The Boys from Biloxi by John Grisham

For most of the last hundred years, Biloxi was known for its beaches, resorts, and seafood industry. But it had a darker side. It was also notorious for corruption and vice, everything from gambling, prostitution, bootleg liquor, drugs . . . even contract killings. The vice was controlled by a small cabal of mobsters, many of them rumoured to be members of the Dixie Mafia.

Keith Rudy and Hugh Malco grew up in Biloxi in the sixties and were childhood friends. But as teenagers, their lives took them in different directions. Keith’s father became a legendary prosecutor, determined to ‘clean up the Coast.’ Hugh’s father became the ‘Boss’ of Biloxi’s criminal underground. Keith went to law school and followed in his father’s footsteps. Hugh preferred the nightlife and worked in his father’s clubs. The two families were headed for a showdown, one that would happen in a courtroom.

Rich with history and with a large cast of unforgettable characters, The Boys from Biloxi is a sweeping saga of two sons of immigrant families who grow up as friends, but ultimately find themselves in a knife-edge legal confrontation in which life itself hangs in the balance.

In this novel, Grisham takes his powerful storytelling to the next level, his trademark twists and turns will keep you tearing through the pages until the stunning conclusion.

My thoughts:

Thank you to the Tandem Collective and Hodder & Stoughton for the opportunity to join the recent readalong for the latest book by John Grisham, The Boys From Biloxi.

After studying a Business Law degree at University, I decided to work in financial services rather than law, but enjoyed reading legal thrillers, many of them by John Grisham. Here is my John Grisham physical book collection (there are more on my kindle!).

Despite the large collection of books, it is a few years since I read a newly released book by John Grisham, so what did I think?

This was a slow burner of a book for me. The first half of the book looks at how Keith and Hugh’s fathers (Jesse and Lance) took different directions in their careers in the 1940’s as one went into law and the other picked illegal activities within the Dixie Mafia. Their sons were friends in school through sport but their lives changed as they stopped playing sport, and they both followed the career path of their father.

The pace of the book picked up as Hurricane Camille hit Biloxi in 1969. Jesse became well known as the lawyer who pursued the the insurance companies who didn’t want to pay out. How would the gangsters cope if he became DA and started to clean up the area, removing the police who were taking backhanders?

This is a non spoiler review so I’m just going to say that that the pace picked up, as did the violence. Our readalong chat kept mentioning Chapter 38 and this section was heartbreaking. The story covers families, crime, the American legal system, murder, plea bargains, the history of Biloxi and the death penalty. I enjoyed the courtroom sections which reminded me of some of the early John Grisham novels.

Although I wasn’t totally convinced by the ending, I’m still happy to recommend this book. Have you read any John Grisham books?

By Karen K is reading

An avid reader from the age of 4. Love escaping into a good novel after a busy day working with students. Mum. Adopter of dogs.

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