced novel filled with beautiful descriptions. That being said, it might not be legal thriller fans’ particular cup of tea.
- Pages: 388
- Publisher: Doubleday (2001)
6. The Testament (By John Grisham)
The testament goes back and forth between two different storylines and manages to keep the readers at the edge of their seats until the very end. It’s praised for offering one of Grisham’s best opening chapters. It throws several clever plot twists before offering its audience a surprise ending no one will see coming.
Review: A truly interesting read, The testament jumps from the first-person narrative to the third-person in merely 3 chapters. It’s a fascinating book that will keep the reader pleased and eager to discover what the plot has in store for them. Some people have criticized it for being too opinionated and trying to sway the reader to agree with Grisham’s view of society and wealth.
- Pages: 560
- Publisher: Dell (2011)
7. The guardians (By John Grisham)
Grisham has been a member of the Innocence Project for many years. This gives him a unique perspective into the many cases of wrongful convictions around the country. He uses these experiences as inspiration for The guardians. The main character in this novel is a lawyer who travels around the country trying to dispute questionable convictions. It’s a page-turner with a moral compass that remains fun throughout and Cullen Post is one of the author’s more entertaining protagonists.
Review: The guardians is one of Grisham’s most recent novels, and it definitely shows how his writing style has evolved over the years. It’s a fascinating read and a real page-turner. That being said, it includes a very clear moral compass and some readers didn’t seem to appreciate the moral behind the story.
- Pages: 384
- Publisher: Doubleday (2019)
8. The Street Lawyer (By John Grisham)
This novel tells the story of a wealthy lawyer who decides to quit his job at a big firm in order to help those who wouldn’t usually be able to afford his services. It all begins when a homeless man takes 9 lawyers hostage, and this event completely changes the protagonist’s view of his life and how he deals with others. This will be the beginning of a long and fascinating journey you won’t want to miss!
Review: This novel is one of many books in which Grisham tries to teach the reader a valuable lesson, but it doesn’t deter him from following a fascinating story. It’s also done in a more subtle tone than in other of his books, which is a positive change of pace.
- Pages: 448
- Publisher: Dell (2010)
9. The Pelican Brief (By John Grisham)
The Pelican Brief begins with two brutal murders, so from the get-go, it’s clear that Grisham is diving straight into the thriller territory. The main character happens to be a young law school student that manages to outdo FBI at every turn. Unrealistic? Sure. Entertaining? You bet!
Review: The Pelican Brief is particularly fantastical, and not always in the good sense of the world. It’s usually a bit over-the-top, and most readers can’t ignore the feelings of disbelief when being told that a law student is smarter than a powerful villain and the FBI at the same time. That being said, its fast-paced narrative and fascinating details make it an impossible-to-miss story!
- Pages: 498
- Publisher: Dell (2010)
John Grisham is the undisputed king of legal thrillers. His books are considered fascinating page-turners and are usually filled with all kinds of twists and turns that keep the readers on the edge of their seats. These are just a peek into his rather long bibliography, so don’t be afraid to explore beyond these 9 amazing books. You definitely won’t regret it!
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