Excerpt from The Street Lawyer by John Grisham, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Street Lawyer

by John Grisham

The Street Lawyer by John Grisham X
The Street Lawyer by John Grisham
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 1998, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 1999, 464 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"Why would you want to kill us?" I asked.

"I'm not going to argue with you," he announced. No further questions, Your Honor.

Because I'm a lawyer and live by the clock, I checked my watch so that whatever happened could be duly recorded, if we somehow managed to survive. It was one-twenty. Mister wanted things quiet, and so we endured a nerve-racking period of silence that lasted fourteen minutes.

I could not believe that we were going to die. There appeared to be no motive, no reason to kill us. I was certain that none of us had ever met him before. I remembered the ride on the elevator, and the fact that he seemed to have no particular destination. He was just a nut in search of hostages, which unfortunately would have made the killings seem almost normal by today's standards.

It was precisely the kind of senseless slaughter that would grab the headlines for twenty-four hours and make people shake their heads. Then the dead lawyer jokes would start.

I could see the headlines and hear the reporters, but I refused to believe it would happen.

I heard voices in the foyer, sirens outside; a police radio squawked somewhere down the hallway.

"What did you eat for lunch?" Mister asked me, his voice breaking the silence. Too surprised to consider lying, I hesitated for a second, then said, "A grilled chicken Caesar."

"Alone? "

"No, I met a friend." He was a law school buddy from Philly. "How much did it cost, for both of you?"

"Thirty bucks."

He didn't like this. "Thirty bucks," he repeated. "For two people." He shook his head, then looked at the eight litigators. If he polled them, I hoped they planned to lie. There were some serious stomachs among the group, and thirty bucks wouldn't cover their appetizers.

"You know what I had?" he asked me.

"No."

"I had soup. Soup and crackers at a shelter. Free soup, and I was glad to get it. You could feed a hundred of my friends for thirty bucks, you know that?"

I nodded gravely, as if I suddenly realized the weight of my sin.

"Collect all the wallets, money, watches, jewelry," he said, waving the gun again.

"May I ask why?" I asked.

"No."

I placed my wallet, watch, and cash on the table, and began rummaging through the pockets of my fellow hostages.

"It's for the next of kin," Mister said, and we all exhaled.

He instructed me to place the loot in a briefcase, lock it, and call "the boss" again. Rudolph answered on the first ring. I could envision the SWAT leader camped in his office.

"Rudolph, it's me, Mike, again. I'm on the speakerphone."

"Yes, Mike. Are you okay?"

"Just fine. Look, this gentleman wants me to open the door nearest the reception area and place a black briefcase in the hallway. I will then close the door and lock it. Understand?"

"Yes."

With the gun touching the back of my head, I slowly cracked the door and tossed the briefcase into the hallway. I did not see a person anywhere.

Few things can keep a big-firm lawyer from the joys of hourly billing. Sleep is one, though most of us slept little. Eating actually encouraged billing, especially lunch when the client was picking up the check. As the minutes dragged on, I caught myself wondering how in the world the other four hundred lawyers in the building would manage to bill while waiting for the hostage crisis to end. I could just see them out there in the parking lot, most of them sitting in their cars to keep warm, chatting away on cell phones, billing somebody. The firm, I decided, wouldn't miss a beat.

Excerpted from The Street Lawyer by John Grisham. Copyright 1998 by Belfry Holdings, Inc. Excerpted by permission of Doubleday, a division of the Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: I Found My Tribe
    I Found My Tribe
    by Ruth Fitzmaurice
    Ruth O'Neill was only 28 when she married film director Simon Fitzmaurice in 2004. Changing her...
  • Book Jacket: The Art of the Wasted Day
    The Art of the Wasted Day
    by Patricia Hampl
    Patricia Hampl wants you to know that daydreaming is not a waste of a day. Nor is spending time ...
  • Book Jacket: Circe
    Circe
    by Madeline Miller
    Towards the end of Madeline Miller's novel Circe, the titular nymph is questioned by her son ...
  • Book Jacket: All the Names They Used for God
    All the Names They Used for God
    by Anjali Sachdeva
    Pre-publication press has already compared Anjali Sachdeva to Kelly Link and other genre-blending ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Music of the Ghosts by Vaddey Ratner

A love story for things lost and restored, a lyrical hymn to the power of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Other People's Houses
    by Abbi Waxman

    A hilarious and poignant novel about four families and the affair that changes everything.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Leavers

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

One of the most anticipated books of 2017--now in paperback!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T E H N Clothes

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.