The Broker

Version: Unabridged (Abridged version available here)
Author: John Grisham
Narrator: Michael Beck
Genres: Fiction & Literature, Mystery, Thriller & Horror
Publisher: Random House (Audio)
Published In: January 2005
# of Units: 10 CDs
Length: 12 hours
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In his final hours in the Oval Office, the outgoing President grants a controversial last-minute pardon to Joel Backman, a notorious Washington power broker who has spent the last six years hidden away in a federal prison. What no one knows is that the President issues the pardon only after receiving enormous pressure from the CIA. It seems Backman, in his power broker heyday, may have obtained secrets that compromise the world’s most sophisticated satellite surveillance system.

Backman is quietly smuggled out of the country in a military cargo plane, given a new name, a new identity, and a new home in Italy. Eventually, after he has settled into his new life, the CIA will leak his whereabouts to the Israelis, the Russians, the Chinese, and the Saudis. Then the CIA will do what it does best: sit back and watch. The question is not whether Backman will survive—there is no chance of that. The question the CIA needs answered is, who will kill him?

Reviews (104)

Written by Joseph P. on March 10th, 2019

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This one will grab you in the first 5 minutes and you will not want to leave the car (where I listen almost exclusively). Marco was made real and the twist at the end was very well hidden. Great book.

A must

Written by Anonymous on March 22nd, 2016

  • Book Rating: 5/5

A great story that keeps you involved and in your car while in parked in your drive way after you returned home.

Written by Walter Hamilton on July 26th, 2014

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Enjoyed listening at work and at the gym. The character change by the narrator drew me in more and more.

Written by jon robison on June 2nd, 2014

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Read the book. Enjoyed listening to it just as much.

The Broker

Written by Anonymous on January 5th, 2012

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Great book. Really enjoyed it. hated the time that I was away from it. Makes hours of riding around a lot more bearable.


Written by FMR on December 23rd, 2011

  • Book Rating: 3/5

OK book, below par for Grisham, often found myself distracted by other things. As others have said, too much descrptive of Italy, not enough action/suspense. Then it seemed to wrap up very quickly--like the author decided enough, the end. If you absolutely need a Grisham fix, listen to it. Otherwise, spend your time on something more riviting.

Nice travelogue

Written by Anonymous on September 20th, 2010

  • Book Rating: 3/5

This is more an Italian travelogue and Italian-English dictionary than a typical Grisham spy novel. Unless you're traveling to Bologna anytime soon, it's very disappointing - should come with a warning not to listen to it while driving - may cause drowsiness.

Long book about nothing

Written by Anonymous on March 26th, 2010

  • Book Rating: 1/5

Not a fan of this book. Long and drawn out tale about nothing.

The Broker

Written by Kim on September 7th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 2/5

Too much Italy. Not enough story. Thought I was reading Frommers, Italy until 3/4 of the way throught the book.

Great Grishm

Written by susan from Dinuba, CA on August 6th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Love Grisham so The Broker was not a disappointment at all. As usual you get pulled into the intrigue and mystery. One of those where you drive around and around the block to find a good stopping point. I am not fond of this reader. He has read a number of Grisham books.

Author Details

Author Details

Grisham, John

Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn't have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990.

One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.

That might have put an end to Grisham's hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career—and spark one of publishing's greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.

The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham's reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham's success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller.

Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, and The Broker) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 225 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marks his first foray into non-fiction.

Grisham lives with his wife Renee and their two children Ty and Shea. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA.

Grisham took time off from writing for several months in 1996 to return, after a five-year hiatus, to the courtroom. He was honoring a commitment made before he had retired from the law to become a full-time writer: representing the family of a railroad brakeman killed when he was pinned between two cars. Preparing his case with the same passion and dedication as his books' protagonists, Grisham successfully argued his clients' case, earning them a jury award of $683,500—the biggest verdict of his career.

When he's not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes, including most recently his Rebuild The Coast Fund, which raised 8.8 million dollars for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He also keeps up with his greatest passion: baseball. The man who dreamed of being a professional baseball player now serves as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to over 350 kids on 26 Little League teams.