I have read the 94th book for the book challenge. It was The Pelican Brief: A Novel by John Grisham.
Just as the Supreme Court is opening for the session, two Supreme Court justices are murdered–assassinated. One is the oldest member, an extreme liberal on the Court. The other is the youngest, a conservative, and until his death, was not known to be a homosexual. What did they have in common?
A young Tulane Law School student named Darby Shaw does a bit of research into possible cases that will come up for review before the Court in coming years that could benefit from the removal of these two justices from the bench. She find a case before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals known as the Pelican Case. It involved a wealthy oil speculator named Victor Mattiece who was buying land in Louisiana with an eye to drilling oil and gas and a suit by The Green Fund to stop him. The Green Fund lost the case but appealed and his drilling rights have been tied up ever since. The case will come before the Supreme Court in three to five years. Darby writes a brief outlining the case and the potential and includes a photo showing Mattiece and the President at a fund-raiser.
Darby’s boyfriend, law professor Thomas Callahan, gives the brief to his friend, FBI attorney Gavin Verheek. Verheek gives it to the FBI Director F.Denton Voyles because they have no other leads. It’s a shot in the dark, but at least it’s something. Voyles gives it to the President and to Coal, the Chief of Staff. The President doesn’t want this to get out. It would be bad for his reelection. He asks Voyles to hold off on it for a week. After a week, he asks Voyles to drop it completely. Little does he know that Voyles is wearing a wire and the whole conversation is taped.
Soon after giving the brief to Verheek, Callahan and Darby are out to dinner. Callahan is drunk and stumbles to his car. Darby refuses to get in the car with him. He drinks away and the car explodes. There was a fire bomb. There are also two suspicious men at the bomb scene asking after Darby.
Gavin Verheek comes to the funeral. Darby goes into hiding in fear of her life. She knows the bomb was meant for her. Verheek tries to get her to come back to Washington with him where he assures her that she will be safe. She is too paranoid to trust him. She sees the people who are following her at the memorial service for Callahan. She agrees to meet Verheek at a mall. She makes elaborate plans, but doesn’t know they are being recorded by an assassin. The assassin kills Verheek and meets Darby. As the assassin and Darby are leaving the mall, a CIA operative kills the assassin. Darby escapes and goes back into hiding.
Darby next contact Gray Grantham, a reporter with the Washington Post. She wants to give him the story but also to get him to help her if he can. Grantham has a source inside the White House that helps him. Darby tells him about the pelican brief. Grantham tries to find out about it on his own. The White House is scared when they find out Grantham is asking about the pelican brief.
Darby keeps a complex schedule of changing hiding places and changing her appearance. She uses only cash. She changes planes in different cities. She finally goes to New York City. She agrees to meet Grantham in New York City. There she recreates the pelican brief and tells her story. She also sees one of the men who is tracking her. They make plans for Darby to come to Washington, D.C.
Grantham must find Garcia, a young lawyer who says he has a document that shows who killed the two Supreme Court justices. He had contacted Grantham but then was scared. When Darby reaches Washington, D.C., they embark on a search for him. They discover that he has been killed–mugged–but that he left a safety deposit box with a document and a tape inside. The document is an affidavit and a memo that shows that Victor Mattiece wanted the two justices removed from the Court because they both supported environmental issues. This is the confirmation Grantham needs for the story.
The newspaper makes the necessary phones calls to the parties involved. The White House is shaken to its core. The FBI is ready to fight the White House. The CIA is on the hunt for Victor Mattiece who has fled the country. One of the lawyers for Mattiece has committed suicide.
Darby has left the country for the Caribbean. This is what she’s been wanting. She has now grieved for Thomas and started to heal. And now Grantham comes to join her.
This was a book that I could not put down. Usually I read a chapter or two and then come back to a book a day or two later. Not this one. I read it through in two days straight. I absolutely loved it. Enough said.