The Guardiansby Published 15 Oct 2019
The Guardians Ebook Description
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In the small north Florida town of Seabrook, a young lawyer named Keith Russo was shot dead at his desk as he worked late one night. The killer left no clues behind. There were no witnesses, no real suspects, no one with a motive. The police soon settled on Quincy Miller, a young black man who was once a client of Russo’s.
Quincy was framed, convicted, and sent to prison for life. For twenty-two years he languished in prison with no lawyer, no advocate on the outside. Then he wrote a letter to Guardian Ministries, a small innocence group founded by a lawyer/minister named Cullen Post.
Guardian handles only a few innocence cases at a time, and Post is its only investigator. He travels the South fighting wrongful convictions and taking cases no one else will touch. With Quincy Miller, though, he gets far more than he bargained for. Powerful, ruthless people murdered Keith Russo, and they do not want Quincy exonerated.
They killed one lawyer twenty-two years ago, and they will kill another one without a second thought.
The Guardians Reviews
It has become one of my annual late Fall rituals. The leaves are falling. College and Pro football are in high gear, which means it is time to open the new John Grisham novel, “The Guardians”, and re-visit the law in action in the South.
This time out, Grisham introduces us to Cullen Post, an innocence lawyer and an ordained Episcopal minister, working for Guardian Ministries, a small non-profit in Savannah, Georgia. Guardian specializes in accepting cases of those criminals sitting on death row or serving life that they believe are truly innocent and wrongfully convicted. Post can only handle a few cases at a time, but he throws all of his focus, time, and energy is trying to get their sentences overturned.
Quincy Miller is one of the cases that Post is working on, and it will be the deadliest situation he’s ever found himself in. Twenty-two years ago, in the small Florida town of Seabrook, a lawyer named Keith Russo was shot dead in his office while he worked late one night. There were no clues left behind, but the local county Sherriff Pfitzner immediately put his focus on Quincy Miller, a young black man who was once a client of Russo’s and appeared to harbor a grudge. Then a local drug addict remembers seeing someone run away from the scene.
Quincy was tried, convicted, and sent to prison for life without a fair trial. He’s spent twenty-two years struggling to survive in prison while maintaining his innocence to no avail. No one would represent him and his appeal. In complete desperation, Quincy writes a letter to Guardian Ministries, proclaiming his innocence and begging Post to take on his case. After serious review, Post takes Quincy on as a client.
However, there is reason that Quincy was framed for murdering Keith Russo, and as Post begins the appeal process work, he starts to realize that he is being followed. Those who he interviews are scared and refused to talk with him. It seems that strong and powerful drug cartel members were involved in Keith’s murder and they want Quincy left alone in prison. Theses people have no fears of killing more to keep their cover in place. This time it may include Post himself who pays the price.
Over the last several years, it seemed to me that Grisham was shifting his writing from pure legal thrillers to more plots addressing his personal feelings of injustice within the American legal system. His themes have been more aimed on exposing serious societal issues like the death penalty, wrongful convictions, race inequality, and how the law can be abused by those in positions of power. Grisham is definitely an advocate of the underprivileged and mistreated, and well, this book allows him a large soapbox to stand on and deliver both a legal drama combined together with resolving the inequalities of an imperfect legal system.
Last year Grisham published a historical based novel. “The Reckoning”, in which I struggled greatly in reading. It was one of the rate times that I found him to be full of overwhelming negative and emotional experiences for many of the characters and their outcomes, which destroyed any good feelings on the reader’s part. It was a downright depressing read. And his book the previous year, “The Rooster Bar” was weak and flat. This year’s book is a big bounce back to when Grisham was at his best. “The Guardians” is multi-layered, legal thriller that wipes the bad taste of his last two books and provides an enthusiastic and enthralling read.
This book was more of the Grisham style story that we’ve come to know and love. His descriptions are brief, focused, and vivid. His dialogs are sharp and flow like a Robert B. Parker Spenser novel at its best. More importantly. Like Stephen King, Grisham is a pure in heart storyteller, and his storytelling skills are pretty flawless – smooth and flowing prose with no wasted or unnecessary words, a constant focus on moving the conflict forward.
Overall, this is an excellent book, a page-turner from beginning to end. Post is an authentic down to earth flawed hero who wants to make the world a better place. The plot is crisp and tight, moving from scene to another smoothly and effortlessly. Thee mystery is revealed one steady step at a time, like the peeling of a ripe onion, not too fast and not too slow, building to a strong climax that delivers a solid pay off. And the Author’s note provides additional background and source for the story and main character. It is a nice personalized touch.
“The Guardians” is a prime example of Grisham’s power to tell a captivating tale and it will probably find it’s way on my top ten best reads of 2019.
Thank you, John, for giving me one of my favorite Fall season experiences. See you again next year…
After a few recent novels that failed to live up to Grisham's usual, exacting standard I heard many people pondering whether his time as a master of the legal thriller was over. Well, in The Guardians he replies in a way which will shut the naysayers up pretty damn quickly; here he is back to his barnstorming best, and I will undoubtedly be adding this to my favourite reads of 2019. The plotting is superb, the characters engaging, and the twists and turns plentiful and truly shocking; this is definitely up there with his most accomplished in my opinion. From the first page, I was gripped and ended up devouring it in a mere afternoon. Grisham's storytelling when at its peak is some of the most proficient in the whole of the literary sphere. But this book doesn't just focus on providing us readers with thrills and spills, it also has an emotional aspect to it which was very refreshing.
It centres around a group of lawyers who have turned their hand to investigating miscarriages of justice and are actively working to exonerate those who've become victims of a broken legal/court system. The fact that we are told at the end that this is based on a real-life group made it all the better and temporarily restored my faith in humanity. The story is impeccably structured and extensively researched; the information on miscarriages of justice was spot on, which I appreciated, and our narrator Post's ability to see situations from all perspectives is fascinating. This translates into him being able to understand the sentiments of both the defence and prosecution in the cases featured. If you enjoy legal-based thrillers then you simply can't go wrong; this is Grisham back to his finest and most addictive. Highly recommended.
This is an “issues” novel about a disillusioned attorney, Cullen Post, who has become an Episcopal priest. Cullen now volunteers as an attorney for a non-profit Innocence project. They are attempting to free a prisoner who was wrongfully convicted.
The book is well written. The plot twists and turns and the characters are interesting. Grisham starts the suspense immediately and continues to build it throughout the story. The book was entertaining as well as informative. It is a quick easy read.
I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is eleven hours and fifty minutes. Michael Beck does a good job narrating the book. He is an actor and audiobook narrator. Beck has narrated a number of John Grisham’s books.
Did not finish. Gave up about page 220. I have read and enjoyed most of John Grisham’s books. This was an informative fictional account of a non-profit organization that advocates for and exonerates prisoners who have been wrongly convicted of a crime they did not commit. In Canada, there is Innocence Canada which has helped exonerate 23 innocent people since 1993. In the United States, the Innocence Project has branches in many States. In 2018 alone, 9 innocent people were exonerated in the USA. These 9 wrongly convicted prisoners had spent a combined 215 years in prison and now have their freedom restored. We often see news releases about the prisoners at long last being released, but the hard work of the dedicated and heroic people of organizations such as the Innocence Projects is little known. The use of DNA evidence is a vital part of proving innocence.
This book tells the story of Cullen Post who founded Guardian Ministries. This is a small firm working to prove the innocence of the wrongly convicted. Post is the right man to advocate for his clients. His experience leading him to be selected to defend a very bad man whom he knew to be guilty of a violent, brutal attack caused him to have a nervous breakdown. He is now a minister, as well as a lawyer and works for Guardian Ministries. They only advocate for a small number of clients, working diligently to free the innocent.
Such an unfortunate man is Quincy Miller, a black man who has been languishing in prison for 22 years. He was accused and imprisoned for the shooting to death of a lawyer, Russo, and Quincy has had no advocate on the outside until now.
Post learns that Quincy was certainly framed through a series of lies, missing evidence, and incompetent expert witnesses. It seems Russo’s actual murder involved a powerful criminal gang. Post’s diligence in gathering affidavits from people who lied under pressure at Quincy’s trial, and the forensic testimony from highly skilled expert witnesses which contradicts previous sloppy evidence has put his life in danger. The ruthless criminals will not hesitate to kill Post to cover up past crimes, including their murder of Russo.
I found the book to be informative regarding the number of prisoners who may be innocent, and those working tirelessly to free them. I wanted to like the book and did admire its premise, but found that for me it became slow and tedious rather than a compelling read. I realize there are some highly positive reviews, and prospective readers should not be deterred by my misgivings.
What a great story. Sure that this novel has to be placed on the same level as A Time To Kill, The Pelican Brief etc. One of his best!!