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The Pelican Brief

Title: The Pelican Brief
Author: John Grisham 
Pages: 450
Source: Personal
Last Word - An Engaging Read


After reading Grisham back to back – The King of Torts, The Testament, and The Confession - I thought that Grisham writes with an overwhelming spiritual bend, but The Pelican brief made me think otherwise. This legal thriller turned out to be very different for me. An engaging one though.

The chemistry between Darby Shaw, the protagonist and a law student, and Thomas Callahan, her professor, is pretty interesting. Shaw is a potent combination of beauty and brains. Killer Khamel’s portrayal as a cool, consummate murderer catches your attention. Then there are other characters that come and go by, adding their teeny-weeny bit to the story. As you keep turning the pages of the book you realize it’s a complete filmy masala – yes, a film adaptation of the book was released in 1993 starring Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington. The pace of the book is perfect. The plot is pulling. You don't have to do much to get get drawn into the story.

The assassination of two Supreme Court Justices - Rosenberg and Jensen- shakes the entire country. The President is clueless. The FBI is clueless. The judiciary is clueless. The CIA has begun a wild goose chase. No one knows anything. Anyone and everyone of some social standing is trying hard to nail the culprit. But nothing seems to fall in place. But Shaw, after some thorough research, seems to have found a lead and comes up with a brilliant brief. The brief, called the ‘Pelican brief,’ seems to point fingers at none but President’s close associate and oil tycoon Victor Mattiece. The killers get a wind of what Derby was up to and now she is on their radar. They have already killed her lover Callahan and his friend Verheek. Now it’s her turn. Shaw is on the run. She changes her appearance, her look, her hair, her hotels. But the killers are trailing her. She’s been stalked every day because the killer wants to destroy her - the creator of Pelican brief.

The turning point in the story comes when she pairs up with a Washington Post journalist Grantham Gray to nail the real murderers.

Overall a great read. And, of course, the story about the endangered Pelicans of Louisiana is intriguing, which sets you thinking whether the Pelicans are really facing extinction. This calls for some R & D rightaway.

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