Looking for a list of John Grisham books in order? We’ve got you covered.
Before John Grisham became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working long hours at a small law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office to work on his first novel, A Time to Kill. As soon as he’d completed it, he began work on his second thriller – and before long, a hobby evolved into a phenomenal writing career.
Since A Time to Kill was released in 1988, John Grisham has written one novel a year – some thrillers, some sports books, some novels for younger readers. Nine of his books, including The Pelican Brief, The Firm and The Client, have been adapted into films, while his true crime book The Innocent Man has been turned into an unmissable Netflix documentary.
There’s no one quite like Grisham – so if you’re looking for your next thriller, look no further. Here are his books in order.
Please note: this list compiles John Grisham’s crime, thriller and legal novels for adults alone.
John Grisham books in order:
When Carl Lee Hailey guns down the violent racists who raped his ten-year-old daughter, the people of the small town of Clanton, Mississippi see it as justice done, and call for his acquittal.
But when extremists outside Clanton – including the KKK – hear that a black man has killed two white men, they invade the town, determined to destroy anything and anyone that opposes their sense of justice. A national media circus descends on Clanton.
As tensions mount, Hailey hires the inexperienced Jake Brigance to defend him. It’s the kind of case that could make a young lawyer’s career. But it’s also the kind of case that could get a young lawyer killed.
2. The Firm
When Mitch McDeere qualified third in his class at Harvard, offers poured in from every law firm in America. Bendini, Lambert and Locke were a small, well-respected firm, but their offer exceeded Mitch’s wildest expectations: a fantastic salary, a new home, and the keys to a brand new BMW.
Except for the mysterious deaths of previous lawyers with the firm. And the FBI investigations. And the secret files.
Mitch soon realises that he’s working for the Mafia’s law firm, and there’s no way out – because you don’t want this company’s severance package. To survive, he’ll have to play both sides against each other – and navigate a vast criminal conspiracy that goes higher than he ever imagined…
Darby Shaw is a brilliant New Orleans legal student with a sharp political mind. For her own amusement, she draws up a legal brief showing how the judges might have been murdered for political reasons, and shows it to her professor. He shows it to his friend, an FBI lawyer.
Then the professor dies in a car bomb.
And Darby realises that her brief, which pointed to a vast presidential conspiracy, might be right. Someone is intent on silencing Darby for good – somebody who will stop at nothing to preserve the secrets of the Pelican Brief…
4. The Client
A US State Senator is dead. Only Mark Sway knows where the body is hidden. And he’s eleven years old.
The FBI want him to tell them where it is, regardless of the risk to the boy and his family. The killer wants to silence him permanently.
Reggie Love has only been practising law for five years, but she agrees to represent Mark pro bono, knowing she’s his best hope for survival. Against the twin threats of the cold-hearted American state and the schemes of a cold-blooded killer, Reggie must fight the case of her life – or it might be the last case of her life.
5. The Chamber
Adam Hill is a rookie lawyer at a top Chicago firm. The world is at his feet. So why does he volunteer to represent a KKK terrorist under threat of execution? And why is the defendant happy to put his life in a novice’s hands?
The answer lies twenty years in the past, but there are darker, more shocking secrets to be uncovered…
Rudy Baylor is a newly qualified lawyer, forced into ambulance-chasing by bad luck and poor job prospects. Unexpectedly, he winds up on a case representing a family whose son was denied insurance cover for his leukemia treatment. Instead, the company delayed until it was too late to ensure they wouldn’t have to pay out.
The case could change it all. Rudy’s deeply in debt, and a settlement from the insurance company could save his legal practice. But he’s never argued a case in court before, and the company isn’t going down without a fight. In fact, he’ll be up against an army of the best lawyers money can buy…
In Biloxi, Mississippi, a landmark trial against a tobacco company begins. There are hundreds of millions of dollars at stake and soon it swerves mysteriously off course. The jury is behaving strangely, and at least one juror is convinced he’s being watched.
Soon they have to be sequestered. Then a tip from an anonymous young woman suggests she is able to predict the jurors’ increasingly odd behaviour.
Someone has a plan. But who? And, more importantly, what do they want?
8. The Partner
They found him in a small town in Brazil, near the border with Paraguay. He had a new name, Danilo Silva, and his appearance had been changed by plastic surgery. The search had taken four years. They’d chased him around the world, always just missing him. It had cost their clients $3.5 million. But so far none of them had complained.
The man they were about to kidnap had not always been called Danilo Silva. Before he had had another life, a life which ended in a car crash in February 1992. His gravestone lay in a cemetry in Biloxi, Mississippi. His name before his death was Patrick S Lanigan. He had been a partner at an up-and-coming law firm. He had a pretty wife, a young daughter, and a bright future. Six weeks after his death, $90 million disappeared from the law firm.
It was then that his partners knew he was still alive. And the chase was on…
Michael Brock is a man in the fast lane. He’s a rising star at Drake & Sweeney, a giant Washington law firm. No time to waste, no time to toss a few coins to beggars. No time for a conscience.
Until the day a man takes several lawyers hostage at his firm, shouting about an eviction. Police snipers shoot the hostage taker dead, but Brock feels compelled to investigate.
What he discovers is a shocking violation of the rights of the homeless on the city streets, with Drake & Sweeney up to its neck in it, and suddenly his conscience begins to stir. But to do the right thing, he might have to steal his own firm’s secrets…
10. The Testament
Troy Phelen is one of the richest men in the United States. He is also looking for a way to die.
Nate O’Riley is a high-octane Washington litigator who’s lived too hard, too fast, for too long. Emerging from his fourth stay in rehab, he knows returning to the real world is always difficult, but this time it’s going to be murder.
Rachel Lane is a young woman who chose to give her life to God, who walked away from the modern world and went to live and work with a primitive tribe in the deepest jungles of Brazil.
These three lives collide in a unique blend of legal suspense and adventure – and none of their lives will be the same after the revelation of the startling secrets of the Testament.
11. The Brethren
Trumble is a minimum security federal prison, home to drug dealers, bank robbers, swindlers, embezzlers, tax evaders – and three former judges who call themselves The Brethren.
The Brethren meet each day in the law library, where they spend hours writing letters. They’re fine-tuning a mail scam, and it’s starting to pay big. The money is pouring in.
But when their little scam goes awry and ensnares the wrong victim, a powerful man on the outside, they realise they’re in trouble. Because this man has dangerous friends, and just as the prison failed to protect society from the Brethren, it won’t protect them from their victims…
12. The Summons
Ray Atlee teaches law at the University of Virginia. His ailing father, Judge Atlee, was once a loved – and feared – titan, towering over local law and politics in the ancestral Atlee home of Clanton, Mississippi. And now, entering his last days, he calls Ray home to discuss the family estate.
Newly single and far from happy, Ray reluctantly heads south to meet his father. He never does. The Judge dies too soon, but leaves behind a shocking secret which Ray believes only he knows; a secret that could destroy Clanton’s very foundations.
And it soon becomes clear that Ray’s wrong. He’s not the only one who knows.
The Office of the Public Defender is not known as a training ground for bright young litigators. Clay Carter has been there too long, and, like most of his colleagues, dreams of a better job in a real firm. When he reluctantly takes the case of a young man charged with a random street killing, he assumes it is just another of the many senseless murders that hit Washington D.C. every week.
But as he digs deeper into his client’s background, Clay stumbles upon a conspiracy too horrible to believe. A pharmaceutical giant has been secretly and illegally testing a new drug on addicts – one that helps stop addiction, but which drives them to random acts of violence.
Overnight, aided by a mysterious whistleblower with an agenda of his own, Clay becomes the new ‘king of torts’, a celebrity among lawyers and a national media figure. But as the financial stakes rise and rise, so does the danger…
14. The Last Juror
In 1970, the Ford County Times went bankrupt – and to the surprise and dismay of many, was bought by 23-year-old college dropout Willie Traynor. The paper’s future was grim, until a young mother was brutally raped and murdered by a member of the notorious Padgitt family. Traynor reported all the gruesome details, and his newspaper prospered.
The murderer, Danny Padgitt, was tried before a packed courtroom in Clanton, Mississippi. The trial came to a dramatic end when the defendant threatened revenge against the jurors if they convicted him. Despite his threats, they found him guilty, and he was sentenced to life in prison.
But nine years later, his influential family got him paroled. And then, one by one, the jurors who’d convicted him were murdered…
15. The Broker
In his final hours in the Oval Office, the outgoing President grants a full pardon to Joel Backman, a notorious Washington power broker who has spent the last six years in a federal prison.
Unknown to an outraged public, the pardon was the CIA’s idea. They claim that Backman may have obtained secrets that would compromise American satellite surveillance.
Smuggled out of the country in a military cargo plane, Backman is given a new identity and a new home in Italy. He thinks he’s out. But the CIA will soon leak his whereabouts to the Israelis, the Russians, the Chinese and the Saudis, and then sit back and watch.
The question is not whether Backman will survive – there’s no chance of that. The question the CIA needs answered is: who will kill him?
16. The Appeal
In a crowded courtroom in Mississippi, a jury returns a shocking guilty verdict against a chemical company. Accused of dumping toxic waste into a small town’s water supply, causing the worst “cancer cluster” in history, the company knows it’s in trouble. Their only avenue is to appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court, whose nine justices will either approve the verdict or reverse it.
But the company’s owner, Carl Trudeau, isn’t willing to let justice be done. Instead, he decides to try to purchase a seat on the Court. Through an intricate web of conspiracy and deceit, his political operatives recruit a young, unsuspecting candidate. They finance him, manipulate him, market him, and mould him into a potential Supreme Court justice. Their Supreme Court justice.
And unless their scheme is exposed, the polluters will make a clean escape…
17. The Associate
Kyle McAvoy is one of the outstanding legal students of his generation: he’s good looking, has a brilliant mind and a glittering future ahead of him. But he has a secret from his past, a secret that threatens to destroy his entire life.
One night that secret catches up with him in the form of a deeply compromising video of the incident that haunts him. Kyle realises that he no longer owns his own future – that he must do as his blackmailers tell him, or the video will be made public, with all the unpleasant consequences.
What price do they demand for Kyle’s secret? It is for Kyle to take a job in New York as an associate at the largest law firm in the world. Kyle won’t be working for this company, but against it – passing on the secrets of it’s biggest trial to date, a dispute worth billions of dollars to the victor.
18. Ford County – short story collection
From legendary legal thriller author John Grisham comes a unique collection of stories connected by the life and crimes of Ford County – the heart of the American deep South; a place of harsh beauty, of broken dreams and final wishes.
From a hard-drinking, downtrodden divorce lawyer looking for pay-dirt, to a manipulative death row inmate with one last plea, Ford County features a vivid cast of attorneys, crooks, hustlers, and convicts. From their stories emerges a rich picture of lives lived and lost in Mississippi.
19. The Confession
Travis Boyette is a murderer. In 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, he abducted, raped, and strangled a popular high-school cheerleader. He buried her body where it would never be found, then watched and waited as police and prosecutors arrested Donte Drumm, a black local football star with no connection to the crime. Tried, convicted and sentenced, Drumm was sent to death row.
Nine years later, Donte Drumm is four days from execution. Over 400 miles away in Kansas, Travis also faecs death, suffering from an inoperable brain tumour. At long last, he decides to do what’s right. After years of silence, he is ready to confess.
But the law doesn’t want to hear it. As far as they’re concerned, they’ve got their man. So how can a guilty man convince lawyers, judges and politicians that the man they’re about to execute is innocent?
20. The Litigators
David Zinc has it all: Big firm, big salary, life in the lawyer’s fast lane. Until the day he snaps and throws it all away.
Leaving the world of corporate law far behind, he talks himself into a new job with Finley & Figg, self-styled ’boutique’ firm with only two partners. Oscar Finley and Wally Figg are ambulance-chasing street lawyers who hustle nickel-and-dime cases, dreaming of landing the big win.
For all his Harvard Law Degree and five years with Chicago’s top firm, Zinc has never entered a courtroom, never helped a client who really needed a lawyer, never handled a gun. All that is about to change.
21. The Racketeer
Given the importance of what they do, and the controversies that often surround them, and the violent people they sometimes confront, it is remarkable that in the history of the USA only four active federal judges have been murdered.
Judge Raymond Fawcett just became number five. His body was found in the small basement of a lakeside cabin he had built himself and frequently used on weekends. When he did not show up for a trial on Monday morning, his law clerks panicked, called the FBI, and in due course the agents found the crime scene. There was no forced entry, no struggle, just two dead bodies – Judge Fawcett and his young secretary.
I did not know Judge Fawcett, but I know who killed him, and why. I am a lawyer, and I am in prison. It’s a long story.
22. Sycamore Row
Jake Brigance has never met Seth Hubbard, or even heard of him, until the old man’s suicide note names him attorney for his estate. The will is dynamite. Seth has left ninety per cent of his vast, secret fortune to his housemaid.
The vultures are circling even before the body is cold: the only subject more incendiary than money in Ford County is race, and this case has both.
As the relatives contest the will, and unscrupulous lawyers hasten to benefit, Jake searches for answers to the many questions left by Seth Hubbard’s death: what made him write that last-minute will leaving everything to a poor black woman named Lettie Lang? Why did he choose to kill himself on the desolate piece of land known as Sycamore Row? And what was it that Seth and his brother witnessed as children that, in his words, ‘no human should ever see’?
23. Gray Mountain
Donovan Gray is ruthless and fearless. Just the kind of lawyer you need, deep in small-town Appalachia.
Samantha Kofer is a world away from her former life at New York’s biggest law firm. If she is going to survive in coal country, she needs to start learning fast.
Because as Donovan knows only too well, the mountains have their own laws. And standing up for the truth means putting your life on the line…
24. Rogue Lawyer
Sebastian Rudd takes the cases no one else wants to take: the drug-addled punk accused of murdering two little girls; a crime lord on death row; a homeowner accused of shooting at a SWAT team.
Rudd believes that every person accused of a crime is entitled to a fair trial – even if he has to cheat to get one. He antagonises people from both sides of the law: his last office was firebombed, either by drug dealers or cops. He doesn’t know or care which.
But things are about to get even more complicated for Sebastian. Arch Swanger is the prime suspect in the abduction and presumed murder of 21-year-old Jiliana Kemp, the daughter of the assistant chief of police. When Swanger asks Sebastian to represent him, he lets Sebastian in on a terrible secret – one that will threaten everything Sebastian holds dear.
25. Partners – digital short story
Discover how Rogue Lawyer’s Sebastian Rudd meets his partner and bodyguard in this thrilling short story.
Ten years out of law school, and running an office out of what used to be a seedy bar, Sebastian Rudd is beginning to make a name for himself – and learning that in order to get justice, you often have to cheat. When he chooses to represent Thomas Cardell, he’s about to make even more enemies.
At 33 years old, and with no money and a son to care for, Thomas Cardell is forced to become a drugs mule. But on his first night in the game, he’s ruthlessly shot at by an undercover cop, and his only choice is to shoot back in self-defence. When the cop is killed it’s Cardell’s word against the other police officer on the scene, and proving Cardell innocent will be far from simple. But who ever said getting justice was easy?
26. Witness to a Trial – digital short story
A judge’s first murder trial. A defense attorney in over his head. A prosecutor out for blood and glory. The accused, who is possibly innocent.
And the killer, who may have just committed the perfect crime.
A startling and original courtroom drama and short story prequel to The Whistler.
27. The Innocent Man – non-fiction
In the baseball draft of 1971, Ron Williamson was the first player chosen from Oklahoma. Signing with Oakland, he said goodbye to his small home town and left for California to pursue his dreams of glory. Six years later he was back, his dreams broken by a bad arm and bad habits – drinking, drugs and women. He began to show signs of mental illness. Unable to keep a job, he moved in with his mother and slept 20 hours a day on her sofa.
In 1982, a 21-year-old cocktail waitress, Debra Sue Carter, was raped and murdered, and for five years the crime went unsolved. Finally, desperate for someone to blame, police came to suspect Ron Williamson and his friend Dennis Fritz. The two were finally arrested in 1987 and charged with murder.
With no physical evidence, the prosecution’s case was built on junk science and the testimony of jailhouse snitches and convicts. Dennis Fritz was found guilty and given a life sentence. Ron Williamson was sent to Death Row.
But as Grisham methodically lays out, there was no case against him. Ron Williamson was wrongly condemned to die.
28. The Whistler
Lacy Stoltz never expected to be in the firing line. Investigating judicial misconduct by Florida’s one thousand judges, her cases so far have been relatively unexciting. That’s until she meets Greg Myers, an indicted lawyer with an assumed name, who has an extraordinary tale to tell.
Myers is representing a whistle blower who knows of a judge involved in organised crime. Along with her gangster associates this judge has facilitated the building of a casino on an Indian reservation. At least two people who opposed the scheme are dead. Since the casino was built, the judge has made several fortunes off undeclared winnings. She owns property around the world, hires private jets to take her where she wishes, and her secret vaults are overflowing with rare books, art and jewels. No one has a clue what she’s been doing – until now.
Under Florida law, those who help the state recover illegally acquired assets stand to gain a large percentage of them. Myers and his whistle blower friend could make millions. But first they need Lacy to start an investigation. Is she ready to pit herself against the most corrupt judge in American history, a judge whose associates think nothing of murder?
29. Camino Island
The most daring and devastating heist in literary history targets a high security vault located deep beneath Princeton University.
Valued at $25 million (though some would say priceless) the five manuscripts of F Scott Fitzgerald’s only novels are amongst the most valuable in the world. After an initial flurry of arrests, both they and the ruthless gang of thieves who took them have vanished without trace.
Now it falls to struggling writer Mercer Mann to crack a case that has thwarted the FBI’s finest minds.
30. The Rooster Bar
They dreamed of changing the world. Instead they’re facing a mountain of debt and no hope of a future. Mark, Todd and Zola are starting to realise it’s not even worth graduating from law school. They’re better off hanging out at The Rooster Bar, plotting how to dodge the loan sharks.
But maybe there’s another way. Maybe they know enough about the law to pass as lawyers. Because it turns out the crooked hedge fund billionaire who owns their law school also runs the bank that arranged their student loans. And it’s time justice was served. Even if it means taking on the FBI to do it…
31. The Reckoning
Pete Banning was Clanton’s favourite son, a returning war hero, the patriarch of a prominent family; a farmer, father, and a faithful member of the Methodist Church. Then one cool October morning in 1946, he rose early, drove into town, walked into the Church, and calmly shot and killed the Reverend Dexter Bell.
As if the murder wasn’t shocking enough, it was even more baffling that Pete’s only statement about it – to the sheriff, to his defense attorney, to the judge, to his family and friends, and to the people of Clanton – was ‘I have nothing to say’.
What turned Pete from a pillar of the community into cold-hearted killer? And why won’t he confide in anyone? All his closest family knows is that it must have been something devastating – and that the fallout will haunt them, and the town, for decades to come.
32. The Guardians
For 22 years Quincy Miller has sat on Death Row without friends, family or legal representation. He was accused of killing a Keith Russo, a lawyer in a small Florida town. But there were no witnesses and no motive. Just the fact that Quincy was black in an all-white town and that a blood-splattered torch was found in the boot of his car. A torch he swore was planted. A torch that conveniently disappeared from evidence just before his trial.
It made no difference. The police photographs of the torch were enough. In the eyes of the law Quincy is guilty and, no matter how often he protests his innocence, his punishment will be death.
Finally, after 22 years, an innocence lawyer and minister, Cullen Post, takes on his case. Post has exonerated eight men in the last ten years. He intends Quincy will become number nine.
But there were powerful and ruthless people behind Russo’s murder. They prefer that an innocent man goes to his death than one of them. They killed one lawyer 22 years ago, and they’ll kill another one without a second thought.
There you have it – all John Grisham books in order! How many have you read? Let us know in the comments below…