A Fabulous Legal Thriller: “The Pelican Brief”
“The Pelican Brief” is a mind-blowing novel written on a fascinating plot. This book written by John Grisham published in 1992, and it is the third book written by John Grisham. The novel has opened a true story of thrill before the eyes of the readers.
The theme of the Book:
At the starting of the novel, the double assassination of two divergent Justices of Supreme Court has made the beginning very important. The two justices were different from each other.
One of them was liberal, and another was conservative, they also got killed in a different spot. Justice Rosenberg murdered in his home, and Justice Jensen assassinated in a gay porn movie theater.
So, everyone became confused about the motive of the murder of these two justices.
Darby Shaw and Her Research
Darby Shaw was a student of the Tulane University Law School, and she researched the records of the justice Rosenberg and Jensen and also some other cases that were pending in the court. The investigation of Darby revealed a surprising truth before her that became the threat to her life.
What was the Truth?
While researching, Darby suddenly discovered that the murder motive of the two justices was not anything political. The purpose was greed. Darby wrote a legal brief of the motivation of the murder focusing that the killing conducted on behalf of Victor Mattiece.
Victor Mattiece was an oil tycoon, and he wanted to drill a marshland of Louisiana. So, he filed a case in the court to get the access to the land. But, the property was the shelter of rare species of pelican.
On the other hand, the two justices who had murdered were very strict about the welfare of the environment. So, they would never permit Mattiece to drill the marshland. Mattie had an excellent relationship with the president, and it is known to all that the president selects the justices.
So, he decided to eliminate the strict judges to place other judges who would work for him with the help of the president.
The Pelican Brief Movie Trailer
Death of Callahan and Verheek
Darby showed her report to her lover and professor, Thomas Callahan. Thomas Callahan contacted with an FBI lawyer named Gavin Verheek. Thomas and Verheek got killed very soon. Darby knew she was the next target of the terrorist.
So, she ran away. She tried to hide by disguise. But, she almost died. After that, she contacted with a reporter for The Washington Post named Gray Grantham. Gray Grantham believed her and told her that he would help her. Meanwhile, Darby was taken into safe custody by the FBI to protect her and verify her report.
I must admit that I have mixed feelings about this book. At first, the story hooked me, with doses of intrigue in crescendo and with the efficient construction of the character of Darby, an independent woman, sure of her worth and with a brilliant mind.
However, towards the middle of the book, it has given me the impression that the story was losing steam and gradually decreased those little touches of mystery that hooked me at the beginning of the work.
Until this novel fell into my hands, I had not read any of the books of John Grisham, with such a reputation among the eaters of suspense books and legal thrillers. However, more than intrigue or suspense, The pelican report is an action novel, something that Hollywood producers have taken into account in the film adaptation.
The end of the work is, in my opinion, somewhat lazy and insipid, lacking the excitement expected from any case comparable with the Watergate cover, comparison already established at the beginning of the book and even in the synopsis of the cover.
Perhaps there lies the feeling of the infirmity of a plot that, from my point of view, has a right approach, a modest knot, and a straightforward result. I do not have any experience in reading legal thrillers, so I do not know if this argument vagueness is typical of this subject, but I would dare to say that this is not the case.
Well, when something compared with high cases of corruption like Watergate, servant neurons begin to weave convoluted plots in which they could be involved in the very war of England. Then, of course, disappointments come. From this same author I have recommended The client, I do not know if I dare him.
There is a homonymous film version of The Pelican Report, shot in 1993, directed by Alan J. Pakula and starring Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, and Sam Shepard. We are facing one of the few cases in which the film entertains me much more than the book.
And it is that, due to the nature of the cinematographic medium, that forces to condense the story narrated in 350 pages in approximately 120 minutes, the action and the intrigue are constant throughout the film, elements that manage to capture a level of attention of the spectator significant than that achieved in the book.
As for the cast, Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington are fabulous in the roles of Darby and Gray Grantham, respectively.
At the End
An anonymous lawyer sent a video to Grantham as the evidence of the involvement of his law firm with Mattiece. Thus, with the videotaped record and the report prepared by Darby, Grantham and Darby approached the chief editor of The Washington Post newspaper.
The report was published, and the FBI took the required action. At last, Darby settled in an island of Caribbean where Grantham came to stay with her for one month.
Thus the story of the novel “The Pelican Brief” ends. The report prepared by Darby was known as “The Pelican Brief,” and the book named after this concept. Undoubtedly, it is an excellent novel to read.