Reviews for The Guardians

by John Grisham

Publishers Weekly
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A lack of nuance mars this novel from bestseller Grisham (The Reckoning), which centers on idealistic attorneys fighting wrongful convictions. Cullen Post, who became a Lutheran minister after burning out as a public defender, is working as a lawyer again in Savannah, Ga., where he runs Guardian Ministries, which helps convicts whose claims of innocence he and his three colleagues, including a man he helped free from incarceration, deem worth investigating. In the first chapter, Duke Russell is minutes away from execution when Post’s request for a stay is granted, giving him time to pursue his belief that Duke wasn’t in fact guilty of raping and murdering a woman 11 years earlier. Guardian Ministries is also seeking to prove that Quincy Miller is innocent of the shotgun murder of his former attorney, Keith Russo, in Seabrook, Fla., and deserves his freedom. Post and his allies diligently attack the flimsy forensic and eyewitness evidence used to convict Miller. A conspiracy subplot related to one of Post’s cases, involving especially sadistic bad guys and an international angle, feels out of place. Readers who like their legal thrillers dosed with ethical ambiguities should look elsewhere. Agent: David Gernert, Gernert Company. (Oct.)


Library Journal
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This just in: a new legal thriller is coming in October from the No. 1 New York Times best-selling author. No word on plot, but eminently purchasable.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Cullen Post works for the Guardian Ministries, a shoestring operation that tries to get wrongfully convicted people out of jail. At the top of Post's to-do list is a Black man, Quincy Miller, who has been in prison for 22 years after being convicted of the murder of his divorce lawyer. But the evidence is shaky at best: the shotgun used in the crime was never found, and a flashlight with a supposed blood spatter disappeared from evidence. Further bolstering Post's case, an expert who testified for the prosecution about the blood spatter on the missing flashlight has since been discredited as a charlatan. Post thinks Miller may have been the fall guy for a drug-cartel hit. The murdered lawyer took minor civil cases to keep up appearances, but his primary moneymaker was the drug cartel. If the cartel can keep the murder pinned on Miller, it's in the clear. Grisham novels have a cinematic feel to them. A Time to Kill (1989), The Firm (1991), and The Rainmaker (1995) have all been successful motion pictures. The Guardians could be next on the list; it's an excellent legal thriller with a strong social-justice component.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Grisham's readers are legion, and they will be prepped for his latest, which finds the perennial chart-topper in great form.--Wes Lukowsky Copyright 2019 Booklist


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

The prolific Grisham (The Reckoning, 2018, etc.) turns in another skillfully told procedural.Pay attention to the clerical collar that Cullen Post occasionally dons in Grisham's latest legal thriller. Post comes by the garb honestly, being both priest and investigative lawyer, his Guardian Ministries devoted to freeing inmates who have been wrongly imprisoned. Says an adversary at the start of the book, learning that his conviction is about to be overturned, "Is this a joke, Post?" Post replies: "Oh sure. Nothing but laughs over here on death row." Aided by an Atlantan whom he sprang from the slam earlier, Post turns his energies to trying to do the same for Quincy Miller, a black man imprisoned for the murder of a white Florida lawyer who "had been shot twice in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun, and there wasn't much left of his face." It's to such icky details that Post's meticulous mind turns: Why a shotgun and not a pistol, as most break-ins involve? Who would have done such a thingsurely not the guy's wife, and surely not for a measly $2 million in life insurance? As Grisham strews the path with red herrings, Post, though warned off by a smart forensic scientist, begins to sniff out clues that point to a culprit closer to the courtroom bench than the sandy back roads of rural Florida. Grisham populates his yarn with occasionally goofy detailsa prosecuting attorney wants Post disbarred "for borrowing a pubic hair" from the evidence in a casebut his message is constant throughout: The "innocent people rotting away in prison" whom Post champions are there because they are black and brown, put there by mostly white jurors, and the real perp "knew that a black guy in a white town would be much easier to convict." The tale is long and sometimes plods, especially in its courtroom scenes, but it has a satisfying payoffand look out for that collar at the end.Fansand Grisham has endless numbers of themwill be pleased. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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