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The Client Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 1996

4.2 out of 5 stars 535 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Mark Sway, age 11 but years wiser thanks to a drunken dad who abused his mom, is out in the woods behind his Memphis trailer park teaching his kid brother, Ricky, how to smoke Virginia Slims heisted from Mom's purse. He's a pretty upright kid--he's determined to protect his brother from drugs, and he once defended his mom with a baseball bat.

The dangers of smoking rapidly escalate when Mark glimpses a guy trying to commit suicide by carbon monoxide in his car nearby and tries to stop him. The guy is Jerome, a lawyer who tells Mark that his Mafia client has murdered Senator Boyd Boyette and buried him in the concrete under his garage in New Orleans. Then Jerome puts a bullet in his own head. Little Ricky flips out, and so does Barry the Blade Muldanno, who doesn't want blustery U.S. attorney Reverend Roy Foltrigg to find the corpse and bust him. Caught in a ruthless game between the Mob and the amoral authorities, Mark's family has no defense in the world except Reggie Love, a 50ish divorcée who has just turned her life around by becoming a lawyer. Does she have what it takes to help Mark beat the system? The life-or-death chase is on!

Mark has seen a lot of movies, and he sees life in cinematic terms. So does Grisham. Even if this novel had never been filmed, it would still be a really good, fast-paced movie. Its literary limitation is also its filmlike virtue: The Client is a rush.

From Publishers Weekly

Fans of the bestselling Grisham will be pleased to note that he is once more on Firm ground: his latest legal thriller offers a clever, compelling plot coupled with two singular protagonists sure to elicit readers' empathy. Eleven-year-old Mark Sway, taking his kid brother for a smoke behind their Memphis trailer park, witnesses the suicide of a lawyer "driven crazy" by a lethal secret. Before he dies, the man confides to Mark where the body of a recently murdered U.S. senator lies buried, and the game's afoot. Trailed by the police, the FBI and assorted Mafia types (the deceased politico was the victim of "a successful New Orleans street thug"), Mark retains--for one dollar--the services of Reggie Love, a 50ish female lawyer. This uncommon attorney-client relationship adds an affecting, unusually humanistic layer to the novel's tension-filled events. Mark, raised by a divorced mother and wise beyond his years, thinks chiefly in terms of movies and TV; Reggie, a street-smart survivor of an acrimonious divorce, is often unsure whether to hug or slug her precocious client. True to form, Grisham employs just enough foreshadowing to keep the suspense rolling ("Neither of them could know that . . . "), and propels his action at the requisite breakneck pace. Occasional plot improbabilities and stylistic quibbles--a few fuzzy characterizations; overstatement of already obvious points; Mark's sporadic adult phraseology--will not deter readers from enjoying a rousing read. 950,000 first printing; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selections; Reader's Digest Condensed Book selection.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 566 pages
  • Publisher: Dell Publishing Company, Inc. (May 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440213525
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440213529
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (535 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #625,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Andrew Olson on May 9, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book starts out innocently enough: young Mark Sway (age 11) and his younger brother Ricky (age 8) are out in a grassy area sharing a few cigarettes they stole from their mom, an over-worked, abused housewife; it would be Ricky's first cigarette, but not Mark's by far. They get an unexpected surprise, however, when a crazed lawyer drives his car to the exact spot where Mark and Ricky were at (who are now hiding in the thick grass), pulls a hose from his car and begins pumping exhaust fumes into the car in an attempt to commit suicide...

Mark enters the car to attempt to convince the deranged lawyer to stop trying to kill himself- and is taken hostage immediately. The liquor loosens his tongue a little, though, and before passing out, the crook tells Mark that he knows where the body of a recently-assassinated US Senator is located. Mark exits the car to try and calm his hysterical little bro down- and they both subsequently witness the man, a Jerome "Romey" Clifford, take a pistol and blow his brains out- taking his deadly secret to the grave with him- except Mark knows it now, too.

And there are people who know that he knows it, too. And when they start trying to force it out of him, he turns to the only one who believes him: a lawyer who just passed the bar four years prior- a lawyer who was paid a dollar as a retainer fee to help little Mark out.

Grisham has once again crafted a thriller. Frankly, I am a bit confused as to why people don't really like this one... It's just as good if not better than his other novels.

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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'd actually give it 4.5 stars. The Client is, overall, an excellent book. Although it does drag in places and some of the "lawyer jargon" can get annoying, the characterization and plot are quite extrodinary. It is a very suspenseful and unpredictble novel which kept me up till 4 am reading. What makes the book so good is the complex charcters. Mark Sway--an eleven year old, trailor-trash, kid is brilliant and foolish all at the same time which keeps the book moving well because every time he gets himself out of a situation, he always manages to get himself into another. He talks like hes 45 and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. He also questions alot about society and the legal system in such a childlike matter that it really makes you stop and think about your position on the topic and what you would tell an 11 year old kid. Reggie Love is definitely the most complex character. After a painful divorce, attempted suicide, and commitment into various mental facilities, she begins a new life as a smart-talking, witty, clever, and absolutely crazy lawyer who you just have to love. They call it her "second life" and she lives it to it's fullest. Only a 4 year lawyer and shes able to outsmart the FBI. She cares so much, too much, about her "little clients" and although she denies it, is willing to risk her life for some of them. Shes a very strong character, but still very vulnerable, which makes for a great story. Foltrigg (sp?), is the opposing, big-headed, stuck up, U.S. prosecuting attorney who is absolutely determined to win the case no matter the extremes.Read more ›
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By A Customer on October 20, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Romey, the lawyer of a man accused of murdering a congressman, commits suicide. Mark Sway, an eleven year old boy, observes the act but little does he know that it will lead him into serious trouble. Mark has learned crucial information that will convict the Mafia hit-man, who is accused of murder, but he doesn't want to tell the district attorney. He is afraid the Mafia will kill him too. Mark hires a lawyer to protect his rights and help him out-smart both the district attorney and the Mafia. I really liked this book. It is probably one of the best books I have read and I'm sure I would enjoy it just as much if I read it again. "The Client" is filled with suspense which made it really hard for me to put down. I love suspenseful books because each chapter leaves the reader hanging, not knowing what will happen next. I've read most of John Grisham's books and this has to be his best. His other books are not as suspenseful and riviting as "The Client." The book is really long and it took me a while to read it. It contains long, drawn-out scenes dealing with law, but the good things out-weigh the bad. One of the best things about "The Client" is how Grisham shows the age and attitude of Mark. A great example is when Mark asks the judge if he can take the 5th amendment. The judge says no but Mark replies, "Why Not? It applies to kids to doesn't it? Yes, (says the judge) but not in this situation. Then why did you put me in jail? (Mark replies) I'm going to send you back there if you don't answer my questions (the judge declares). I take the fifth amendment anyway (responds Mark)." John Grisham is a terrific writer and I really enjoyed reading this book and I would recommend it to anyone who really enjoys suspenseful stories.
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