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The Street Lawyer [Kindle Edition]

John Grisham
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,315 customer reviews)

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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

He gave up the money.  He gave up the power.  Now all he has left is the law.

Michael Brock is billing the hours, making the money, rushing relentlessly to the top of Drake & Sweeney, a giant D.C. law firm.  One step away from partnership, Michael has it all.  Then, in an instant, it all comes undone.

A homeless man takes nine lawyers hostage in the firm's plush offices.  When it is all over, the man's blood is splattered on Michael's face--and suddenly Michael is willing to do the unthinkable.  Rediscovering a conscience he lost long ago, Michael is leaving the big time for the streets where his attacker once lived--and where society's powerless need an advocate for justice.

But there's one break Michael can't make: from a secret that has floated up from the depths of Drake & Sweeney, from a confidential file that is now in Michael's hands, and from a conspiracy that has already taken lives.  Now Michael's former partners are about to become his bitter enemies.  Because to them, Michael Brock is the most dangerous man on the streets....


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

John Grisham is back with his latest courtroom conundrum, The Street Lawyer. This time the lord of legal thrillers dives deep into the world of the homeless, particularly their barely audible legal voice in a world dominated by large, all-powerful law firms. Our hero, Michael Brock, is on the fast track to partnership at D.C.'s premier law firm, Sweeny & Drake. His dream of someday raking in a million-plus a year is finally within reach. Nothing can stop him, not even 90-hour workweeks and a failing marriage--until he meets DeVon Hardy, a.k.a. "Mister," a Vietnam vet with a grudge against his landlord--and a few lawyers to fry. Hardy, with no clear motive, takes Brock and eight of his colleagues hostage in a boardroom, demanding their tax returns and interrogating them with a conviction that would have put perpetrators of the Spanish Inquisition to shame. Hardy, a man of few words and a lot of ammunition, mumbles cryptically, "Who are the evictors?" as he points a .44 automatic within inches of Brock's face. The violent outcome of the hostage situation triggers an abrupt soul-searching for the young lawyer, and Hardy's mysterious question continues to haunt him. Brock learns that Hardy had been in and out of homeless shelters most of his life, but he had recently begun paying rent in a rundown building; that means he has legal recourse when a big money-making outfit such as Sweeny & Drake boots him with no warning. When Brock realizes that his profession caters to the morally challenged, he sets out on an aimless search through the dicier side of D.C., ending up at the 14th Street Legal Clinic. The clinic's director, a gargantuan man named Mordecai Green, woos Brock to the clinic with a $90,000 cut in pay and the chance to redeem his soul. Brock takes it--and some of the story's credibility along with it; it's hard to believe that a Yale graduate who sacrificed everything--including his marriage--to succeed in the legal profession would quickly jump at the opportunity for low-paying, charitable work. However, Brock's search for corruption in the swanky upper echelons of Sweeny & Drake (via the toughest streets of D.C.) is filled with colorful characters and realistic, gritty descriptions. In the The Street Lawyer, Grisham once again defends the voiceless and powerless. In the words of Mordecai Green, "That's justice, Michael. That's what street law is all about. Dignity."

From Publishers Weekly

America's most popular author is arguably its most popular crusader as well, tilting his pen against myriad targets, including big law (The Firm, etc.), big tobacco (The Runaway Jury), big insurance (The Rainmaker) and now, in perhaps his sweetest, shortest novel, against anyone, big or little, who treats the homeless as less than human. The expected powerhouse opening involves the hostage-taking?by an armed, homeless man who calls himself Mister?of nine attorneys of a huge law firm headquartered in D.C. Among the nine is narrator Michael Brock, an antitrust lawyer who receives a faceful of blood when a police sniper blows away Mister's head. "I'm alive! I'm alive," Michael cries like Ebenezer Scrooge, but, like Scrooge, this greedy hotshot is ripe for a moral awakening. The next day, Michael visits the shabby offices of Mister's attorney, Mordecai Green, who explains that Mister and others had been illegally evicted from makeshift housing on orders from a real-estate development company represented by Michael's firm. Inspired by Green and shaken by his firm's complicity, Michael volunteers at a homeless shelter. When a family he meets there dies on the street, and turns out to have been among the evictees, Michael quits his job, goes to work for Green and, using as evidence a file he steals from the firm, aims to sue his former employer on behalf of the evictees. In turn, the firm places Michael in its crosshairs, pressuring him to give up the file through legal maneuvers, having him arrested and hints of darker means. The cat-and-mouse between Michael and the firm is vintage Grisham, intricately plotted, but the emphasis in this smoothly told, baldly manipulative tale is less on action and suspense, which are moderate, than on Michael's change of heart and moving exploration of the world of the homeless. Dickens would be well pleased, and so will Grisham's fans. 2.8 million first printing.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1220 KB
  • Print Length: 466 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B003IDMUTU
  • Publisher: Dell; Reprint edition (March 9, 2010)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003B02O50
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,002 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grisham Heads For Burbank (Again) December 7, 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Was this written in a mansion?
Another enjoyable quick read by Grisham. The scenario is predictable and the general themes are known to the reader by page 30. And with Grish that's OK. Michael Brock is a young lawyer living in Georgetown and working for the prestigious law firm of Drake & Sweeney: the ambitious climb up the corporate law firm ladder, a high income, a wife he never sees in an unhappy dysfunctional marriage and 80 hour work-weeks, are broken up by martini lunches billed to clients. Grisham again presents the "lawyerly atmosphere," with layman descriptions of legalese and strategies, in an interesting and intriguing way as the story unfolds. The descriptions of the District of Columbia are true-to-the-heart, and bring you to its Victorian townhouses, bad parts of town, popular night-spots, "lettered" streets, and DC's restaurants and cafes.
Even though he's a lawyer who lives in D.C., Brock goes through a personal, professional, and spritual metamorphosis after a traumatic incident--but all in 32 days? Now, Acknowledging a boring existence in life, through introspection, he has a series of conscious-raising revelations as the result of event.
He then ventures out to fight for the needy. Those who don't have a voice. Those who have multiple self-induced problems, make mistakes in life, and screw-up on a regular basis. Illegitimate children, dependence on drugs and the habitual inability to keep a job: these are the people who are the victims. And, these are victims who need justice. These people need a voice in society for theirs' is muted in the mahogany and oak halls of justice. And, Brock will be the man: risking his freedom, life, high income, career, and a certain future as a million-dollar-partner in his law firm that he leaves.
He chucks it.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I expected better August 4, 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
My first Grisham novel was The Testament, so I walked into this novel, expecting more of the same. Unfortunately that expectation was mis-placed.

The concept was good, and the topic was riveting. The problem, however, lay in the narrative. The character of Michael Brock was almost wishy-washy. I couldn't identify with him - in fact I related and liked far better the character of Mordecai Green, Director of the 14th Street Legal Clinic which Brock starts working for.

The novel is billed, essentially, as a thriller. However it didn't have the feel of a thriller. Sure, I was intrigued by the developments, however I wasn't feverishly turning the pages at 3am to finish it.

In a way, I'm disappointed. The topic is hot, and one deserving of much attention in this, the richest nation of the world. I often wonder how many millions are given to foreign nations, while thousands of its citizens sleep on our streets, including children? A disturbing thought.

I'm glad that Grisham brought it to our attention, but felt that he could have done so much more with the material. It's an enjoyable read, don't get me wrong, but not Grisham at his best.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Point well taken July 5, 2006
Format:Hardcover
Many people say this book was not Grisham's best, but I do believe they missed his point of the story. This book actually moved me to the awareness of the homeless. Most of us sit in a comfortable chair reading and say, "Entertain me now!" I do highly doubt that an attorney would leave his prized job to do what he did, but it is possible. Some would say to stay put with the firm and use that income to save the homeless. In this story, Michael Brock decides to hit the pavement, dodge personal attacks on him and make a difference in D.C. This book moved me to be aware of the less fortunate in my own community, and I will do more to help others who need it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Grisham's Best May 13, 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
John Grisham takes the lawyer who is hungry to remember his conscience on a ride worth experiencing in Street Lawyer. Although the author consistently denies writing his legal thrillers with a social motive in mind, me thinks he doth protest a bit too much. You cannot read this book and remain comfortably barricaded on the upper floors of some skyscraper, awaiting the next billable hour report. Grisham's characters clearly show that The Law Hurts, and does so deliberately blind to the consequences of actions taken by those who are "just doing their jobs." As the novel unfolds, the reader cannot help but question whether professional set apart for special recognition and privilege in our society ought ever be able to say, "I was just doing my job." The people for whom the law exists are out there on the street, waiting for you to remember why you went to law school in the first place. The pace and action are more plausible than most outside the bar will think - and hopefully Grisham's treatment of homelessness and social justice will impel more than a few within the bar to do more than think. The book is a must read for the lawyer who still can recall his or her calling, and an excellent adventure for everyone else.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A boring and long-winded sermon. August 4, 1999
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Grisham has gotten tired. This book has none of the well-crafted plot twists and turns that made his early books exciting. After the opening "drama" which takes up the first few chapters, nothing much happens. And the book is preachy. Grisham has a sermon for us, namely that we should help the homeless. It is clear that the only reason he wrote the book is to give this sermon. And he hammers us over the head with it for several hundred pages.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good leisurely read
Another good read by John Grisham. Not as suspenseful or exciting as others by him. A little anti-climactic.
Still worth the read.
Published 1 day ago by Erin
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Great coverage of the homeless and neglected. Encourage others to read and even get involved. So much is needed to help.
Published 2 days ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Street Lawyer is the best!
Always been a Grisham fan, and this is my favorite of all his books. It's a pretty quick, easy read, but a great story and actually inspired me to look at changing some of my own... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Morgan Tabizon
4.0 out of 5 stars One of his best!
Gresham does his best work when wring about lawyers. This story captures attention from the beginning and keeps you enthralled to the last sentence.
Published 7 days ago by LINDA
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A good read, not as good as his best works but enjoyable nevertheless
Published 9 days ago by Peter A. Reiter
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read.
A surprise plot. Kept me intrigued all thru.
Published 10 days ago by Judy
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Very fast read. Great topic with lots of insight into the homeless.
Published 11 days ago by Virginia Smiley
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read
A very enjoyable book. It kept me wanting to read without ceasing. It was good to read a book without smut and profanity.
Published 11 days ago by Connie Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars A real appreciation for Homeless Advocates
Michael Brock, Mordecai Green, and the other Guardian Angels of our Nation's Homeless population, I tip my hat, bow, and raise a glass in tribute to your valiant efforts to rectify... Read more
Published 14 days ago by Richard L. Dudas
5.0 out of 5 stars Then he is in a horrible car accident
Michael Brock rethinks his life at Drake & Sweeny after a homeless man follows him up the elevator and follows him as he enters the offices. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Connie Hendrickx
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More About the Author

Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, John Grisham was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby--writing his first novel. Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn't have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.That might have put an end to Grishams hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham's reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham's success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller. Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, The Broker, Playing for Pizza, and The Appeal) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 225 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man.

Photo credit Maki Galimberti

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