John Grisham hasn’t been one of my favorite authors, for no good reason. The books I read were will written and well-plotted, but there was nothing particularly interesting or intriguing about the “every man” characters. I’m glad I picked up “The Broker”, published in 2005, because this book provides a main character who immediately steps out of the mainstream.
Joel Backman Is a greedy Washington power broker who has been sentenced to prison (for a not clearly identifiable crime), and receives a presidential pardon as part of a plot by the true villain of the story, the amoral head of the CIA, who has held the job for so long that he has begun to confuse himself with God. The CIA spirits Backman out of the country (where they can’t kill him, much as they would like to) and sets him up with a fake identity in Italy, where they plan to learn something by watching to see who does assassinate him after they leak his whereabouts to all interested parties.
The book doubles as an advertisement for the charms of Bologna, apparently a beautiful city with an interesting history and lots of great restaurants.