cover image The Rooster Bar

The Rooster Bar

John Grisham, read by Ari Fliakos. Random House Audio, , unabridged, 8 CDs, 10.5 hrs., $45 ISBN 978-0-399-56499-4

Grisham’s latest focuses on three law students—Mark Frazier, Todd Lucero, and Zola Maal—who, shaken by the suicide of their law school pal, Gordy Tanner, take stock of their student loan debts and dim job prospects. They decide to drop out and practice law without a license, and to scam the rich man profiting from their tuitions and loans. The author uses the resulting inventive and intriguing yarn to illuminate for-profit law schools, massive student debt, and harsh, family-destroying U.S. immigration policies (ICE sends Zola’s parents and older brother back to their native Senegal) without letting commentary overwhelm the novel’s entertainment value. His style is breezy and upbeat, as is reader Fliakos’s. The veteran actor reads the novel with a voice that accurately reflects the roller-coaster emotions of the three young protagonists. He also smartly captures their differing personalities—Mark’s self-confident, outgoing persona that can’t quite mask his fear of failure; Todd’s pragmatic pessimism; and Zola’s desperation, which overcomes her hesitancy about joining the team. Fliakos’s strong performance is both enjoyable and affecting. [em]A Doubleday hardcover. (Oct.) [/em]