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review 2017-12-03 04:24
The Rooster Bar, John Grisham, author; Ari Fliakos, narrator
The Rooster Bar - John Grisham

There are four very close friends, Gordie, Todd, Mark and Zola, who are disillusioned after attending a poorly rated law school. When Gordie commits suicide, the other three are at loose ends. Although they are about to graduate from this rotten school, they have no prospect of a job, and they can not repay their accumulated debts. They discover that their despondent, deceased friend had been doing research on a swindler who was connected to their school, their loans and several companies that were making money by enticing students with false promises of successful futures. It seems that most of the students were unqualified, unemployable, unprepared and unable to pass the bar upon graduation. Massive fraud was taking place under a legal umbrella.
Since their future seemed bleak, they decided to leave law school and begin their own fraudulent practice of law. In this way, the author seems to be attempting to show the corruption of our legal system and those involved in all aspects of it. The reader meets crooked lawyers, negligent judges, and there is certainly no shortage of criminals introduced, who are being taken advantage of by the system that is supposed to protect them. The fact that they have committed crimes is given little importance when compared to the impossible bureaucracy they are required to face.
After trying their hands at practicing law without licenses, being discovered and just managing to barely outrun the authorities, the three surviving friends decide to try another avenue. They go after the man who is at the top of the fraudulent scheme their friend uncovered. They seem very cavalier and unrealistic about the nature of their own fraudulent behavior, the danger they face and the consequences of their actions. They don’t seem to believe that they will ever be caught or held responsible for their actions, although they daily compound their wrongdoing.
At the same time as they are engaged in these criminal activities, one of the friends, whose family came into the United States illegally almost three decades ago, from Senegal, discovers that her family has been caught and is going to be deported. She is not in any danger, having been born in America. This part of the book proceeds to seemingly expose some of the many diverse problems in our immigration system, as the family is shipped back, unceremoniously, to a country that is corrupt and not only doesn’t want them back, but resents their return and is known for its brutality toward returning citizens.
The author admits that he has taken many liberties in his presentation, and I felt as if the book not only made a mockery of our government, its agencies, our lawyers and our immigration and justice system, a bit unfairly, but it also seemed to hold no criminal accountable for the behavior that got them into trouble. I felt as if it was only the system that was being judged rather than those who had become trapped within it through their own actions. It took on the feeling of a fairy tale without any prospect of the novel ever approaching reality. It also took forever for the book to make its point. Those who were victims of their own irresponsible behavior came out as the winners, unscathed by their heinous behavior. Poor behavior was rewarded and most of the characters had no character!

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review 2017-11-08 19:52
"The Rooster Bar" by John Grisham
The Rooster Bar - John Grisham

There are some good things in the "The Rooster Bar", enough of them that I read the book right to the end in the hope that it would be worth my time. It wasn't.

"The Rooster Bar" starts well. John Grisham quickly got me immersed in the pressure cooker lives of four for-profit Law School students, groaning under a mountain of debt and with little prospect of getting a job that would enable them to pay it back. He used the instability and obsession of the most charismatic of the four to lay-out the "Great Law School Scam" without making it feel like a clumsy infodump and then added a trauma to hook my emotions and make me care.

I relaxed and waited for some kind of clever and cathartic revenge to be extracted in a sort of "The Firm 2.O" way.

Grisham kept my attention and my emotional involvement by adding in a plot about how ICE  (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) the Storm Troopers of  Homeland Security works.

This felt real and got the point across without sounding preachy. The shame of failing to treat people with dignity was made clear.

After that... well, the whole thing fell apart but slowly enough that I never quite gave up hope.

My main problem was that I didn't like and couldn't bring myself to care about the two emotionally distant, testosterone-driven, arrogant and amoral white boys who were positioned as the heroes of the piece.

Their reaction to having let their greed ensnare them in a potentially life-ruining scam was to scam everyone else. They commit crime after crime to make money, sustained by a sort of frat-boy belief that guys like them will never suffer the consequences of their actions. They were called Todd and Mark and I couldn't really tell them apart except that one (I can't remember which) was more willing to help a friend in trouble.

It seems that I was supposed to be cheering for these two would-be alpha male lawyers to out-smart the authorities, get revenge on the bad guys and ride off into a Tequilla-sustained sunset. Personally, I'd have been happy to see them both take their punishment.

Todd and Mark are the moral vacuum at the heart of this book. They're clever, resourceful, hard-working, brave but ruthless and willing to break any law to get their own way.

I could have lived with the moral vacuum if the book had ended with a great reveal or a clever, Mission Impossible slick finish but It didn't. Instead, it slid gently to a stop as it ran out of momentum and I ran out of sympathy.

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review 2017-11-02 03:01
THE ROOSTER BAR Review
The Rooster Bar - John Grisham

I finished this book in two sittings: on my lunch break and on my bed the moment I got home. I didn’t get up to eat dinner, use the bathroom, anything. The Rooster Bar is one of those books.

 

Like almost every Grisham novel, this is a high-stakes crime thriller . . . but the stakes here feel so much higher than in his other books — at least the ones I’ve read, which I admit isn’t a large number. Three laws students mired in debt without any job prospectives on the horizon decide to drop out of sight, change their identity . . . and become faux street lawyers. They know the ropes (well, some of them) and they put up a front. And they’re successful. At least for a while. Then the phony partnership go after bigger fish, more money . . . and from there unfolds one of Grisham’s most captivating plots to date.

 

Does that sound hokey? Silly? Yes, maybe it does. But this book really spoke to me: the frustration with college, the fears of the future, the desire (and, in these characters’ cases, success) to start all over and go on an adventure — an adventure with quite the cash prize, if all goes well. That spoke to where I am at right now. And Grisham writes this story with the reverence, skill, and knowledge that is present in all his works.

 

Surely one of my picks for favorite new release of the year, this was a book I just could not put down. Check it out — but not with any pressing plans.

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review 2017-10-28 16:35
The Rooster Bar
The Rooster Bar - John Grisham

By:  John Grisham

ISBN: 0385541171

Publisher: Doubleday 

Publication Date: 10/24/2017 

Format: Hardcover 

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

 

#1 New York Times bestselling author, John Grisham returns following Camino Island with his 25th novel THE ROOSTER BAR — a legal thriller exploring conspiracies inside for-profit law schools and the lives it destroys in this modern-day scandal ripped from today’s headlines.

Inspired by an article in the Atlantic called “The Law-School Scam,” a lengthy investigation of for-profit law schools, the author takes off an inside look at corruption in the legal field and student loans.

Gordy, Mark, Todd, and Zola each have their own stories and how they landed at Foggy Bottom— a third-tier for-profit law school. Each has borrowed heavily and student loans are enormous, there is no way they will ever attain a job to begin paying back this debt.

Each of the three is drowning in student debt, which it would seem will be impossible to ever pay off. Mark owes $266,000; Todd, $195,000; Zola, $191,000. 

Foggy Bottom had enticed them to take out huge federally backed loans — from an equally disreputable bank that offered easy money with the false prospect that they would get high-paying jobs immediately upon being graduated and passing the bar.

They each had high expectations as well as their families. Soon they realize there is more to the story. Gordy (bi-polar), is engaged to be married (to wealthy white girl from his hometown); however, seeing Zola on the side. She is black Muslim-American. 

Gordy has done much research and lays out all the players for the group. His obsession turns to madness quickly and they all are concerned. 

Their school is owned by a corrupt New York hedge-fund operator Hinds Rackley, who also happens to own a bank specializing in student loans, and connected with various law firms. He is a billionaire and using thousands of students to bankroll his lifestyle. A scam. However, what will they do with this information? Who will believe them? 

They are in their third year and the $$$ and interest are mounting daily. Drowning in debt, pressures from debt collectors, and no promise of a job, they set out on a dangerous course to try and outsmart the conman. They will never be able to repay this debt. 

Gordy cannot take it anymore. After he is gone, they decide they will honor him by fighting back the best way they can to survive. 

Taking a page from SUITS, (even though I think Michael Ross is smarter); they decide they will practice law without a law degree. Going rogue is a little difficult when they do not have the funds to make this work, or will they? 

 




Will they be able to pull off their own scam to con a con, (David vs. Goliath) without being sent to prison before they are found out? In the meantime, who will bring down the bigger scam that drove them to desperate measures? 

With only Mark, Todd, and Zola remaining, they will have to stay one step ahead of the impending danger, in order to beat the system.

Mixed with legal-drama, suspense, action, and humor, THE ROOSTER BAR uncovers greed, conspiracies and throws Zola’s family issues (deportation) for added conflict in this compelling 

"More than 44 million Americans who have borrowed money to pay for college owe over $1.4 trillion in student loan debt."

More fact than fiction — we are well aware, the significant number of real-life American millennials duped by unscrupulous banks and businesses today, is astounding. 

I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Ari Fliakos for an entertaining listening experience. 

The entire time I was reading/listening kept thinking about Roosters, the popular gay bar here in West Palm Beach, FL with the Best Drag Show and has been around for over 30 yrs.

Love the Cover and the Title!

JDCMustReadBooks

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/08/11/The-Rooster-Bar
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review 2017-10-28 13:37
Camino Island
Camino Island: A Novel - John Grisham

By:  John Grisham

ISBN: 978-0385543026

Publisher: Doubleday

Publication Date: 6/6/2017 
Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 4 Stars

 

John Grisham returns following The Whistler landing on my Top Books of 2016 to (my Sunshine state, Florida) a small island beach town. Steering away from his typical legal thrillers and courtroom scenes, with CAMINO ISLAND — thieves, priceless manuscripts, a heist, rare books, bookstores, and writers.

A little trouble in paradise. . . 

A sophisticated gang of thieves pulls off a daring heist with a campus shooting that causes widespread panic. A secure vault deep below Princeton University’s Firestone Library containing. (F. Scott Fitzgerald’s manuscripts). Princeton has insured it for twenty-five million dollars.

As the FBI and a secret underground agency hunt them down, a young writer embarks on her own investigation into a prominent bookseller who is believed to have the precious documents.

Mercer Mann grew up spending summers on Florida’s Camino Island, where the mysterious insurance company representative, believes the stolen manuscripts are located. 

Bruce has a popular and successful bookstore in the resort laid back town on Camino Island and deals in rare books. However, there is much more behind the storefront. He occasionally deals in the black market of stolen books and manuscripts. 

Mercer Mann is a writer and in debt with plenty of student loans. She jumps at the chance when approached mysteriously about going undercover. She will be able to pay off her debt. She must learn secrets. Of course, she loves digging deep in the literary world, with a little sleuthing. 

She is to get the goods on Bruce. Did Bruce who pulled off the literary crime of the century? Mann may not be the only one trying to get the goods. Will she take one for the team?

If you love “books about books”, rare bookshops, and enjoy revisiting the past with literary icons, like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway, mixed in with some booze (Key West style), a heist, and humor —this one is for you. 

A multilayered game of cat-and-mouse with mystery, suspense, and ample entertainment. 

 



I enjoy how Grisham is mixing things up a bit with his last few books. I listened to the audiobook and January LaVoyadded the right spice with flair. Listen to Clip. 

A huge Grisham fan — always a treat to read anything he pens. I read this book back in the summer; however, failed to post my review at that time. 

Grisham conceived of the subject with his wife on a lengthy road trip to Florida when they discussed a work incorporating "stolen books, stolen manuscripts, bookstores, and booksellers.

No need to worry, legal thriller fans. (my favorite genre) . . . I just finished The Rooster Bar Grisham's 25th legal thriller, where he explores the world of for-profit law schools through a group of students who learn their school is owned by a shady hedge fund operator — inspired by a true story.These law students are also in deep debt, with no way out and no job opportunities — so they devise a scheme to "con a con." 

Highly Recommend both books. 

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

 

 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/02/07/Camino-Island
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