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Mark, Todd, and Zola came to law school to change the world, to make it a better place. But now, as third-year students, these close friends realize they have been duped. They all borrowed heavily to attend a third-tier, for-profit law school so mediocre that its graduates rarely pass the bar exam, let alone get good jobs. And when they learn that their school is one of a Mark, Todd, and Zola came to law school to change the world, to make it a better place. But now, as third-year students, these close friends realize they have been duped. They all borrowed heavily to attend a third-tier, for-profit law school so mediocre that its graduates rarely pass the bar exam, let alone get good jobs. And when they learn that their school is one of a chain owned by a shady New York hedge-fund operator who also happens to own a bank specializing in student loans, the three know they have been caught up in The Great Law School Scam. But maybe there's a way out. Maybe there's a way to escape their crushing debt, expose the bank and the scam, and make a few bucks in the process. But to do so, they would first have to quit school. And leaving law school a few short months before graduation would be completely crazy, right? Well, yes and no . . . Pull up a stool, grab a cold one, and get ready to spend some time at The Rooster Bar.


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Mark, Todd, and Zola came to law school to change the world, to make it a better place. But now, as third-year students, these close friends realize they have been duped. They all borrowed heavily to attend a third-tier, for-profit law school so mediocre that its graduates rarely pass the bar exam, let alone get good jobs. And when they learn that their school is one of a Mark, Todd, and Zola came to law school to change the world, to make it a better place. But now, as third-year students, these close friends realize they have been duped. They all borrowed heavily to attend a third-tier, for-profit law school so mediocre that its graduates rarely pass the bar exam, let alone get good jobs. And when they learn that their school is one of a chain owned by a shady New York hedge-fund operator who also happens to own a bank specializing in student loans, the three know they have been caught up in The Great Law School Scam. But maybe there's a way out. Maybe there's a way to escape their crushing debt, expose the bank and the scam, and make a few bucks in the process. But to do so, they would first have to quit school. And leaving law school a few short months before graduation would be completely crazy, right? Well, yes and no . . . Pull up a stool, grab a cold one, and get ready to spend some time at The Rooster Bar.

30 review for The Rooster Bar: J.G. Edition

  1. 5 out of 5

    Joanne R. Merola

    Very disappointing Horrible unlikable idiotic criminal main characters; barely fleshed out plot; I had to force myself to finish it. I cannot believe John Grisham wrote this. Total waste of time (and money!).

  2. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Oh, Grisham...... You are like the gentleman caller who promises wine and roses, but in the aftermath, there's a bit of a dull headache and the barb of the thorn. My legs are dangling off a barstool in the ol' Rooster Bar. There's plenty to ponder here. Fellow occupants Mark, Todd, and Zola are in their third year of law school at Foggy Bottom (Yep). Many an individual drowns their sorrows here. But these law students, along with their buddy Gordy, are drowning in student loan debts. Just like the Oh, Grisham...... You are like the gentleman caller who promises wine and roses, but in the aftermath, there's a bit of a dull headache and the barb of the thorn. My legs are dangling off a barstool in the ol' Rooster Bar. There's plenty to ponder here. Fellow occupants Mark, Todd, and Zola are in their third year of law school at Foggy Bottom (Yep). Many an individual drowns their sorrows here. But these law students, along with their buddy Gordy, are drowning in student loan debts. Just like the crotchety bartender tops off your drink, Foggy Bottom adds another layer of debt each year.....only there's no delightful buzz involved. Promises of employment after graduation fizzles much like flat beer. Now desperation sets in and Gordy takes it to another level. He is becoming undone at a fast rate. His behavior is sporatic and he obsesses over details. There are papers tacked to the wall and scattered onto the floor in heaping piles in his apartment. Gordy is on to something big. But exactly what? His three friends keep a vigil over him. What to do about Gordy..... But when you fall off that barstool, don't get back on. Look for another bar. And that's exactly what Mark, Todd, and Zola intend to do. It's time to scam the scammers. When your back is against the wall, you don a more steely personality and you deal with it. And there's plenty of wheeling and dealing going on here. John Grisham seems to be re-creating himself in these later years. He tended to peter out a bit in The Whistler, but redeemed himself well into Camino Island. Grisham grabs text from daily headlines and circles the wagons around them. You'll see evidence of just that in The Rooster Bar. There are gaps in some of the premises that he throws into this one. But we are a forgiving lot and move along with the flow of the storyline. The Rooster Bar does entertain which is why I ratcheted it up to 4 stars. It delivers, but not at the 101 proof shot of Wild Turkey bourbon as in the past. There's still a kick to be had though.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    More disgruntled lawyer-types from Grisham doing questionable lawyer-type stuff. While not quite the same, I am reminded of The Litigators. If I ever really need a lawyer, I hope I don't end up with one from a Grisham novel! This book was like watching a trainwreck and was actually quite enjoyable. His recent efforts have been both good (Camino Island) and disappointing (The Whistler). Luckily this one falls into the good category. While the series of events within are far fetched (as they often More disgruntled lawyer-types from Grisham doing questionable lawyer-type stuff. While not quite the same, I am reminded of The Litigators. If I ever really need a lawyer, I hope I don't end up with one from a Grisham novel! This book was like watching a trainwreck and was actually quite enjoyable. His recent efforts have been both good (Camino Island) and disappointing (The Whistler). Luckily this one falls into the good category. While the series of events within are far fetched (as they often are with Grisham), I did not have a problem accepting them and enjoying the story. Sometimes if they are too far fetched or totally ridiculous, they are too distracting. If you are a fan of Grisham's legal dramas, you know what you are you are getting into and I can almost guarantee you are going to enjoy.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Marialyce

    Well this book certainly irritated me. I can not hold with the idea of would be pseudo lawyers pulling a scam on both unsuspecting clients and also corporations even if they are not on the up and up. Perhaps my attitude toward this book is influenced by the fact that my eldest daughter is an attorney. She worked hard through law school while holding a full time job, passed the bar in both NY and DC, and is paying back her student loans and oh by the way, she has a job. This book seemed to glorify Well this book certainly irritated me. I can not hold with the idea of would be pseudo lawyers pulling a scam on both unsuspecting clients and also corporations even if they are not on the up and up. Perhaps my attitude toward this book is influenced by the fact that my eldest daughter is an attorney. She worked hard through law school while holding a full time job, passed the bar in both NY and DC, and is paying back her student loans and oh by the way, she has a job. This book seemed to glorify the three main characters for pulling a scam. It annoyed me that the three protagonists were practicing law illegally on unknowing clients, skipping out on their last year in law school, and not paying their debt. They seemed to enjoy a lifestyle that while living on the edge once their identities were known and their ambitions revealed afforded them the ability to stay out of jail and not be prosecuted. So, this book did not work at all for me. I think there are many noble courageous lawyers out there and I really felt this book gave the entire profession a real black eye. When I finished reading this book I didn't throw it across the room (heck it was a library book), but I did rant about it to my husband. So, no recommendation coming from me on this one.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Let’s call it 3.5 stars John Grisham is back with yet another new take on the legal profession, shining lights where there has only been darkness, while entertaining readers in equal measure. Law school is a tough beast that only the fittest can survive. However, when Mark, Todd, and Zola arrived, they felt that their determination would help them sail through. Perusing the land into their last semester, all they can see are mountains of debt and a soon-to-be useless diploma from Foggy Bottom Law Let’s call it 3.5 stars John Grisham is back with yet another new take on the legal profession, shining lights where there has only been darkness, while entertaining readers in equal measure. Law school is a tough beast that only the fittest can survive. However, when Mark, Todd, and Zola arrived, they felt that their determination would help them sail through. Perusing the land into their last semester, all they can see are mountains of debt and a soon-to-be useless diploma from Foggy Bottom Law School, one of the lesser (lowest?) schools, located in the DC area. Armed with few paths to success and crippling financial ruin, they try to find an out. A fourth musketeer shines light on a potential grand scam, but has not taken the initiative to act on it. Tragic circumstances force Mark, Todd, and Zola to rethink their futures and the wheels begin to turn. Seeing hucksters on every corner, the three agree to create their own law firm and run it, without completing school or holding valid licenses. As long as they can stay one step ahead of the process, nothing can go wrong, right? Listing their firm out of the top floors of a bar, the three begin perusing the vulnerable at hospitals and in the courthouse. It takes guts, but there may be some return, as long as no one catches on. When a few larger cases get caught in their flimsy net, it’s time to weight the options between being caught and a massive payout. Greed trumps sense most times, but all three soon learn that legal matters can be as fragile as spun glass and lives are irreparably changed with one false move. As the cock crows on their legal (and personal) futures, The Rooster Bar may not be as fortuitous as they once hoped. Financial ruin may be the least of their worries, should all those who want their pound of flesh succeed in filing legal grievances. Grisham does a masterful job of painting an interesting legal picture while pulling on the heart strings of the reader. Fans of his work will like this one, as another one-off analyzes the wonders of the legal world, pitfalls and all. While some feel the need to take Grisham with a grain of salt, I like his varied approaches to the legal profession and feel that he has a firm grasp on many aspects that are forgotten in the genre. Grisham’s unique approach is what makes me come back for more, though the characters and story found herein are also quite entertaining. It is a wonderful collection of personalities that make the story all the more exciting. Three core law students who are trying to dodge their creditors and attempt to see above all that is crippling them helps lay the groundwork for the great bamboozling that is this novel. Varied in their backstories, Mark, Todd, and Zola all bring a strong core belief system to the story. The past they bring helps to individualise them, as well as injects some humour into what can sometimes be a string of serious aspects. Touching not only on the law, but on the struggles of students, Grisham does not candy-coat anything and wants only to offer the reader some insight into how horrid law school can be beneath the surface, when it comes to loans and repayment. The collection of other characters remain stellar, as Grisham brings even more to the table and forces the reader to go through all the ups and downs that accompany Russian Roulette legal practice. The story itself is intriguing, even if it does not tap into the core of legal conundrums (as Grisham has done in the past). There is something here that cannot be dismissed and building on all the varied aspects of the story to create a checkerboard of drama and entertainment, Grisham keeps the reader in the middle of all the action. Between the DC issues and those across the world, there is little time for the reader to sit back and relax, though there is also little interest in remaining passive. Perhaps not his most gripping story, but Grisham is sure to pack a punch when the reader invests the needed time getting to the root of the issues here. I can only hope that there are more flashy stories like this to come. Kudos, Mr. Grisham, for all you do. I know it must be tough, up to your twenty-fifth legal novel now, but you do it all so well. Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/ A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Marcia

    I was so looking forward to this book. I usually love reading John Grisham’s legal thrillers. The Rooster Bar started slowly and soon was all over the place. The social issues , which the author is known to address , were all over the place and there were too many diversions along the way. The characters were shallow and I didn’t like any of them. I understood their plight and empathized for a while until I just couldn’t stand any of them. When good people use victimization as an excuse to do ba I was so looking forward to this book. I usually love reading John Grisham’s legal thrillers. The Rooster Bar started slowly and soon was all over the place. The social issues , which the author is known to address , were all over the place and there were too many diversions along the way. The characters were shallow and I didn’t like any of them. I understood their plight and empathized for a while until I just couldn’t stand any of them. When good people use victimization as an excuse to do bad deeds, I lose sympathy. This book was a major disappointment. I felt that Mr Grisham was churning out a book to beet a deadline.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    Grisham's writing never disappoints! The Rooster Bar is atmospheric, deep, well-detailed and gripping. I feel though like I'll soon be in the same boat as the main characters, as I'll have to borrow at least $70,000 in student loans for law school in the next few years. Scary as hell! This book is impressive though, and it reminded me of the early 2000's Canadian film The Last Casino, with young, naive students enchanted and later horrified by the prospect of money and the ways in which a scam c Grisham's writing never disappoints! The Rooster Bar is atmospheric, deep, well-detailed and gripping. I feel though like I'll soon be in the same boat as the main characters, as I'll have to borrow at least $70,000 in student loans for law school in the next few years. Scary as hell! This book is impressive though, and it reminded me of the early 2000's Canadian film The Last Casino, with young, naive students enchanted and later horrified by the prospect of money and the ways in which a scam can warp altruism into corruption and deception.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Gareth Otton

    How sad is it that Mr Grisham has fallen so far that he can't even identify the interesting elements in his own stories anymore? (Warning, this review contains spoilers) (view spoiler)[ I was so excited at the start of this novel because it felt like old school John Grisham. We are presented with four student friends who have all been tricked into taking out massive student loans for a law degree from a joke of a law school that will end up leaving them jobless and over a quarter of a million in d How sad is it that Mr Grisham has fallen so far that he can't even identify the interesting elements in his own stories anymore? (Warning, this review contains spoilers) (view spoiler)[ I was so excited at the start of this novel because it felt like old school John Grisham. We are presented with four student friends who have all been tricked into taking out massive student loans for a law degree from a joke of a law school that will end up leaving them jobless and over a quarter of a million in debt. One of their friends, already struggling with bipolar disorder, is so stressed out by this that it leads him down a spiral that eventually ends in him taking his own life. However, before he did so he had spent hours pulling together a lot of evidence that proves that though what their law school was doing was legal, it was also a massive scam that was making some people very rich. At this point, I start rubbing my hands together in anticipation of an underdog story of three friends, united by the suicide of another friend, deciding that it's time to take action against this institution. As failed law students and barely aware of the law, there's not much they can do about it, but they are so tenacious in their search for justice for their friend, that they just won't take no for answer. Sound interesting? I thought so. Sadly that's not what we got. Instead, we move onto a new case, this one a deportation case. Zola, one of the three friends, faces an awkward situation where her mother, father and brother face deportation because they came to the US illegally before Zola was born. Not quite as interesting as the first case maybe, but I was still intrigued. Maybe these 3 law school dropouts had decided that they had already suffered one great injustice this year, and it was long past time to put another one to rights. So maybe they were going to team up to fight the deportation of her parents. Again, sadly, no. Instead, we get a story about how these three students decide to drop out of law school just one semester before graduation and start practising law illegally. They assume false identities and chase what they think of as easy cases, all the while deliberately defaulting on their loans. It's at this point that I was muttering "What the F***?" over and over. What possible logic could there be in illegally doing something that, if they just waited one semester, they could actually do legally? It just didn't make any sense and was guaranteed to end badly. The large majority of the novel is basically my prediction playing out and it was not in the slightest bit interesting. Now, there is a third act twist where they try to pull all this together, but it just didn't fly and it was too little too late. By this time I already severely disliked all 3 main characters and was not at all rooting for anyone in this story. Basically, it was a confused novel that was extremely tedious by the end. Worse, it didn't even feel competently told. The three main characters in the book were so bland that I often struggled to tell the two main male characters apart and often forgot who was who, and Zola might as well have not been in the book. She puts in zero effort throughout the entire novel, contributes nothing other than the deportation subplot, and just felt completely out of place. At so many points in this novel, I was scratching my head and asking, "Wait. What's happening? I'm lost." This is because the many story threads that were supposed to be tied together by the main characters were barely held together and just seemed to float there as separate entities that it was just hard to keep track of. (hide spoiler)] Overall, I'm going to have to give this one a 2-star review because it was okay at best. This is sad being as this is from an author that I once consistently gave 4 and 5-star reviews. It seems like at some point over the last 5-10 years, Mr Grisham has lost his nack. Enough said. It's a 2-star review that was b0rdering on being a 1.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

    The Rooster Bar is a tale of four friends attending law school when they figure out the loans they took out for the second rate school is somewhat of a scam. They devise a plan to expose the shady lenders. They're going to pretend to be lawyers working for a firm. Nothing is real, it's all made up. A few of the characters have their own challenges going on. In the end it all ties together and it's good fun lawyer reading. Grisham can be hit or miss for me. This was a hit.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Not bad at all. The three characters were amusing in their shenanigans and their banter was entertaining. I was hesitant to read this because as a doctoral student, student loan debt hits home. But in the end it is a John Grisham novel so for me, a need to read. Most are going to admit wasn’t very thrilling as some of his legal thrillers but it offered a quick, entertaining story. I remember reading some stuff on how some people are considering law school to be a Ponzi scheme and also the Atlant Not bad at all. The three characters were amusing in their shenanigans and their banter was entertaining. I was hesitant to read this because as a doctoral student, student loan debt hits home. But in the end it is a John Grisham novel so for me, a need to read. Most are going to admit wasn’t very thrilling as some of his legal thrillers but it offered a quick, entertaining story. I remember reading some stuff on how some people are considering law school to be a Ponzi scheme and also the Atlantic article (was researching stuff for a legal course awhile back) on the Law School scam that inspired Grisham to write the book. It’s rather interesting reading if you are interested it is readily available online. My quick and simple overall: good but not great. However worth checking out.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    John Grisham takes on for-profit law schools, and wins! "The Rooster Bar" is about a group of law school students who realize they've been scammed, and then try to do something about it. They each owe about $200,000 in debt, and the job market for new lawyers is so bad they don't have any hope of finding a professional job. Besides, they doubt they could even pass the bar exam because their law school has such low standards. I don't read a lot of Grisham, but I picked up this one because I was int John Grisham takes on for-profit law schools, and wins! "The Rooster Bar" is about a group of law school students who realize they've been scammed, and then try to do something about it. They each owe about $200,000 in debt, and the job market for new lawyers is so bad they don't have any hope of finding a professional job. Besides, they doubt they could even pass the bar exam because their law school has such low standards. I don't read a lot of Grisham, but I picked up this one because I was interested in his take on for-profit schools. He came up with some good plot twists, and while I don't condone the fraudulent actions the students take to try and get even, it was an enjoyable ride of a novel. Recommended.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Judy Collins

    4.5 Stars #1 New York Times bestselling author, John Grisham returns following Camino Island with his 25th novel THE ROOSTER BAR — a legal thriller exploring conspiracies inside for-profit law schools and the lives it destroys in this modern-day scandal ripped from today’s headlines. Inspired by an article in the Atlantic called “The Law-School Scam,” a lengthy investigation of for-profit law schools, the author takes off an inside look at corruption in the legal field and student loans. Gordy, 4.5 Stars #1 New York Times bestselling author, John Grisham returns following Camino Island with his 25th novel THE ROOSTER BAR — a legal thriller exploring conspiracies inside for-profit law schools and the lives it destroys in this modern-day scandal ripped from today’s headlines. Inspired by an article in the Atlantic called “The Law-School Scam,” a lengthy investigation of for-profit law schools, the author takes off an inside look at corruption in the legal field and student loans. Gordy, Mark, Todd, and Zola each have their own stories and how they landed at Foggy Bottom— a third-tier for-profit law school. Each has borrowed heavily and student loans are enormous, there is no way they will ever attain a job to begin paying back this debt. Each of the three is drowning in student debt, which it would seem will be impossible to ever pay off. Mark owes $266,000; Todd, $195,000; Zola, $191,000. Foggy Bottom had enticed them to take out huge federally backed loans — from an equally disreputable bank that offered easy money with the false prospect that they would get high-paying jobs immediately upon being graduated and passing the bar. They each had high expectations as well as their families. Soon they realize there is more to the story. Gordy (bi-polar), is engaged to be married (to wealthy white girl from his hometown); however, seeing Zola on the side. She is black Muslim-American. Gordy has done much research and lays out all the players for the group. His obsession turns to madness quickly and they all are concerned. Their school is owned by a corrupt New York hedge-fund operator Hinds Rackley, who also happens to own a bank specializing in student loans, and connected with various law firms. He is a billionaire and using thousands of students to bankroll his lifestyle. A scam. However, what will they do with this information? Who will believe them? They are in their third year and the $$$ and interest are mounting daily. Drowning in debt, pressures from debt collectors, and no promise of a job, they set out on a dangerous course to try and outsmart the conman. They will never be able to repay this debt. Gordy cannot take it anymore. After he is gone, they decide they will honor him by fighting back the best way they can to survive. Taking a page from SUITS, (even though I think Michael Ross is smarter); they decide they will practice law without a law degree. Going rogue is a little difficult when they do not have the funds to make this work, or will they? Will they be able to pull off their own scam to con a con, (David vs. Goliath) without being sent to prison before they are found out? In the meantime, who will bring down the bigger scam that drove them to desperate measures? With only Mark, Todd, and Zola remaining, they will have to stay one step ahead of the impending danger, in order to beat the system. Mixed with legal-drama, suspense, action, and humor, THE ROOSTER BAR uncovers greed, conspiracy, and throws in Zola’s family issues (deportation) for added conflict in this compelling thriller. "More than 44 million Americans who have borrowed money to pay for college owe over $1.4 trillion in student loan debt." More fact than fiction — we are well aware, the significant number of real-life American millennials duped by unscrupulous banks and businesses today, is astounding. I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Ari Fliakos for an entertaining listening experience. The entire time I was reading/listening kept thinking about Roosters, the popular gay bar here in West Palm Beach, FL with the Best Drag Show and has been around for over 30 yrs. Love the Cover and the Title! JDCMustReadBooks

  13. 5 out of 5

    ☮Karen

    3.5 stars A big thank you to Goodreads giveaways for an ARC copy of this book. I'm a loyal Grisham fan, and this one did not disappoint. It didn't exactly thrill me or delight me, but it was an enjoyable way to pass some reading time and kept my attention throughout. The focus is on businesses passing themselves off as schools (here it's a D.C. law school) which really are only in it for the money and do not prepare it's students for actual careers, at all. In this case, four third-year students a 3.5 stars A big thank you to Goodreads giveaways for an ARC copy of this book. I'm a loyal Grisham fan, and this one did not disappoint. It didn't exactly thrill me or delight me, but it was an enjoyable way to pass some reading time and kept my attention throughout. The focus is on businesses passing themselves off as schools (here it's a D.C. law school) which really are only in it for the money and do not prepare it's students for actual careers, at all. In this case, four third-year students are among the many who have each accumulated close to a quarter million dollars in college loans, with no foreseeable way of paying the money back. This part of the story was interesting as I've heard of such cases in other so-called schools and cannot believe they're allowed to ruin so many innocent lives. Three of the four devise a scheme to get revenge on the one guy who seems most guilty of cheating the students, and revenge is sweet, yes, except... (view spoiler)[ when you realize how many other laws are broken seeking this revenge. (hide spoiler)] That was my main reason for not loving the story. I guess I didn't get to the point where I loved these characters so much, that I'd accept anything and everything they did to get out of the trouble they were in. Never got to that point, so could not love the ending. Regardless, I'll still read anything and everything this man writes!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Fred

    John Grisham - Group This is another great Grisham book with a easy theme to follow & one of today's greatest legal crime - "For-Profit Law Schools". NY times & John Grisham's CBS interview links at the bottom of this review you must visit! John Grisham link talks of the book. I feel it could be made into another of his great movies. This book is new, why are aren't more of us reading it?! The "NY Times newspaper (Aug. 15, 2017) For profit Charlotte School of Law closes" link shows how t John Grisham - Group This is another great Grisham book with a easy theme to follow & one of today's greatest legal crime - "For-Profit Law Schools". NY times & John Grisham's CBS interview links at the bottom of this review you must visit! John Grisham link talks of the book. I feel it could be made into another of his great movies. This book is new, why are aren't more of us reading it?! The "NY Times newspaper (Aug. 15, 2017) For profit Charlotte School of Law closes" link shows how today's college costs are unrealistic. Costs are increasing & some colleges are only looking for profit!! Shouldn't monies paid to colleges prepare students for the hurdles encountered later in life....?? This book shows 4 college students attend & "fail" their scholastic goals. Their investment was not being returned. Hence, it was a better achievement & power retribution against Foggy Bottom Law School college controlling & taking their money...to close them!! Four Foggy Bottom Law School college students have been "scammed" with college loans impossible to pay & get their careers started. Law degrees take 3 years to complete. They each borrowed more than $65,000 per year with poor classes & NO education. Hinds Rackley's Swift Bank owns the college & has over $4.2 billion profit providing their POOR Law School educations with student loan scams. Mark Frazier, Todd Lucero, Zola Maal & Gordy Tanner owe over $900,000 together. One works at a dive called The Rooster Bar (hence the name of the book) above the bar is where they set up their headquarters. One of the 4 classmates devises a plan for retribution, but pressures are too much & it leads one of them to suicide. The other 3 skip their final semester, successfully uncover the Hinds Rackley's Swift Bank scam & they are arrested. Unfortunately, Zola's family has been deported to Africa. But the end is good... (view spoiler)[They take back a portion of money to pay their college loans, have retribution to close the Foggy Bottom Law college, provide money to help other students that were "scammed" and ends in a good affiliation between themselves ...... In Africa, they find Zola's family. They create new names, Mark is Chris Vidal, Todd is Tommy Didier & Zola is Alima Pene. A happy life follows opening as new upscale bar together for "memories" of success in... The Rooster Bar. (hide spoiler)] YOU TUBE link to watch - John Grisham's interview on how For-Profit College debt crisis inspired The Rooster Bar (CBS This Morning) NY Times newspaper (Aug. 15, 2017) For profit Charlotte School of Law closes

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tooter

    4 Stars. Surprisingly enjoyable.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Todd Hogan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 57 years ago, readers were introduced to the upright, morally independent attorney Atticus Finch. He was a lawyer to be emulated. Now, Grisham gives us three morally stunted law students who decide to skip the last semester of law school and begin the unauthorized practice of law. They hustle DUI and small misdemeanors clients by slipping into the zoo of crowded courthouses. They hustle a med mal case involving the death of a child, then they blow the statute of limitations. Their motivation? To 57 years ago, readers were introduced to the upright, morally independent attorney Atticus Finch. He was a lawyer to be emulated. Now, Grisham gives us three morally stunted law students who decide to skip the last semester of law school and begin the unauthorized practice of law. They hustle DUI and small misdemeanors clients by slipping into the zoo of crowded courthouses. They hustle a med mal case involving the death of a child, then they blow the statute of limitations. Their motivation? To avoid paying the crushing educational loans they voluntarily incurred, to avoid the embarrassment of failing the DC bar, and to forego seeking a real lawyer job in a difficult job market. This could have been a comedy, and there is a certain lightness in the style. But this is no laughing matter. The three protagonists are portrayed as sympathetic (a DACA woman whose parents face deportation, a young man whose poor younger brother is facing jail time for drug trafficking and hopes his law student brother can help him, and another man whose success so far has been bartending and so acts as a sounding board for others.) But they are felons, which they admit. There is little discussion of the people they have scammed, and the parents of the dead baby are portrayed as culpable themselves for waiting so long to seek legal help. There is no discussion of the fees they have stolen from other hardworking attorneys. It's all a lark, and all someone else's fault. Ultimately, the three escape retribution for their crimes and steal additional millions by creating fictitious clients for a class action so that the three students can fraudulently collect legal fees, then retire to a remote, non-extraditable but beach-friendly country. A fantasy ending to real world problems. None of the attorneys in this book come off well. A female prosecutor is portrayed as someone who sleeps around aggressively in a competition with her female roommate. Other attorneys are trapped hustling at hospitals, paying bribes to police officers and ambulance drivers. No one shows the character traits of an Atticus Finch, or even a Perry Mason. So, over all, I am saddened by the portrayal of a profession that strives at its best to help others. No doubt there are abuses and weaknesses, as there are in any occupation since there are weaknesses in human nature. This book is a disappointment at portraying any moral compass. What is the profession coming to? I guess they are the convenient bad guys these days.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    Very enjoyable! Quick, funny, smart, likeable characters...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    I like John Grisham books. They are like going to your favorite diner or regular restaurant, you know what you are going to get, it’s familiar and comforting. I describe these meals as pleasant, food has the same taste, same waiter/waitress. Generally the only time that meal isn’t good is when you decide to try something else and it’s not as good, you leave feeling unsatisfied and fulfilled. Grisham’s book, “Rooster Bar” left me unfulfilled. I finished it and two things came to mind, glad I got i I like John Grisham books. They are like going to your favorite diner or regular restaurant, you know what you are going to get, it’s familiar and comforting. I describe these meals as pleasant, food has the same taste, same waiter/waitress. Generally the only time that meal isn’t good is when you decide to try something else and it’s not as good, you leave feeling unsatisfied and fulfilled. Grisham’s book, “Rooster Bar” left me unfulfilled. I finished it and two things came to mind, glad I got it from the library (free) and with so many books to read, maybe I didn’t need to have read this after all. I did not like the characters and there was no good versus evil theme, this time everyone is bad.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Johnny Carr

    I won an advanced reader's copy of this book. It is typical John Grisham and I loved it. His imagination is amazing. I finished the book after work in three afternoons. If you are a fan Grisham, you will not be disappointed!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    Ok at best, painful through most, still not a bad story... I generally love Grisham, especially the legal thrillers, however the best word I can use for this one is lazy, kinda like he wrote part, then changed his mind, then added that part, etc. (Caution some possible spoilers below). For the majority of the book, you're not sure if you even want to cheer for the main characters. They're ridiculously stupid and it's painful to go from one utterly moronic decision to the next. You kinda expect the Ok at best, painful through most, still not a bad story... I generally love Grisham, especially the legal thrillers, however the best word I can use for this one is lazy, kinda like he wrote part, then changed his mind, then added that part, etc. (Caution some possible spoilers below). For the majority of the book, you're not sure if you even want to cheer for the main characters. They're ridiculously stupid and it's painful to go from one utterly moronic decision to the next. You kinda expect them to have the same fate as their friend. But, in a boring yet typical style (did I mention boring), they survive it all and and live happily ever after on a beach half way around the world (that's so predicable it's not even funny). Usually you'd be happy for them, but because they were such idiots, you're not even sure. Before you rag on me, again, I like Grisham, but, I dunno, maybe he's just getting old and tired...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Disappointing Early on I loved all of the John Grisham stories. A Time to Kill, The Firm, The Chamber. They had likable protagonists. In this latest offering we have neither a good story or a likable protagonist. I had hopes after Camino Island that he was back but it does not appear that is the case. Mark, Todd, and Zola are in their third year of studying law at Foggy Bottom. May be one of them had been motivated because they wanted a career where they could help people and make difference but o Disappointing Early on I loved all of the John Grisham stories. A Time to Kill, The Firm, The Chamber. They had likable protagonists. In this latest offering we have neither a good story or a likable protagonist. I had hopes after Camino Island that he was back but it does not appear that is the case. Mark, Todd, and Zola are in their third year of studying law at Foggy Bottom. May be one of them had been motivated because they wanted a career where they could help people and make difference but others seem to have been motivated by a promise of a career with a huge salary. They could not be accepted at Stanford, Harvard, or any prestigious law school. They choose Foggy Bottom based on slick brochures. Now in their third year no one has promised them a job and they have a mountain of debt. Their immediate future is to pass the bar and begin paying off that debt. Rather than do that they decide to expose their school for what it is. A for profit school owned by a shady New York hedge-fund operator. Just one of chain. He also owns a bank specializing in student loans. Mark, Todd, and Zola are not alone. Some may not make it and take a desperate path. Most will see it through. They will finish their final semester and study for the bar. Some will pass and others will not. They will find jobs ... in the legal sector, or the public sector, or somewhere else. The point is that they will move forward to the next phase of their life. Not Mark, Todd, and Zola. They decide to drop out, practice law without a license, and expose the school and bank. And to make some money in the process. Often when I start a book I may not like the protagonist but he or she grows on me as I read. This was not the case here. If anything I found that I liked Mark, Todd, and Zola less. Zola was somewhat likable and I had some sympathy for her. Overall these characters had no interest in the law, in helping others, in making a positive difference. They were self centered and only thinking of themselves. Grisham's earliest books were something to look forward to. As soon as they were released I eagerly bought them. Before reading a single review. Recently they are hit or miss. I still read them but I borrow from my local library rather than spend the money publishers expect readers to fork over nowadays. I cannot say that I am looking forward to his next book. Lets just say I hope it won't be yet another miss.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Susanne

    Countless times we’ve been told about the importance of the first sentence of a book. We are told that editors and publishers scrutinize the first sentence and if they don’t like, you lost a deal. Many books might not get written because the budding writer cannot think of the perfect opening. Yet, for a reader, the last sentence makes or brakes the story. It is what will sound in our ears for some time after we closed the book. While reading “The Rooster Bar” I admit thinking that it is not Grisha Countless times we’ve been told about the importance of the first sentence of a book. We are told that editors and publishers scrutinize the first sentence and if they don’t like, you lost a deal. Many books might not get written because the budding writer cannot think of the perfect opening. Yet, for a reader, the last sentence makes or brakes the story. It is what will sound in our ears for some time after we closed the book. While reading “The Rooster Bar” I admit thinking that it is not Grisham’s Best. But when I came to the last sentence I knew I liked the book. Liked it very much. He created very likeable characters despite them being liars, cheaters, dropouts, criminals even. No pretense, no hypocrisy. Identifiable with anyone of us. Driven by a simple urge to make some living and escape the debts, frustrated when found out that they've been scammed they make lots of mistakes. Grisham also briefly, but cleverly touched the problem of illegal immigration and the consequences of deportation. All in all, I think the book is great and the last sentence is excellent.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    This wasn't quite 4 stars, but I'll round up for the beginning and the ending. I've enjoyed Grisham novels, mostly his legal thrillers. I liked the humor, the dialogue, and the characters the most in this one. The hook in the beginning was effective and pulled me right in. I kept thinking this was the best Grisham novel I've read in a while. That feeling lasted for the first third of this book. That is where the story deviates from the hook and becomes about something entirely different. For me, This wasn't quite 4 stars, but I'll round up for the beginning and the ending. I've enjoyed Grisham novels, mostly his legal thrillers. I liked the humor, the dialogue, and the characters the most in this one. The hook in the beginning was effective and pulled me right in. I kept thinking this was the best Grisham novel I've read in a while. That feeling lasted for the first third of this book. That is where the story deviates from the hook and becomes about something entirely different. For me, the shift was a missed opportunity but that is probably because I've read many of his books and maybe I expected the whole conspiracy theories and class action lawsuits to be more central. These remained in the periphery. This may not have been what I expected, but I still enjoyed it. I liked the characters a lot, and I enjoyed the ending. So 4 stars.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    When I was about 100 pages, or a third of the way through this book, I found myself stopping to ponder. You know, I have never really ever read anything by John Grisham book that I didn’t enjoy. I went through all of his titles in my head, and yes, I liked some more than others, but I can’t say I didn’t like any of them. Grisham’s worst is still better than most everyone else. That is until now… Grisham’s new legal (if you can call it that) thriller, “The Rooster Bar” starts off during the Christ When I was about 100 pages, or a third of the way through this book, I found myself stopping to ponder. You know, I have never really ever read anything by John Grisham book that I didn’t enjoy. I went through all of his titles in my head, and yes, I liked some more than others, but I can’t say I didn’t like any of them. Grisham’s worst is still better than most everyone else. That is until now… Grisham’s new legal (if you can call it that) thriller, “The Rooster Bar” starts off during the Christmas holiday season, with four law school students and buddies – Gordy, Mark, Todd, and Zola – going into their last semester before graduation and the payback of their outstanding six-figure loan debt. Each of them has borrowed heavily to attend a lower-tier and lower-rated law school for profit. A school so mediocre that its graduates are rarely able to pass the bar exam and get the higher paying jobs most law students dream of. One of them, Gordy, has researched further to discover their law school is one of a chain owned by a disreputable New York hedge-fund investor. Using shell companies, the investor also owns a bank specializing in student loans to the chain schools, as well as a group of low-scale law firms hiring the students for those schools. It is a greatly orchestrated law school scam in which they are now involved. After a dramatic and personal loss, three of them quit school, acquire new identities, and start practicing law without licenses out of a local joined called the Rooster Bar. There are challenges along the way and it doesn’t take long for them in to get into trouble with unsatisfied clients, other cutthroat lawyers, and eventually law enforcement. In addition, Zola’s parents and brother are taken by federal authorities and deported to Senegal, causing her to work through the challenges of corruption in her home county’s legal system in hopes of saving their lives. Eventually, as with other Grisham novels, the three eventually hatch a risky plan in hopes of getting back at the evil hedge-fund investor, the bad guy that created their unfair student loan situations. I will keep from spoiling the details and the various plot outcomes for those who want the experience of reading the book for themselves. This book brought home for me a certain truth. John Grisham is an excellent storyteller. He can write an instruction manual or a cookbook and I would somehow be drawn in to his masterful prose. His writing flows in a way that few writers can capture. I often find myself losing track of time, staying up late and ignoring other responsibilities when I am devouring a Grisham book. Unfortunately, it is that very great writing style that exposes the weaknesses of this book, which is that of a weak plot, less than interesting male protagonists, and a less than stellar ending. The plot lacks any real sustaining interest or suspense for the reader. The conflict does not create much worry or risk for the characters outcome. I was never scared that something really bad was going to happen them in terms of physical harm or serious legal penalties. And although I was drawn into Zola’s fight to save her parents, both Mark and Todd were one dimensional and provided no reason for sympathy or empathy. I had no reason to cheer them on, and the more mistakes they made, it was even tougher to side with them. What ended up saving the book and keeping my interest was Grisham’s strong writing. My enjoyment of his style kept me going to finish the book, even when the ending petered out in a very predictable and flat manner. Overall, this would have been a good short story or novella, but there just wasn’t enough content for a novel length adventure. Grisham’s storytelling power still reigns, but this story needed more tension, suspense, and content to carry the length of a novel. It needed characters that I cared for and rooted for them to overcome their conflicts and challenges. And it needed an ending where I didn’t think so what about the outcome. That’s it? Really? I guess there’s always a first, even for the best of them. I can't believe I am saying this, but better luck next time John…

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cody | codysbookshelf

    I finished this book in two sittings: on my lunch break and on my bed the moment I got home. I didn’t get up to eat dinner, use the bathroom, anything. The Rooster Bar is one of those books. Like almost every Grisham novel, this is a high-stakes crime thriller . . . but the stakes here feel so much higher than in his other books — at least the ones I’ve read, which I admit isn’t a large number. Three laws students mired in debt without any job prospectives on the horizon decide to drop out of si I finished this book in two sittings: on my lunch break and on my bed the moment I got home. I didn’t get up to eat dinner, use the bathroom, anything. The Rooster Bar is one of those books. Like almost every Grisham novel, this is a high-stakes crime thriller . . . but the stakes here feel so much higher than in his other books — at least the ones I’ve read, which I admit isn’t a large number. Three laws students mired in debt without any job prospectives on the horizon decide to drop out of sight, change their identity . . . and become faux street lawyers. They know the ropes (well, some of them) and they put up a front. And they’re successful. At least for a while. Then the phony partnership go after bigger fish, more money . . . and from there unfolds one of Grisham’s most captivating plots to date. Does that sound hokey? Silly? Yes, maybe it does. But this book really spoke to me: the frustration with college, the fears of the future, the desire (and, in these characters’ cases, success) to start all over and go on an adventure — an adventure with quite the cash prize, if all goes well. That spoke to where I am at right now. And Grisham writes this story with the reverence, skill, and knowledge that is present in all his works. Surely one of my picks for favorite new release of the year, this was a book I just could not put down. Check it out — but not with any pressing plans.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sherri Thacker

    WOW! Another great book by John Grisham but then I love most of his books. Grisham just has a way of telling a great story! Will be thinking about this one for a long time and wondering how they pulled off what they did for so long.

  27. 5 out of 5

    debra

    Entertaining for the most part. Matt wrote a good review of this title.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Monnie

    "O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive!" -- Sir Walter Scott I lost count of the times that quote popped into my head as I followed the adventures (and misadventures) of law school students Todd, Mark and Zola. Just one semester away from graduation at the Foggy Bottom Law School in Washington, D.C., the friends realize their school is mostly a sham and they're hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt with no hope of getting meaningful employment even if th "O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive!" -- Sir Walter Scott I lost count of the times that quote popped into my head as I followed the adventures (and misadventures) of law school students Todd, Mark and Zola. Just one semester away from graduation at the Foggy Bottom Law School in Washington, D.C., the friends realize their school is mostly a sham and they're hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt with no hope of getting meaningful employment even if they pass the bar exam (which, not insignificantly, most graduates fail to do). On top of that, Zola's parents, who have been in the United States as productive, but illegal, residents for nearly a quarter of a century, are in danger of being summarily rounded up and kicked back to their native Senegal. It's a bleak outlook all around, to say the least. But then comes the discovery that their for-profit diploma is one of several owned by a filthy rich guy who also owns a bank that hustles student loans. So as they gather 'round a table at the neighborhood Rooster Bar, a plan starts to hatch - one that begins with dropping out of school. In a very real sense, though, their plan is nothing to crow about. From the start - with the tactics they'll take to earn money to live on - virtually everything they do is illegal and could land them in jail if they're caught. It's also a seat-of-the-pants operation; as one door closes, they're forced to find another one that opens - and so it continues until the end, when everything that goes around, comes around. How they pull everything off admittedly tests the limits of credibility here and there, but it also provides a wild but enjoyable romp for readers as well as a chance for the author to put the spotlight on injustices (as he sees them) in the student loan industry and immigration policies. Kudos for another one well done!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Stacy Bearse

    I picked up Grisham’s new novel expecting another top-tier legal thriller. Instead, I discovered an entertaining farce, centered on the law, but exploring its extreme fringes. This is a book that Elmore Leonard might have written if he had earned a Juris Doctorate. High praise, indeed.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Amiee

    Couldn’t put this one down!

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