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The Rooster Bar
Cover of The Rooster Bar
The Rooster Bar
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#1 New York Times bestselling author John Grisham's newest legal thriller takes you inside a law firm that's on shaky ground.

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.
#1 New York Times bestselling author John Grisham's newest legal thriller takes you inside a law firm that's on shaky ground.

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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  • From the cover

    1



    The end of the year brought the usual holiday festivities, though around the Frazier house there was little to cheer. Mrs. Frazier went through the motions of decorating a small tree and wrapping a few cheap gifts and baking cookies no one really wanted, and, as always, she kept The Nutcracker running nonstop on the stereo as she gamely hummed along in the kitchen as though the season was merry.
    Things were anything but merry. Mr. Frazier had moved out three years earlier, and he wasn't missed as much as he was despised. In no time, he had moved in with his young secretary, who, as things developed, was already pregnant. Mrs. Frazier, jilted, humiliated, broke, and depressed, was still struggling.
    Louie, her younger son, was under house arrest, sort of free on bail, and facing a rough year ahead with the drug charges and all. He made no effort to buy his mom anything in the way of a gift. His excuse was that he couldn't leave the house because of the court-ordered monitor attached to his ankle. But even without it, no one expected Louie to go to the trouble of buying gifts. The year before and the year before that both of his ankles had been unburdened and he hadn't bothered to shop.
    Mark, the older son, was home from the horrors of law school, and, though even poorer than his brother, had managed to buy his mother some perfume. He was scheduled to graduate in May, sit for the bar exam in July, and begin working with a D.C. firm in September, which, as it so happened, was the same month Louie's trial was on the docket. But Louie's case would not go to trial for two very good reasons. First, the undercover boys had caught him in the act of selling ten bags of crack—there was even a video—and, second, neither Louie nor his mother could afford a decent lawyer to handle the mess. Throughout the holidays, both Louie and Mrs. Frazier dropped hints that Mark should rush in and volunteer to defend his brother. Wouldn't it be easy to stall matters until later in the year when Mark was properly admitted to the bar—he was practically there anyway—and once he had his license wouldn't it be a simple matter of finding one of those technicalities you read about to get the charges dismissed?
    This little fantasy of theirs had some rather large holes in it, but Mark refused to discuss it. When it became apparent that Louie planned to hog the sofa for at least ten hours on New Year's Day and watch seven straight bowl games, Mark made a quiet exit and went to a friend's house. Returning home that night, while driving under the influence, he made the decision to flee. He would return to D.C. and kill some time puttering around the law firm where he would soon be employed. Classes didn't start for almost two weeks, but after ten days of listening to Louie bitch and moan about his problems, not to mention the nonstop Nutcracker, Mark was fed up and looking forward to his last semester of law school.
    He set his alarm for eight the following morning, and over coffee with his mom explained that he was needed back in D.C. Sorry to leave a bit earlier than expected, Mom, and sorry to leave you here all alone with your bad boy, Mom, but I'm outta here. He's not mine to raise. I got my own problems.
    The first problem was his vehicle, a Ford Bronco he'd been driving since high school. The odometer had frozen at 187,000 miles, and that had happened midway through college. It desperately needed a new fuel pump, one of many replacement parts on the Urgent List. Using tape and paper clips, Mark had been able to wire and jerry-rig the engine, transmission, and brakes for the past two...
About the Author-
  • John Grisham is the author of thirty-one novels, one work of nonfiction, a collection of stories, and six novels for young readers.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 25, 2017
    Inspired by an Atlantic article, this insightful, if flawed, novel from bestseller Grisham (Camino Island) highlights the disturbing world of for-profit legal education. Friends and third-year law students—Mark Frazier, Todd Lucero, and Zola Maal—are deep in debt. All they want is to endure their last semester at Foggy Bottom Law School in Washington, D.C., and never return. But their world changes when their friend and classmate, Gordy Tanner, commits suicide before he can reveal publicly the conspiracy he’s unearthed: FBLS admits unqualified students in order to profit from their student loans, and the school’s owner, a Wall Street lawyer turned investor, owns a bank that specializes in student lending. When Gordy’s suicide leads Mark, Todd, and Zola to realize that they are victims of a scam, they decide to drop out of school, change their identities to avoid creditors, and practice law without a license. After they make a series of missteps, their disgruntled clients and creditors start to close in, but they still manage to pull off the perfect crime and finish what Gordy started. Mark and Todd feel like the same person at times, and what drives their choices isn’t always clear. This intriguing story has some suspenseful moments, but thinly constructed characters dilute the impact. Agent: David Gernert, Gernert Company.

  • AudioFile Magazine John Grisham returns to his professional roots as an attorney for this drama of white-collar crime, which will remind listeners of his earlier bestseller THE FIRM. With quiet certitude, narrator Ari Fliakos captures the mounting despair of three contemporary law students at a subpar law school who suddenly realize that that their futures consist of debt and unemployment. Fliakos begins the story at a sedate pace but soon picks up speed to match the plot. He hits his stride as Mark, Todd, and Zola realize the bind they're in--and who might be to blame. Fans of Grisham's storytelling will enjoy this academic Robin Hood story. The villains are loan sharks, so listeners will be rooting for the good guys--millennials with a cause. M.R. � AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine
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John Grisham
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