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The Broker (2006)

The Broker (2006)
3.74 of 5 Votes: 1
0385340540 (ISBN13: 9780385340540)
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The Broker (2006)
The Broker (2006)

About book: Grisham tells of a powerful lobbyist aka the Broker who got too greedy and was ready to sell the an intelligence satellite system that the Chinese made and three Pakistani programmers hacked into to the highest bidder. The book starts with the President who lost re-election and decided to pardon the broker at the CIA's request so that the foreign governments could kill him abroad. It turns out the reason that the CIA wanted to free the Broker and have him killed was so they know who built the system and it would overall answer unanswerable questions to them. It seems to me the main players in this espionage thriller were the Chinese who built the system, Mossad who was pissed that the Saudi's won the bid to buy the satellite system and wanted it for themselves, and the Saudi's who won the bid for the selling the system. The ending was great too, with Joel giving the satelite technology to the Pentagon and calling a press conference to throw the Chinese Assasin off his tracks so he can lay low again.It is almost a 5 star book but I cannot get over the slowness that occurred in the book when he talked about Marco Lazzari learning Italian. For me, it really slowed down the book.Within the thriller there are few politico-moral dillemas:1) In the book, it is implied that the President excepted money for political pardons especially for rich clients. This kind of reminds me of Clinton's pardon of Mark who was a rich benefactor to his campaign. Sure, his crime was white collar and thus only indirectly hurts the US, but I still think it is wrong.2) All his books, Grisham showcases the competing interest between the FBI and the CIA and the Oval Office. It is no wonder Al-Quaeda was able to infiltrate the US because of the lack of coordination between the three powers that should be able to protect us. I do not think this is an isolated event as Looming Towers suggest there is really an intense competition between the FBI and the CIA for gathering evidence on one hand the gathering of information on the other. In the book, this tension shows itself in that the CIA wants to keep Marco alive to gather information from him and eventually kill him to protect the information that he knows. The FBI on the other hand wants to prosecute Joel for possible bribe in the pay-for-pardon scam. The two do not trust each other enough to let the other side know why they want Marco/Joel, thus creating a standoff. In terms of our national security/and terrorism, this is scary stuff. If two of the most important bodies to our defense do not trust each other than terrorist attacks are likely in the future.3)In the book, a professor of law in Texas was kicked out from his position because he espoused communist leanings. I think Texas has a right to kick him out only as in this case he teaches communism in his class room especially if it is a core class but I do not UT should have kicked him out if he was just an espoused communist but did not teach it in his classroom.4)In the book of course, the CIA wanted Joel released in a foreign country so other governments would be able to kill him.Now is that legal? Sure it is legal but it is definitely unethical and immoral. 5) CIA if the story is true is scary because they seem to be making their own rules outside the purview of the executive branch that they are under. Does this actually happen in real life? I am sure in extenuating circumstances it does but it is still scary because it recalls a certain state police mentality without checks and balances. So this means, the Iran-Contra affair really could have happened without Reagan's direct knowledge.6)Lobbyist, Broker, adequately gets what he deserves because he was ready to sell US intelligence capabilities to the highest bidder. The brings to mind lobbyist precarious position in representing companies or countries who maybe counter to US interests. So they become mercenaries ready to sell their services to the highest bidder. If I ever end up in the lobbyist circuit, I would only represent interest I believe in so I would be a lobbyist for a cause not for a money.

Fairly boring story, lots of good info on Italian culture, history and cuisine ( review of the audiobook)Read by Michael Beck.10 discs.11 hours, 30 minutes.The last two thrillers that I have read by John Grisham have been anything but. A couple of years ago I listened to The King of Torts and came away with a great education in class action lawsuits but at the cost of a disappointing story. With The Broker, I came away with a great education in Italian culture, cuisine and great insights into the oft-overlooked city of Bologna, Italy - but it was a thriller with precious few thrills. The Broker is centers around Joe Blackman, a Washington, D.C. lobbyist that plays fast and loose with all of the rules and revels in throwing his weight all over town. Blackman is approached by Pakastani computer hackers who have discovered and hijacked a set of super high tech spy satellites with a special computer program. They want Blackman to sell it to the highest bidder and soon enough the Israelis, the Saudis, the Chinese and the CIA are all interested. One of Blackman's associates winds up murdered and an FBI probe into Blackman's practices place him in prison.Suddenly, he is part of a surprise last minute pardon deal by an outgoing president and he is whisked into a witness protection program administered by the CIA in Italy. Blackman is forced to learn a new language and a new culture...Read more at:
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Geun Ho - ISB Lee
This is my second book of John Grisham. After reading the Pelican Brief, I was fascinated with how intelligently and well this author could write. On this farely recent book of his, I was not disappointed but even more amazed at how amazing an writer John Grisham is. Similar to the Pelican Brief, it seemed to me that Grisham again showed some opposition to the US government as in both books this government is the "bad guy". But his use of the idea of "space race" was very entertaining since I could recall on my last year's studies of the cold war and how the space race all began. Portraying China as to be the most superior in the satellite technology in this novel, this came to sound very realistic as China is growing to be world's most powerful country. Alongside with these realistic plot, Grisham's descriptive style of writing captivated and engaged me the whole time. I strongly recommend this book to any of John Grisham's fans if they still have not read it. Others are recommended to read this book to experience the amazing captive spell of John Grisham's.
An entertaining story with a fast moving plot. I had an urge last week to read a story by John Grisham and The Broker was my selection. Before that I had read "The Summons"(It was a fair read). I don't read his novels in sequences which fortunately for someone like me there is no need, because each of Mr. Grisham's books will stand on their own. I thought The Broker was an easy read that was very entertaining. There was a lot of intrigue woven into a fast moving plot. I thought the class room instructions on the topography of Italy and the language was a bit too much. Actually, this part of the book got really boring. The main character, Joel Backman gave me fits. I never was really sure if he was decent sort of a fellow or just a down right crook. I could never get the feeling that I should root for him or just hope for his quick exit from the story. In summary, there were parts of the story that I didn't care for, but overall I thought it was real decent book that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to all my friends.
Jesse Broussard
This is probably my favourite of Grisham's books, despite a smattering of sentimental cliches that make me desire to inspect the brains of some fairly central characters with a fire poker. The worst one: (She:) "Have I offended you?"(He:) "You could smile more."She nodded slightly and her eyes were instantly moist. She looked away, through the window, and said, "I have so little to smile about."This type of thing, along with the rhythm (wretched) of most of his prose convinces me that Grisham ought to be a screenwriter, not a novelist. The singular strength that has propelled him to stardom is that of his plots, which usually aren't bad. It is a rare writer that can combine intriguing plots with good prose and fully developed characters. Grisham is one for three, and that one is occasionally debatable. Yet, with his characters flat and his prose poor, I'm still reading him due to my inability to pass up fifty cent books when coins are comingling with the pens in my pocket. I'm just not reading him fast enough to be done with him before I'm annoyed at him.To top it off, he spent six months in Italy "researching" gelato, architecture, cuisine and language for this book. I empathize. Let us say with the Hindu: life is suffering, get a helmet. P. T. Barnum's famous quip that no one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public gives me hope to one day become independently wealthy. Perhaps my first book ought to take place in the Mediterranean instead of Mexico...
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