What's All This Then?

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What's All This Then?

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The Broker
by John Grisham

Field-Tested by David Rees

in the airport

My wife and I had a long layover at the airport, so we decided to have some fun and buy paperback bestsellers and see what all the fuss was about. She bought the searing recovery masterpiece known as A Million Little Pieces and I bought The Broker by John Grisham.

As you well know, the cover of A Million Little Pieces looks like somebody just got done finger-banging a rave. The cover for The Broker is moodier: a man in a trench coat runs down a blurry foreign avenue. It looked good to me! On the back cover, the New York Daily News blurbed: “Where Grisham leads, millions of readers follow.” Hello!

I had never read a John Grisham book before, but I thought The Pelican Brief was a pretty cool movie, and Presumed Innocent was a goddamn awesome movie (especially when Raul Julia brings it hardcore and says something like, “What we speak of tonight, we never speak of again,” which I say all the time to people because it's so tough). Anyway, if the movies that John Grisham's novels turn into are so good, the original source material must be even better! I was really looking forward to reading The Broker by my main man John Grisham.

What is The Broker about? It's about some guy who betrays the President, or tries to assassinate him using a hedge fund, or something, and so a covert spy agency kidnaps the guy and flies him to Italy where they give him a new identity and force him to speak Italian while foreign agents are eavesdropping and Latvians(?) try to kill him because of the incredible secret, and so he races around Rome all day, and learns about wine and architecture from a world-weary, sexy Italian lady provided by the spies, and he also mails coded messages to his son for, like, 400 pages.

I stopped reading The Broker when I hit this sentence: “After a sleepless night, he awoke with a rough idea of how to proceed.”

At that moment I, too, had a rough idea of how to proceed: I would put down this lazily written, witless literary jalopy, and just stab my eyes out with pencils until our flight arrived.

David Rees' comics include Get Your War On, which appears in Rolling Stone, and My New Fighting Technique is Unstoppable, which appears in the Guardian.

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