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Top 10 John Grisham Books

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I’m writing this on March 8th, 2014. When any new Grisham book comes out, I will read it and if necessary update the list.

John Grisham was my first series pathway into adult novels. I remember when The Client came out in the theatres – my dad was reading the book. Bored during a car trip, I happened to pick it up and glance at it and within minutes I was absolutely hooked. I stayed up all night reading it, and I still remember going to the theatre the next day on no sleep – because I just couldn’t wait.

I then went through every John Grisham novel there was, while anxiously awaiting the newest one. While in my opinion Grishams books aren’t anywhere near as good as they used to be – he is still a quality writer, whose novels I purchase upon release. A few of his recent novels do make this list too!

This is the list of what I feel are the best John Grisham novels, and of course presented in a Top 10 John Grisham Books order because who doesn’t love top ten lists!

#10: The Appeal

The story of a chemical plant that destroyed a small town, and the small towns battle against them. This was one the books that turned me off Grisham a bit. It was a great book, and a great story – but his political viewpoints really came into play here. It really left a bad taste in my mouth, and although I thoroughly enjoyed the book I can’t go back and read it again.

#9: The Associate

Kyle McAvoy is about to join a prestigious law firm, when his past comes back to haunt him. I loved loved LOVED this book except……it just ends. It just completely fizzles out. I remember I couldn’t put it down, then I got to the very end and I was like…..what? That’s it? I was reading it on my Kindle and not paying attention to the percentage – so it was a shock that it just ended so soon, without any real climax.

#8: The Litigators

The story of a small law firm and a burnout who joins them then battles against his old law firm. This was a great book that I really enjoyed. It was a much different style of book with a lot of humour and some great characters.

#7: A Time To Kill

A tremendous book, cutting edge for its time, and the only reason it isn’t higher on the list is because there’s 6 books Grisham did that are better. Still, this is a classic book with a solid movie to boot.

#6: The Rainmaker

This would be higher, but the movie sort of ruined it for me. I enjoyed the movie – but the actors didn’t seem to fit the roles. I love Devito and Damon but just not in those roles. When I’ve went back and read the book – it’s just not as good picturing those two.

#5: The Client

The movie was decent, but oh man was the book that much greater. So gritty and so much more darker. When I read the opening, I still read it barely breathing, just trying to take it all in.

#4: The Partner

I remember reading this book, and it just blew me away. Just some intricate storytelling at its best. Just writing this makes me want to go and read it again. Crap I think I may do that now.

#3: The Firm

Loved the movie, and the book is of course amazing. I still remember the first time I read it – I started at 6pm over dinner while eating chips and curry sauce. I stayed up all night reading it, falling asleep at 6am. I woke up, went out and got some chips and curry sauce and finished it. I’ve read it many times since then – and I always do that while eating chips and curry sauce. Funny how things like that connect in your brain.

#2: The Runaway Jury

Such a great book, and one I read at least once per year. The whole jury studying and scouting process fascinates me, as does of course Rankin Fitch, just an exceptionally written character. And no matter how many times I re-read this book, I still tear up at the verdict announcement.

#1: The King of Torts

This may be a controversial one. You usually see this one rated low on any top lists but it’s my personal favourite. It’s about Clay Carter who ends up getting into the tort game. The rise of him, and the way he changes during the rise is fantastic to read – especially as someone who went through the dot-com bubble back in 2000 as it is eerily reminiscent of that. My favourite John Grisham book ever.

Top Ten Grisham Books Summarized:

My opinions for these were based mainly on readability, looking back at the list. The top 5 books in particular I re-read them almost once per year. And after writing this list I’m probably going to go back and read some of them.

Obviously, everyone has different opinions. Feel free to post yours in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts about the best John Grisham books.

Book Series In Order » Top Lists » Top 10 John Grisham Books

32 Responses to “Top 10 John Grisham Books”

  1. Ramona: 10 months ago


  2. Michelle Ester: 2 years ago

    Playing for Pizza, audio. We listened to this book on a cross-country drive and laughed so much. All the characters are great. The pacing is just right and the ending is romantic, so it’s a happy ending. But the book is so much fun. We have happy memories of the trip because the book was a part of the good times.

  3. Delvin Chatterson: 2 years ago

    Grisham’s most famous novel in legal fiction, The Firm, is my model for the Dale Hunter Series of business/crime novels about an entrepreneur fighting the Mafia and other gangsters around the world who are threatening his business, his life and his family.
    Thanks to John Grisham for the template! Wrapping drama and suspense around a boring subject – law or business – to make it an interesting and entertaining read.
    Del Chatterson

    • Sok: 2 years ago

      I remember A time to Kill as the best book of it’s time but lately I read Sycamore Row and could hardly wait for A Time of Mercy. Give me a Grisham any time. (I am old, in a CCRC, and reading is my passion,
      Everyone here reads mysteries; and we all have our favorites, Donna Leon and Louise Penny; but give me a Grisham any time,

  4. OUwagon: 6 years ago

    You can’t mention Grisham without mentioning “The Testament,” his best. Really enjoyed “The Partner,” “The Acssociate,” and “The Firm” as well.

  5. Mason S: 7 years ago

    I just finished ‘Sycamore Row’. This is by far his best tied together ending. I have read all the Ford County books and thoroughly enjoyed all of them. This was a great addition to the Jake Brigance books. The ending just tied all of the littlest details together making the whole book click.
    I think ‘The Last Juror’, ‘A Time to Kill’, and ‘Sycamore Row’ deserve to be on this list but will take your advice when choosing my rereads and looking at them, especially ‘The Appeal’, differently (I never noticed how much his political views affected this book). For anyone looking for a book to read by Grisham the Ford County books are a must in my opinion.

  6. OmarComin': 7 years ago

    I’m currently on The Broker.

    Out of the books I have read so far, I’ve enjoyed The Pelican Brief, The Brethren and A Painted House.

    The Street Lawyer was interminable and saccharine.

    The Summons was mediocre and dragged.

    I’m enjoying The Broker but I can see why some wouldn’t like it. It suffers from the same problems as The Summons in terms of pacing. It’s improved my Italian though.

  7. susie: 8 years ago

    For me, A Time to Kill was his absolute best!! The book and the movie were breathtaking!

  8. David: 8 years ago

    For me the ending to The Client was very anti-climactic. Enjoyed the book. But the ending was dull. Do you agree or did I miss something?

    • Graeme: 8 years ago

      I personally enjoyed it – but I could also see how it could be described at anti-climactic. I found the part where they were looking for the body to be very intense, and then I felt the ending wrapped up nicely.

      • David: 8 years ago

        Thank you I was kind of afraid that I had missed something. I thought the part where they were looking for the body was very suspenseful as well. It was just that when the book ended there was no resolution for me. Thank you very much

    • OmarComin': 7 years ago

      I thought the ending to The Summons was kind of anticlimactic.

  9. vrsh: 9 years ago

    like you said “the partner” just blew me away! i mean what a book.. it was my first book into adult novels and dats why it blew me away big time. it leaves us thinking about the book for weeks after finishing it. and the rainmaker is agreat book but i honestly wanted some other climax.

    • Chris: 8 years ago

      vrsh, reading great novels has not improved either your spelling or syntax. Try and learn some of this from the next book you read. Serious.

      • David: 7 years ago

        Oh geesh really? Lighten up He is reading for pleasure This is not English class. Let’s be happy some people are still reading.

        • Mason S: 7 years ago

          I agree with Chris to a degree, but David you make a valid point. I’m a teenager who loves reading, and seeing I’m not completely alone is a nice change.

  10. Cindy Varrato: 9 years ago

    I read the first chapter of one of his books on an airplane and I can’t remember the title. It started with a suicide hanging of a well respected man.I believe he left a note and everyone was surprised he killed himself. Does that ring a bell with anyone?

    • Graeme: 9 years ago

      I am not sure. The Summons has a death at the beginning but it wasn’t suicide hanging.

    • Cindy Varrato: 9 years ago

      I did find it and ordered it! Now I can’t remember the name. It began with an S. I am having a brain freeze!!!

      • May Lee B: 9 years ago

        Sycamore Row

      • Mason S: 7 years ago

        Sycamore Row. The ending is amazing. I will admit it does get a little slow and hard to get through because the trial doesn’t occur until about 80% through.

    • Xin Hui Apple: 9 years ago

      Sycamore Row! I am halfway through that exact book now. It’s awesome.

    • Shėhzād Khān: 9 years ago

      You might be talking about The Testament. It starts with the suicide of a very wealthy man. But by jumping off his high rise apartment, not by hanging. Minutes before jumping, he signs a will leaving all his assets to an illegitimate child, who is unknown to anyone, striking off all his previous wives and children from previous marriage.

  11. Joe Champa: 10 years ago

    How about “The Broker”? I loved the story, the characters, [the few that Grisham used] and the history of Bologna. I found it fascinating even though this novel was unlike all the others. I thought the ending set up for a sequel that could be Grisham at his best. I disagree about the Associate… Wendy’s old ad, “Where’s the Beef?……Where the ending.? How could you praise or give credence to an incomplete novel Graeme?

  12. mac: 10 years ago

    What about the Pelican Brief? I think it was an amazing book and should be in Top 10!

    • Graeme: 10 years ago

      That was one of those books that for whatever reason just didn’t hook me. Even the movie didn’t – I think I watched it for 30 minutes and gave up. However I’m going to give the book a whirl again next week I think and I’ll let you know my thoughts 🙂

      • mac: 10 years ago

        OK, in the meantime maybe you can tell me what’s the next Grisham’s book I should read? I already read The Firm, Pelican Brief, The Partner and Runaway Jury. Which one would you suggest for me to read next?

        • Graeme: 10 years ago

          Any on this list 🙂

          I notice all 4 of them have movies. If you’re doing a “read the book, watch the movie” thing then The Client or A Time To Kill would be best. Other than that – King of Torts is my personal favourite.

          • mac: 10 years ago

            OK, I started reading The Racketeer, and it’ s pretty awesome so far. I just wanted to try some ‘newer Grisham’ 🙂 Have you read it?

            • Graeme: 10 years ago

              According to my Kindle I did as it’s at the end of the book. I barely remember it though. Probably felt it was “enjoyable but forgettable”.

            • Tracy Reed: 5 years ago

              Just finished Camino Island and LOVED it!! However I am 5 years after this post!

      • OmarComin': 7 years ago

        I loved the book but fell asleep watching the movie.

        Maybe it’s cos I read the book directly beforehand.

        Might give it another shot.


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