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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Master storyteller
Grisham has literally before our eyes turned into a master storyteller with his book, THE TESTAMENT. His characterizations are vivid in depth portrayals and his smooth plots go down like a shot of Jack Daniels on a hot summer afternoon. As the plot the book progresses, the characters find themselves in life-and-death situations, entangled in the legal process, and...
Published on June 28 2004

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Obsess Much?
John Grisham has written a novel with almost no sympathetic characters. There's a huge amount of money to be divided up by an eccentric billionaire...all of his relatives are greedy, almost worthless human beings. Nate, the guy sent to find one last heir, is a recovering alcoholic/drug addict...I personally didn't care who got the money, but John Grisham really seems to...
Published on June 21 2004 by Moonlight Graham


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Master storyteller, June 28 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Testament (Mass Market Paperback)
Grisham has literally before our eyes turned into a master storyteller with his book, THE TESTAMENT. His characterizations are vivid in depth portrayals and his smooth plots go down like a shot of Jack Daniels on a hot summer afternoon. As the plot the book progresses, the characters find themselves in life-and-death situations, entangled in the legal process, and fighting against others and their own wills. Will Nate ever find Rachel? And if so, what is she like? Will she accept Troy's fortune? Will the greedy Phelan family get to it first? The Testament has a detailed and gripping plot, threading the legal world to that of our own actions and resolve. John Grisham has written another best seller, one that everyone is sure to appreciate. Not since McCrae's THE BARK OF THE DOGWOOD and Grisham's KING OF TORTS have I so enjoyed a book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Obsess Much?, June 21 2004
By 
Moonlight Graham "Ben" (Chicago, Illinois United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Testament (Mass Market Paperback)
John Grisham has written a novel with almost no sympathetic characters. There's a huge amount of money to be divided up by an eccentric billionaire...all of his relatives are greedy, almost worthless human beings. Nate, the guy sent to find one last heir, is a recovering alcoholic/drug addict...I personally didn't care who got the money, but John Grisham really seems to be obsessed with large amounts of money. Grisham's books are typically page turners, but this one was a tough one to plow through.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars NOT WHAT I EXPECTED!, June 28 2004
By 
This review is from: The Testament (Mass Market Paperback)
...it was a good read. I was expecting something a little more thrilling, a little more intense and exciting. But the slower pace of this book still kept my attention. Grisham has a good writing style and had no trouble getting me interested in the story, the location, the people. Parts of it were like a travel documentary, but surprisingly I found it all interesting. I was never at the edge of my seat, but never wanted to put the book down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Book!, July 2 2004
By 
Melvin Hunt (Cleveland,, Texas United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Testament (Mass Market Paperback)
This was my first John Grisham book and I certainly enjoyed it.
In this book one of the ten richest men in the country(Troy Phelan) has a ceremony to read his last will and testament to
his greedy family.He has three psychiatrists on hand to verify his sanity.After the ceremony ends and the family leaves he
produces a holographic will disinheriting his family and leaving
the entire estate to an illigitemate daughter who is a missionary
in Brazil.Phelan has left each of his children $5 million dollars
on their 21st birthday.They have all squandered the money.In the
meantime the daughter Rachel Lane must be found.
That job is given to lawyer Nate O'Reilly(a rehabbed drunk).He
makes a perilous trip to Brazil to locate the missing heiress.He
discovers that she wants nothing to do with her 11 billion dollar inheritance.Nate returns to America emptyhanded.In the meantime the disinherited heirs and their lawyers are trying every type of legal manuevering to overturn Troy Phelan's will.
It is imperative that Nate return to Brazil and talk to Rachel
Lane again.
This was a very good book that I enjoyed reading.The ending was
shocking.Buy it and read it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Grisham�s latest focuses on jungle rather than courtroom, June 16 2004
By 
CincinnatiPOV "Bibliophile" (Cincinnati, Ohio United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Testament (Mass Market Paperback)
Like clockwork, John Grisham churns out at least one novel a year, as he has for the past eight years. The Testament, his most recent in paperback, meets all the basic requirements of his previous novels (legalese with tension), but it has a new twist that sets it apart from the rest.
Grisham attracted the attention of litigious America in 1992 with his first novel, A Time to Kill, the tale of a lawyer defending a black Vietnam war-hero who killed the men who raped his child. Since then, Grisham's lawyers have found themselves in different compelling plots that make for enjoyable reads without inundating the reader with any deeper meaning.
With The Testament, Grisham seems to have left his usually formulaic writing behind - here he creates a deeper, more involved story.
Troy Phelan is planning his last will and testament and wants to make sure that his good-for-nothing, money-grubbing children don't get their hands on a red cent of his 11-billion dollar fortune. He plans everything down to the most minute detail and then jumps off a balcony to his death.
When the will is finally read to his heirs, everyone is surprised to learn that every last penny is left to Rachel Lane, an unknown, illegitimate daughter of Phelan's, currently working as a missionary in a Brazilian jungle.
Josh Stafford and his law firm must ensure Phelan's last wishes are carried through - the first and most difficult task falls upon the shoulders of Nate O'Riley.
O'Riley has just finished a stay at a detox center, one of many such programs he has been through. Stafford and his partners decide that sending O'Riley to South America might be the best way to keep him away from the stresses of the law firm for just a little longer.
Herein lies the genius of The Testament: Almost the all rest of the book takes place in South America and not in law offices. There are running subplots about the other Phelan heirs and their schemes to undo their father's will, so that they can get what they feel to be their rightful share of the money, but these stories are hindrances to the main plot.
With the help of Jevy, an ex-Brazilian army-man who acts as a translator and guide, O'Riley enters the jungles of Brazil as an unprepared American. A suicide attempt, plane crash, boat wreck and bout of Dengue later, O'Riley finds himself more at peace with his life and rather well-acquainted with Lane, the famous Phelan heiress.
Rather than churning out a novel filled with his typically entertaining legal mumbo-jumbo, Grisham creates an adventure novel with The Testament, with both romance and a lesson to be learned at the end. Perhaps the greatest pleasure of the book is that the answer to everyone's problems lies not in the hands of a judge, but rather a missionary in South America who neither wants nor needs to be a billionaire. What she does in the end is definitely surprising.
There are still court scenes and lawyers galore, but in The Testament, Grisham has written a novel that is decidedly different from his others, and thus very satisfying.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant Read, May 26 2004
By 
D. Brickeen "dbrickeen" (TN United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Testament (Mass Market Paperback)
To start with, I take issue to annmason1, who wrote the review "Hogie Sandwhich". She obviously has trouble with Grisham and his stories...why read him if you have so many hangups with the man's talent? I also must add that hogies down here in the south must be MUCH different than they are in the pacific northwest, because here in Dixie we pile on the meat.
And to be honest, southern-boy John Grisham did the same in this book-piled on the meat. I won't go so far as to say this is better, or even in the ballpark, with "The Firm" and "Pelican Brief", but it is on par with "The Client", "The Chamber", and "Runaway Jury".
There are moments in the book, as there are in ANY book, that people will look at as nothing but filler (or bread, as it where, since we are on this sandwhich kick at the moment). But as a whole, the story is well-written, superbly laid out, and flows easily from beginning to end.
If only ALL hogies sandwhiches could say that...
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2.0 out of 5 stars A Hogie Sandwich, March 25 2004
By 
annmason1 (Pacific Northwest) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Testament (Mass Market Paperback)
I didn't care for this book. It would have been much more interesting if it were two thirds the size. I mean, we GET IT ALREADY...that's one big SWAMP!
But the main problem with The Testament is the weak character of Rachel Lane Porter. Grisham is not a good portrayer of women and he lives up to his standard here. Rachel is a flat, trite, unsympathetic dolt who would rather paddle her own leaky canoe to "help my people" than use 5 billion dollars to HELP her people! I don't get it, why is this shortsighted swampy martyr worth considering as an inspiration to Nate or anybody else? Turning down money that would seriously help lobby for, treat, preserve and protect Brazilian Indians just because,"I didn't earn the money" is a devise a fifth grader wouldn't design for a character. Does Grisham really think the reader will be touched by this nut?
Rachel's mysterious hospital visit is a useless devise. What's the point of the secrecy? Who cares? So she can slip into a smelly ward unseen, stroke Nate's head and HEAL HIM, then disappear with no trace...what's the point? If Grisham meant to bestow miraculous powers on "Our Lady of the Swamp", he didn't follow up on it.
This weak character reminds me of the equally vague and pointless young female clerk in "A Time to Kill." The personalities are different, but their purpose and character development are equally questionable. Why are they in the plot, why weren't they developed, and why were they dropped abruptly and without the slightest concern one way or the other by the reader?
Like I said, Grisham doesn't understand women and employs female characters as disposable accessories to his central themes, never exploring or utilizing them effectively.
It is true that Rachel leaves the money for good stuff (by default at her death), but here again,why didn't she leave the will with her lawyer instead of entrust it to a rusty box in the innards of a swamp with a hostile chief to dispense to someone who might or might not ever show up? How dumb can one woman be?
So, this book is like a Hogie sandwich...some thin slices of meat- Troy, Sr. and Stafford, but otherwise, too much tasteless bread (the swamp, the church and fixing the basement- what was THAT about?), etc.
High carb, time wasting junk food.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Combination of legal thrill with adventure and touch of God, March 19 2004
This review is from: The Testament (Mass Market Paperback)
In the testament, John Grisham cleverly combines legal thrill with an adventure into the jungles of Brazil and with an special touch of religious teachings. (How can the title "The Testament" be more appropriate?)
Troy Phelan left a holographic will that bewildered his offspring, leaving them with nothing out of the eleven billion. With an exception, Rachel Lane his illegitimate daughter; who is serving as a missionary deep in the jungle of Brazil was given the fortune.
Nate - a down-and-out lawyer who has been in and out of rehab several times was tasked with the arduous task and adventure to look for Rachel. This adventure gave him an opportunity to reflect deeply and finally with the help of Rachel found his renewed strength and self.
This book probably received a lower rating as the mid-section was filled more with Nate's adventure in the waters of Brazil. There is not much suspense to the books as compared to the others, but the ending came quite as a surprise which nicely concluded the book.
If you like an adventure, do pick this title. It's worth a read!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasant Surprise, March 17 2004
This review is from: The Testament (Mass Market Paperback)
After being told by countless people to read John Grisham's work I decided to take them up on the offer. This is the third book that I have read by him and the best so far. I really enjoyed it. In some of his other books (like the Client) the story isn't bad exactly...just reminiscent of a Lifetime Original Movie. After not really caring for my first Grisham book (The Client) I was a little skeptical due to the story as said before and the mass of unecessary legal jargon for the story that was told. I'm glad however that after reading that I read The Rainmaker and now The Testament because both were increasingly better than the previous book in my opinion. Though maybe not the best piece of writing I ever picked up I still give this book 4 stars for what it is. It is a pleasant read that still has some substance and doesn't follow the exact same formula as every other book out there. I would recommend this book to anyone as it is a sincerely good book that is definitely enjoyable w/ good character development and story in one package.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's one of the best books I've ever read, Jan. 15 2004
By 
This review is from: The Testament (Mass Market Paperback)
John Grisham is one of today's best-selling authors. He has written over 2o books & has gained kudos for his outstanding works. John Grisham is an ex-lawyer & normally his books take its readers through courtroom dramas or other legal excitement but in one of his latest books, The Testament all such legal proceedings take a "back seat" behind an interesting & fascinating adventure which the main character of the book makes to the core of Brazil. The author tosses the reader back & forth between the courtrooms of Virginia & the jungles of Brazil & this change of scene makes reading this novel even more exciting. For me the plot of the book was highly intriguing & I couldn't keep from staying up till 2 o'clock a .m. to finish it.
The story begins in a plush Virginian office where the 10th richest man in America, Troy Phelan is furiously rewriting his last will. Phelan's three ex-wives, his six children & a legion of lawyers, several psychiatrists, who they hired to examine him & declare that he is of sound mind, wait breathlessly for his last decision. The whole procedure is taped & after that he gets out of his wheelchair & jumps from the 14th storey of his company Head quarters. The possible heirs to his fortune don't even feel like showing grief-they are glad they can at last put their hands on the money.
Josh Stafford, the Phelan's lawyer, is the appointed executor of his holographic will & he is in a kind of dilemma as Troy Phelan leaves his fortune of eleven billion dollars to an illegitimate daughter Rachel Lane. Now Josh is to find who Rachel Lane is & fight against Phelan's children who want their piece of the cake & hire a bunch of lawyers to contest the will. The only clue to where Rachel can be is a note saying she is a missionary living deep in the jungles of Brazil. So Josh finds an old friend of his to find her.
Nate O'Riley is a litigator who worked for Troy's company for some time but then began drinking hard & became an alcoholic. He got divorced twice & surely his children weren't happy about that. He seldom meets them & they aren't really eager to & besides he spends a lot of time in rehabs. Now he is currently in a new rehab trying to beat once more his drinking problem. But he knows that there always is a crash after the treatment. He accepts Josh's offer to go to Brazil to get away from his troubles. And he crashes through Brazilian jungles, enters the world where money means nothing, where death is just one misstep away , to find a woman who holds a stunning surprise of her own & is herself pursued by enemies & who after all doesn't want to be found.
Nate overcomes a lot of difficulties & hardships & twice or thrice gets a near escape from death during the storms & from dengue fever. His encounter with this woman changes his life & makes him believe in high powers & in God. Seeing Rachel helping the Indians fight for life, Nate starts to revaluate his life values & realizes that he can lead a normal life now without crashes & hangover afterwards. Will Rachel take the money? Do the greedy heirs get their share? - you keep guessing throughout the book. And while Nate is trying to settle this legal matter with Rachel , the heirs start a vicious legal battle & we see that they are a group of vultures fighting for their "catch".
To be honest I believe this is a highly entertaining read .Moreover the book is almost flawless. It's one of the best books I've ever read . Grisham writes with the inside knowledge & the descriptions of Brazil (Pantanal) where he has been twice & the legal gambit which is so familiar to the author seem to be extremely realistic & up-to-date. The Testament has adventure, love, romance, friendship, readily readable plot, everything that makes a book absorbing, thought-provoking & truly moving. The author knows how to "slip" suspense in his novel smartly & explores the questions of being & faith in it. I personally believe it's the best novel in years, & the pages almost turn themselves. The book is beautifully written & has timeless descriptions of Brazil which are so vivid that you feel you've almost visited Brazil after reading this book. I'd certainly recommend this book to anyone looking for adventure & suspense along with serious considerations of life.
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The Testament
The Testament by John Grisham (Mass Market Paperback - Dec 28 1999)
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