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The Boys from Biloxi

By John Grisham

The Story is a Captivating and Careful Ascent to the Emotional Implosion



Two boys grew up in the same neighborhood, with so much in common.  They went to the same schools, both were Catholic, and they loved the water. They were born one month apart in 1948, and they both lived and breathed baseball and started Little League together at age eight. Keith Rudy and Hugh Malco were inseparable, both on and off the baseball field. Their friendship lasted until high school graduation. And then these two boys from Biloxi simply went in different directions.

Keith, who idolized his father, Jesse, went to college, followed in his father’s footsteps, and became a lawyer. Hugh chose not to go to college but also followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the family business. Hugh’s father, Lance, owned and operated several bars, casinos, and clubs offering alcohol, gambling, and prostitution along the Biloxi strip. His illegal activities were well known, and the corrupt county sheriff turned a blind eye. Lance Malco was in charge of activities on the coast, and no one in authority seemed to care. That was until Keith’s father, Jesse, became the district attorney.  His goal: “Clean up the coast.”


The Boys from Biloxi is a classic legal thriller as only John Grisham can adroitly do.  He skillfully transports us to the Mississippi coast and its unscrupulous culture, and he has the era of the 1960-1970s down pat.

The story is a captivating and careful ascent, full of a descriptive and detailed backstory of the two families. The story grows like a rumbling volcano, slowly growing closer and closer to the surface. When it blows, the ramifications are felt by all those in its path, and things are never the same. The story's evocative and emotional implosion will keep you on the edge of your seat.

The characters are plentiful and serve as the pillars of the story.  The differences between the two families add immense interest and intrigue. Grisham's writing is gut-wrenching, and you never know what's around the next corner.

In addition to cleaning up the coast, Jesse Rudy is also an unforgettable hero for taking on the insurance companies during their refusal to pay homeowners for damages in the aftermath of Hurricane Camille in 1969.  We need a real-life Jesse Rudy today! My favorite parts are the masterful courtroom scenes, where the whole story comes together.   

Author John Grisham, as known as America’s Favorite Storyteller, has authored over 47 #1 bestsellers. His recent books include The Judges List,  Sooley, and Sparring Partners.  Grisham is also a two-time winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction and was honored with the Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for Fiction

Thanks to Netgalley for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher    Doubleday Books

Published   October 18, 2022

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