GUARDIANS, John Grisham

A Grisham journey is always an enjoyable trip. The Guardians is another one of his pleasant rides.


In the small north Florida town of Seabrook, a young lawyer named Keith Russo was shot dead at his desk as he worked late one night. The killer left no clues behind. There were no witnesses, no real suspects, no one with a motive. The police soon settled on Quincy Miller, a young black man who was once a client of Russo’s.

Quincy was framed, convicted, and sent to prison for life. For twenty-two years he languished in prison with no lawyer, no advocate on the outside. Then he wrote a letter to Guardian Ministries, a small innocence group founded by a lawyer/minister named Cullen Post.

Guardian handles only a few innocence cases at a time, and Post is its only investigator. He travels the South fighting wrongful convictions and taking cases no one else will touch. With Quincy Miller, though, he gets far more than he bargained for. Powerful, ruthless people murdered Keith Russo, and they do not want Quincy exonerated.

They killed one lawyer twenty-two years ago, and they will kill another one without a second thought.

Richard writes Grisham delivers unfailingly. Whatever he writes, it is always very polished, engaging and entertaining. He is a master of his craft and unlike other writers who once they have reached their creative plateau and their economic power is such that their demands are the law at their publishing house, Grisham to still writes his own material. No team of college kids or wannabe writers parroting his style, his prose, his phrasing just so the publisher can increase revenues.

The Guardians delivers on more levels than just polished prose. It has an interesting plot, very current and likely discussed at many dinner tables whenever news of another criminal sentencing is broadcast on the news. The dialogue suits the characters and the exchanges, the colorful, quixotic but plausible cast members.

Grisham takes his readers on a ride with every book. The descriptive, panoramic narratives are so attractive, a small town, a country estate, a vacation resort, all painted in living, primary colour from his broad spectrum of his verbal prism of many hues. Then he takes you down the road of suspense, written in terse, short bursts that nearly leave you breathless from the built-up tension and anxiety. He skirts the verbal roadway’s edge precariously close to horror of skidding off his intended path. But Grisham is the driver with the hands of a Formula 1 racing pilot, never failing, always in full control.

The Guardians plays with its reader. Teases and pinches as if teasing pick up stix, inching the plot along, delicately but relentlessly forward, page after page, from chapter end to chapter start. No mile makers of boredom when Grisham is driving, and not in this book either. The tension develops leaving the reader rushing eagerly to the next paragraph, the next page. What’s next? Read on.

And to top off the ride, Grisham keeps the reader guessing, often wrongly, as to what is coming next. Readers of court room genre may think they can predict Grisham. Never. He fools us all, every page.

A good read that will earn kudos from many readers. The Guardians may not reach the pinnacle of New York Times bestsellers, and maybe it shouldn’t. But again, Grisham never disappoints and he doesn’t with The Guardians.

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