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The Summons/The Brethren, by John Grisham, Frank Muller and Michael Beck (Narrators)

6.5 HOURS ON 5 CDs

The Summons/The Brethren

This two-book volume by John Grisham combines exciting court-based dramas that stand alone as separate stories. The first, The Summons, is about two brothers who are as different from each other as oil and water. Their father, a very prominent and well-loved judge in a small town, is dying when he summons his sons to his house on a certain date. One son is a lawyer, and the other is worthless drug-addicted drunk.

When the lawyer son shows up at the appointed time he finds the father appearing to be asleep on his sofa. However, when he tries to awaken him he discovers that the judge is dead. Before the other brother arrives, he finds hidden boxes containing $100 bills that add up to a total of 3.5 million dollars. The will left on a table makes the lawyer the executor of the estate, which includes the house and $6000 in a bank account. Here the story begins--with the mystery of where the money has come from and what should be done about it. Torn between greed and honesty the lawyer is caught by his ethics and his family loyalties. Events progress to a very interesting conclusion.

The second story is a fascinating one in which a low-security prison houses three judges. They, unbeknownst to anyone and because of their special privileges, are running a scam to extort money from wealthy men. They place ads in a gay magazine pretending to be a young man who is in rehab and soon to be released. With each response they receive, they continue to write back, sending a picture of a virile young man. After they garner enough sexy letters from an individual, they send a letter threatening to expose the person unless he pays them $100,000 to be sent to a P.O. box. A crooked lawyer is their contact on the outside.

At this time, the man in charge of the CIA is conducting a plan to get his own man elected to be president. The ease with which the CIA can manipulate events is both fascinating and terrifying. The story becomes a nail biter when the man who the CIA has picked to be the next president writes to the ad in the gay magazine. Get ready to be amazed at the outcome of the conflict between the CIA and the three crooked judges.

Grisham delivers a solid thriller in both of these books. The readers, Frank Muller and Michael Beck, are skilled narrators who infuse the books with tension in the critical moments and who maintain a satisfying pace in these unabridged novels. Each of these audio books is a compelling page turner (disk switcher?) and both are highly recommended.

John Mormon

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