I have been rather disappointed in recent novels by John Grisham, so “The Guardians” was a pleasant surprise. “The Guardians” is bang in form, and back to the strengths of his earlier novels.
The “Law is an Ass” seems an appropriate cliche. The book is based on some true events and illustrates the ease that justice is not served in the USA particularly for ethnic minorities. The novel castigates the justice system, law enforcement and the “commercial” prisons.
The John Grisham website describes the plot as follows:
In the small 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. There were no witnesses, no one with a motive. But the police soon came to suspect Quincy Miller, a young black man who was once a client of Russo’s.
Quincy was tried, convicted, and sent to prison for life. For twenty-two years he languished in prison, maintaining his innocence. But no one was listening. He had no lawyer, no advocate on the outside. In desperation, he writes a letter to Guardian Ministries, a small nonprofit run by Cullen Post, a lawyer who is also an Episcopal minister.
Guardian accepts only a few innocence cases at a time. Cullen Post travels the country fighting wrongful convictions and taking on clients forgotten by the system. With Quincy Miller, though, he gets far more than he bargained for. Powerful, ruthless people murdered Keith Russo, and they do not want Quincy Miller exonerated.
They killed one lawyer twenty-two years ago, and they will kill another without a second thought.
This is a thriller and page-turner, and the revelations above the system are quite shocking. The characters are interesting and diverse.
It is an easy read, and difficult to put down. Grisham combines fact with fiction with ease and you quickly associate with the main characters. A number of cases are introduced in the plot but they illustrate the fallibility of the justice system in the US, and are damming about law enforcement, and the prison environment.
During the 1950s and 1960s, he worked for both the Security Service (MI5) and the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). His third novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963), became an international best-seller and remains one of his best-known works. Following the success of this novel, he left MI6 to become a full-time author. His books include The Looking Glass War (1965), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1974), Smiley’s People (1979), The Little Drummer Girl (1983), The Night Manager (1993), The Tailor of Panama (1996), The Constant Gardener (2001), A Most Wanted Man (2008) and Our Kind of Traitor (2010), all of which have been adapted for film or television.