John Grisham Books In Order

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john grisham books in order

If you’re a writer and you’ve published books before, then you know that writing 47 consecutive number one bestsellers is close to impossible.

You also know that outselling The Beatles or Michael Jackson is something of a fairytale for most. Well, not if you are John Grisham. When it comes to legal thrillers, Grisham is a master, and the bestselling status of his novels can back this claim.

It is only right that I give you all of John Grisham’s books in order, in one place!

So, I have searched and found all of his legal thrillers, short story collections, nonfiction books, and others, and I have listed them all in this post.

Before we get to that part, let’s get to know your author.

Our Top 3 John Grisham Books at a Glance

  1. The Firm (1991)
  2. The Rainmaker (1995)
  3. A Time to Kill (1989)

Who is John Grisham?

John Grisham was born to Wanda and John Ray Grisham on February 8, 1955, in Jonesboro, Arkansas. The second of five children of a cotton farmer, John lived his early childhood years in Rural Black Oak, Arkansas, and later moved to Mississippi.

He attended three different colleges before earning his first degree in 1977, a B.S. degree in accounting from Mississippi State University. Before that, he had attended Northwest Mississippi Community College and Delta State University.

Later, Grisham went to the University of Mississippi School of Law, and in 1981, he graduated with a J.D. degree.

After that, he became a lawyer and member of the 7th district of the Mississippi House of Representatives.

novelist john grisham
Novelist John Grisham. (Image credit: Archivi Mondadori on Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0)

A Time to Kill, which was Grisham’s first novel, took him four years to finish, and he published it in June 1989. The book sales were not encouraging, but Grisham continued to write with the support of his wife Renee. Then, in 1991, he published The Firm, a book that sold more than seven million copies and became Grisham’s first best seller. Two years later, it was adapted into a feature film starring Tom Cruise, and in 2012, The Firm was adapted into a TV series with the same name.

Other John Grisham bestsellers, including The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, and A Painted House, have also made it onto the screen. 

John Grisham Books in Order of Publishing and Series

Standalone Novels in Order

Jake Brigance Books in Order

Theodore Boone Books in Order

Rogue Lawyer Books in Order

Camino Island Books in Order

The Whistler Books in Order

Novellas & Story Collections, and Short Stories in Order

Non-Fiction Books in Order

The Best 5 John Grisham Books

1. The Firm (1991)

The Firm (1991)

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The Firm was published two years after his first novel, but it proved to be the book that would change John Grisham’s fortunes.

The first book, A Time To Kill, suffered from lackluster sales, but The Firm catapulted the American author into the limelight and set him on a path.

The story follows a young law school graduate, Mitch McDeere, who gets a job offer he can’t refuse. A small but prestigious tax law firm based in Memphis, Tennessee, offers Mitch good pay and over-the-top perks, including a BMW and a low mortgage rate on a house.

Soon, Mitch is approached by an FBI agent who informs him that the firm has links to the Chicago Mafia and that the firm had a hand in the deaths of its two previous associates. When Mitch relays this information to the Bendini, Lambert, and Locke law firm, they quickly deny the claims and tell him not to worry.

Mitch hires a private investigator recommended by his incarcerated brother, Ray, and the PI confirms the FBI’s allegations. This leads to Mitch striking a deal to help them in exchange for his brother’s freedom. The firm finds out about everything and decides to kill the PI and infiltrate the FBI to find out what Mitch knows.

Mitch and his wife, Abby, are in danger, and they have to use their wits, ethics, and legal skills to escape danger and stay alive.

2. The Rainmaker (1995)

The Rainmaker (1995)

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The sixth book in Grisham’s catalog, The Rainmaker explores the naivety of college graduates and the problems in the law profession.

The story is about Rudy Baylor, a novice lawyer in Memphis who is fighting injustice in his first case.

Rudy is in his final semester of law school, and he is required to give legal advice to some senior citizens. This requirement leads him to meet a couple, Dot and Buddy Black, whose son, Donny Ray, is dying of leukemia. Their insurance company, Great Benefit, won’t pay for Donny’s medical treatments and they want to take the case to court.

Rudy soon finds out that the case is one of the largest insurance frauds ever and that the Blacks have been dealt a nasty low blow by the insurance company.

An outnumbered and out-financed Rudy has to go head-to-head with one of the major insurance companies that have hired one of the best legal machines in America. While the case gains momentum, Rudy meets Kelly Riker, a beautiful woman in an abusive marriage. They fall for each other, but since Kelly is married, she breaks off the relationship.

At the end of the insurance fraud case, the jury finds the insurance company guilty of fraud, and the Blacks are awarded $50.2 million. To avoid paying the settlement, Great Benefit declares bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, Rudy does not completely let go of Kelly, and when he goes to check on her, he meets her husband, who attacks him. Rudy kills him, and Kelly is arrested for the murder, but Rudy gets the charges dropped. Following threats from Kelly’s ex-husband’s family, Rudy and Kelly flee the state.

3. A Time to Kill (1989)

A Time to Kill (1989)

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A Time to Kill is—more or less—autobiographical because it is based on a similar rape case that John Grisham witnessed. So, to some extent, Jake Brigance represents a younger Grisham, who, as I’ve already mentioned, was a lawyer.

The setting is Clanton, Mississippi and white supremacists kidnap and sexually assault a 10-year-old Black girl, Tonya Hailey, and leave her for dead. The town is mostly white and racism is still high, so the perpetrators will probably go to jail for their horrific, inhumane crime.

Tonya’s father, Carl Lee, knows this too well and decides to deal with the two criminals. Carl finds an assault rifle and kills two boys (something that most of us would want to do given the circumstances).

But he does not support murder or vigilante justice, so he is arrested and charged with the murder of the two young men. Brigance is the lawyer representing Carl, and he tries to use an insanity defense due to Carl’s grief at the time that he committed the crimes.

But the case gets more complicated when the deceased criminal’s brother becomes a member of the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan wants to deal with those siding with or helping ‘negroes’ in a case where the ‘negro’ is accused of killing whites.

In this novel, which is one of Grisham’s bestsellers, he explored a lot of issues, including racism, the workings of the judicial system, and intrinsic and extrinsic motivations.

Most of the bigotry in the story would have been frowned upon in today’s society, but this is 1980’s Mississippi and racism was still a huge problem (I mean, it still is, but we’ve made steps as humans).

4. The Judge’s List (2021)

The Judge's List

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Out of all John Grisham’s novels, this one has the least courtroom drama. It’s still a legal thriller (I think), considering that there’s a judge and the Florida Board of Judicial Conduct.

The Judge’s List is the second book in The Whistler series and a sequel to The Whistler. In the first book, Lacy Stoltz, an investigator who works for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct, investigates a judge who was taking bribes from a crime syndicate.

In this book, she is almost 40 years old and no longer in love with her job; she wants a new challenge.

Then Lacy meets a woman, Jeri Crosby, who believes she may have solved a cold case. This frightened lady tells Lacy that she has found the person responsible for her father’s death, a murder that took place 20 years earlier. The culprit is a judge in Florida, but… there’s another twist in her story: the judge is a serial killer who patiently and—for lack of a better word—brilliantly commits revenge murders.

Jeri has stalked the judge for two decades, and she has discovered that he has murdered other people. She has discovered that the judge has a list of names of people who wronged him in one way or another.

Terri has gone straight to Lacy because she’s afraid that the judge might be well connected and might have influential people in the police department. She wants the judge to face the long arm of the law; she wants him to answer for his crimes, but she doesn’t want to end up on his list before he’s brought to justice.

5. The Partner (1997)

The Partner (1997)

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Patrick Lanigan is a young Mississippi up-and-coming attorney working for a prominent Biloxi law firm. He is fed up with his unfaithful wife and wants to escape from his miserable life, so he fakes his own death and runs away with $90 million of the firm’s money.

He flees to Brazil, where he changes his name to Danilo Silva and lives a quiet, modest life in a small town. He finds a beautiful, exotic woman named Eva Marinda and settles down. Eva was also a lawyer in Brazil, but she gave up her successful career to help Lanigan.

Patrick lives there for four years before he is tracked down and apprehended by a shady private investigator. However, when he is caught, there seems to be no tangible evidence of the loot from four years ago, and he looks different and speaks a new language fluently.

He is brought back home to the United States, where he has to fight several legal battles that involve the Biloxi Law Firm, the FBI, and a senator.

John Grisham Books FAQs

Where is John Grisham now?

John Grisham lives in Charlottesville, Virginia with his wife, Renee Jones.

How many John Grisham books are there?

Excluding the anthologies and other collections, John Grisham has published 48 books.

When was A Time To Kill initially published?

It was initially published in 1989, but it was a failure sales-wise. But after The Firm catapulted John to fame, A Time To Kill was republished and it became a bestseller.

Did John Grisham direct The Firm?

No, it was directed by Sydney Pollack. Although The Firm was written by John Grisham, he (John) says that he doesn’t get involved in the movie production of his novel adaptations, and he once said that he tried screenwriting but it didn’t work.

Will John Grisham have a new book in 2022?

Yes, The Boys From Biloxi is scheduled for release on October 18, 2022.

Final Words on John Grisham

John Grisham has authored forty-seven, scratch that, forty-eight consecutive #1 bestsellers—we all know that The Boys From Biloxi is already a bestseller.

When you have HBO and other big-time Hollywood companies making feature films and movie series from your novels, then you know that you’re doing a couple of things right.

Several John Grisham books, including A Time To Kill, The Judge’s List, and Sooley have been developed into movies or movie series.

Grisham has also won several awards, including the 1993 Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement, the Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for Fiction, the 2005 Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award, and two Harper Lee Prizes for Legal Fiction.

It is so exciting for us readers when we realize that such an accomplished writer has no intention of stopping.

Yes, keep blessing us with these delicious thrillers, Mr. Grisham.

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Jessica started off as an avid book reader. After reading one too many romance novels (really... is it ever really enough?), she decided to jump to the other side and started writing her own stories. She now shares what she has learned (the good and the not so good) here at When You Write, hoping she can inspire more up and coming wordsmiths to take the leap and share their own stories with the world.