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The Rooster Bar: The New York Times and Sunday Times Number One Bestseller Audio CD – Unabridged, 27 November 2017
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The multi-layered plot is inventively sustained and, as always with Grisham, the scintillating storytelling serves to highlight a substantial issue: the ruinous repercussions of graduate debt and the scandal of "diploma mill" colleges ― The Sunday Times
A wild, hard-to-put-down romp ― The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Smartly told . . . Bravo to Grisham for using his star power to shine another spotlight on an all-too-real problem in this gratifying and all-too-real book ― The Washington Post
Grisham writes in such an inventive spirit . . . [a] buoyant, mischievous thriller . . . THE ROOSTER BAR is written with the same verve Grisham brought to this summer's CAMINO ISLAND with the same sense that this reliable best-selling author is feeling real pleasure, and not just obligation, in delivering his work ― New York Times
Good idea; good, vengeful execution ― Janet Maslin, Independent
Engrossing ― Chris Roberts, CrimeReview.co.uk
- Publisher : Hodder & Stoughton; 1st edition (27 November 2017)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 147361693X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1473616936
- Dimensions : 13.5 x 2.7 x 14.7 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 666,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Three law students Mark, Todd, and Zola come to realise their law course is a sham and they have mounting student debts. This friend goes bipolar and commits suicide but not before describing how the whole scam works. They try their hand at being lawyers but get deeper in fraud. Their lives start to unravel and they are forced to escape and hide. But are they able to make a comeback. Will the perpetrators of the scam receive justice and will their friend be vindicated.
This story becomes a bit of a cocktail. There is the usual Grishamesque description of the court system where justice out of control. It seems at first that Mark and Todd might succeed but it is a dog eat dog existence and newcomers are not welcome. Another is the fate of Zola's family who go through the eviction from America process to Senegal. This is pretty unpleasant at both ends.
Another is the complex web of companies behind the law school scam. The company is vertically integrated from governments grants through fees and private student loans and debt collection. Separately providing dubious banking services for the system and the wider community. This is a very strong area and sub plot for John Grisham. It is also sad.
The main story is about the students who turn to fraud to survive. Unlike the big end of town their criminal behaviour is immediately acted on. As they say "why pick on us with all the terrorism and murders that need to be solved". John conveys the sense of helplessness of their situation very well.
There is some redemption at the end. Mostly it is about escaping. It may depend on your outlook whether you see some justice or like me leave a bit downhearted. This is a theme Grisham has used before. The Firm is one example. It provides a chase for keep you interested but the ending while realistic represents the overwhelming odds that individuals are up against and escape becomes the only answer.
Grisham has added his touch to the book so it should be read. I found it not quite up to the bar but still above other authors might do.
Came back to find out the ending & eventually finished, but surprised, as this was the first John Grisham book read that didn't grab me.
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So imagine my surprise when, whilst waiting for his new book The Reckoning to be published, I realised that I hadn’t read last year’s release, The Rooster Bar. How did that happen? I can’t imagine except that my memory is like a sieve these days (I blame my age and hormones. In fact, it is even possible that I have read it and forgotten, things have got that bad.) Anyway, happy days – I now had another unread John Grisham to enjoy on my recent holiday.
I am always fascinated as to where authors get their ideas for novels from and there is an interesting note at the back of this book where Grisham reveals that the idea for this novel came from an article he read about the level of debt students in the US were taking on in order to put themselves through law school. Quite how he goes from what sounds like quite a dull article, particularly to non-lawyers, to a nail-biting thriller is the nature of his genius, because somehow he manages to spin it in to one of his classic plots that kept me up late desperate to get to the end.
The plot of this book is quite outrageous and I think you need to suspend your disbelief to buy in to it, but that is true of most thrillers, which are by their nature outlandish and pushing the boundaries of what is probable. These books are pure escapism, sometimes keeping only a slight grasp on reality and I am sure the court system in the USA would be outraged to think this could possibly happen (although I am now waiting for someone to tell me that it has been done.) Anyway, likelihood aside, the plot is original and gripping and an interesting spin on the ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ roles as the protagonists are actually breaking the law but we still end up rooting for them, despite the fact that they are jeopardising the futures of their clients, because they themselves are victims in some respects. Should they get away scot-free? Is what happens to them justice? I don’t want to give anything away by revealing my thoughts but I think you will find more to ponder in these books than people often give Grisham credit for.
When I have revealed to people in the past what a massive fan I am of John Grisham’s books, I have met with some literary snobbery, most particularly from people who have never read any of his books. Well, firstly, I would query whether you can form a valid opinion of an author without reading a word they have written. And, secondly, you don’t sell as many books as John Grisham has without being able to write. He is the master of creating a taut, exciting and interesting thriller and this one is no exception. I thoroughly enjoyed it, as I always do, and can’t wait to read his new book.
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