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The Street Lawyer: A Novel Paperback – November 23, 2010

3.5 out of 5 stars 1,438 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Looking for a romantic, hardboiled legal drama with a social conscience? Look no further. This audio version of John Grisham's blockbuster The Street Lawyer is narrated by Michael Beck (The Golden Seal, Xanadu), whose portrayal of the similarly named Michael Brock, with his squeaky-clean voice and crisp annunciation, is in perfect pitch with the corporate attorney's Ivy League image. Beck's believable, engaging performance is compelling, drawing the listener into Brock's charmed life and his decision to quit the firm after being held hostage by a disgruntled homeless man. Moved by a crisis of conscience, Brock seeks out the gravel-throated, streetwise legal aid counselor Mordecai Green. Green shows him the ropes, and Brock soon becomes part of the scenery he used to look down on from his plush 14th-floor office. Meanwhile, our hero is on the lam for stealing an important file that holds the secret to an illegal eviction--one that may lead to a murder charge. Faced with a failing marriage, a client on crack, and the threat of disbarment, Michael has plenty to think about as he and Mordecai negotiate a fair settlement for the victims of an inexcusable crime. (Running time: 360 minutes; 4 cassettes) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Dell; Reprint edition (November 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440245958
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440245957
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,438 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Johnson VINE VOICE on 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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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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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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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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Format: Audio Cassette
Somewhere along the line, Mr. Grisham toppled off his storytelling ladder deciding that the social statement was a more compelling exercise than the entertainment of his readers. I suppose we should have been forewarned with his recent engagements with the tobacco and insurance industries, but our continued purchases in hopes of another 'Firm' or 'Client' seems to have stimulated him to continue in this (moralizing) direction. Surely, the pharmaceutical industry is next, followed by professional sports then Bill Gates and company. If you revel in moralizing lecture/statements on (name the subject), you'll want to read this and all subsequent Grisham books. Me, I prefer stories and entertainment. I'm sticking with P.D. James, Louise Erdrich, Larry Bond and Patrick OBrian. I want my money back.
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