Grisham has previously excelled with his gritty courtroom thrillers, but he changes direction in The Brethren. The book branches down two roads; one focusing on three disgraced former judges (the 'Brethren') serving time in a Florida prison, and the second follows US presidential candidate Aaron Lake.
Frustrated by their plight, the three judges continue to weave down a criminal path from the inside, as they pool together their knowledge and cunning to blackmail wealthy men keen to keep their homosexuality a secret. At the same time, Aaron Lake is seen to be maneuvered and manipulated by CIA director Teddy Maynard, who wants Lake in the White House for his own gains.
Lake has a secret though, and the brethren are threatening to destroy that. All the time Grisham perfectly keeps the reader guessing how the two stories will eventually come to a head, and moves along seamlessly at a pace that keeps the two stories entwined. Even when you think you have the answer, Grisham expertly changes direction.
Despite the three main protagonists of the story being somewhat antiheroes, Grisham paints them in a way that keeps them interesting and whilst you might not be able to say you like them, you won't loathe them either, and you'll quickly want to know more about them and this world in which they have conjured up from behind steel bars.
Although this might not be my favourite Grisham book, you can't deny that the man has a bucket load of talent. I did miss the intense courtroom drama that he so brilliantly and effortlessly brings to life on the pages of his novels, but he shows with this story that he is no one-trick pony and is just as adept at writingout of his comfort zone. Now can someone again tell me why haven't I read more Grisham books?