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SUSPENSE/THRILLERS
Set in Italy

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Set in Bologna
(Emilia Romagna)
Trevsio (Veneto)
Milan, Zurich
USA, London
©2005
 
Buy!
BIO

JOHN GRISHAM is the author of eighteen novels. He lives in Virginia and Mississippi.

John Grisham

The Broker

JACKET NOTES: 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?
(© Doubleday)


BOOK REVIEW

Italy lovers will love THE BROKER!

It is amazing that the best selling author John Grisham has set his new thriller in Italy. Dan Brown proved that an American author can set a book in Europe and still be successful.

Grisham’s new thriller starts in Washington D.C. where power and corruption run rampant. The CIA convinces the outgoing and incompetent President Morgan to give an eleventh hour pardon to Joel Backman--a Washington power broker prior to his imprisonment. Backman had served six years of a twenty year sentence for trying to sell secrets about a sophisticated satellite surveillance system to the highest bidder. The CIA wants to put Backman in a witness protection program outside the U.S. Once he is safely established, they will then divulge his whereabouts to the secret services of Israel, Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia to see which nation executes him first.

The CIA has chosen northern Italy for Backman’s new home. Even though he is a free man, they first locate him in Treviso with his assigned handler, Luigi. Since he has no money or passport, he is totally reliant. The plan is to transform him into an Italian, Marco Lazzeri. To do that they provide him a stylish Italian wardrobe and start intensive Italian lessons. Any American traveling in Italy, realizes how impossible it is to appear to be an Italian.

After four intensive days in Treviso, the CIA whisks him off to Bologna on the premise that someone is already trying to kill him. Most of the book is about Marco’s amazing experiences in Bologna--his relationship with Luigi and his language instructors, the excellent food and wines, and his eventual familiarization and love for the marvelous and non-touristy city of Bologna. Even though he is under surveillance, he manages to escape it occasionally for private moments in his adopted city. The reader can’t help but love this transformed Marco Lazzeria, a.k.a Joel Backman. You will find yourself cheering for his eventual survival and freedom.

BRAVO for Grisham who has obviously fallen in love with Italy, in general and Bologna, in particular. Let’s hope this will lead to more of his novels set in Italy.
- Carlo Vennarucci, February 2005