The Pelican Brief, by John Grisham

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Two Supreme Court justices have been assassinated and a young law student named Darby who prepares a legal brief about a “fictional” assassination, but it rings too true and makes its way to the FBI, CIA, and even the White House. She finds that she is being targeted by the killer and her lover, a constitutional-law professor, is blown up in a car-bomb attack that was meant for Darby.  She then realizes for certain that she had been correct in her brief and goes underground. The only person she can trust is a journalist who helps her figure out what is happening. They soon see a conspiracy involving people in the government that includes the President and his Chief of Staff who want to cover up the White House's connection to this with the coming President's re-election plans.

Derby's runs but the web of killers closes on her. She continues trying to help Washington Post reporter Gray Grantham get the goods on the baddies in a news-break bigger than Watergate.

Grisham had a challenge with the success of his first two legal suspense thrillers, A Time to Kill and The Firm but The Pelican Brief published in 1992 was a success and Grisham’s special genre became expected.

Quotes From The Book

What kind of name is Siler-Spence? I mean, what's wrong with these women who use hyphens? What if her name was Skowinski and she married a guy named Levondowski? Would her little liberated soul insist she go through life as F.Gwendolin Skowinski- Levondowski?”

“He was neutral on prayer, skeptical of free speech, sympathetic to tax protestors, indifferent to Indians, afraid of blacks, tough on pornographers, soft on criminals, and fairly consistent in his protection of the environment”

Quotes by John Grisham

I can't change overnight into a serious literary author. You can't compare apples to oranges. William Faulkner was a great literary genius. I am not.

I don't want to force my politics on my readers.


"In life, finding a voice is speaking and living the truth. Each of you is an original. Each of you has a distinctive voice. When you find it, your story will be told. You will be heard."


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The Pelican Brief: A Novel
By John Grisham