|I’ve said it many times and it still holds true: I’m a sucker for Grisham’s thrillers. Yes, people call them lightweight, and sometimes they can be, but I enjoy the easy pace of the books. I enjoy the intrigue that doesn’t overwhelm me with tech-speak. And I appreciate that I can read without fear of offense. To that end, The Broker fully delivers.
The story centers around a former D.C. power broker who is unexpectedly pardoned by the outgoing president then whisked away in the night by the CIA. The broker has sensitive intelligence related to a secret spy satellite that was discovered, manipulated and then put up for sale to the highest bidding country. Though the CIA initially protects the broker, their true intent is to set him up for assassination, thereby revealing which country is responsible for the satellite’s existence. The broker suspects this, of course, and begins developing tactical habits to keep himself safe. Therein lies the story.
I enjoyed The Broker very much, although the story was heavy-handed at times. The setting for most of the book is Bologna, Italy, and it was evident that Grisham has undying affection for the country and its inhabitants. He even says so in his author’s notes. And this was a little distracting, albeit educational. On the other hand, details related to the big mystery — that of the secret satellite — were often tedious and cumbersome. Many times I was stopped cold by the series of paragraphs containing technical data and/or spy thriller intrigue. This is not Grisham’s forté, and it was evident in the way the novel stopped flowing during these sections. But those moments are few and far between, and they do lend themselves to the overall picture. By no means did they inhibit my enjoyment of the story at large.
I have not enjoyed every Grisham book with the same intensity, and The Broker falls somewhere in the middle of the pack when I list his novels by favoritism, but time with this novel was time well spent. And I’m anxious to jump right in to his next one.