The plot line to Grisham's latest legal thriller—pithily described in Hollywood circles as Jerry Maguire meets The Rainmaker—has producers drooling and the author playing coy about its big-screen future. But why wait for a possible movie when Lawyer is such a good read? The story revolves around 32-year-old Michael Brock, an antitrust attorney on the fast track to a partnership in the elite Washington law firm of Drake & Sweeney. Long undisturbed by the panhandlers who people many of the District's sidewalks, Brock's conscience gets a wake-up call when an armed homeless man slips into the firm's plush offices and takes him and eight other attorneys hostage. Bloodied and shaken in the ensuing shootout, Brock sets out to discover why his firm was targeted and in the process uncovers both shady legal dealings at Drake & Sweeney and a soul within himself.
Grisham has forsaken some of his usual suspense and fireworks in favor of an unabashedly heart-tugging portrait of homelessness. But his zippy pacing remains, along with enough plot zigzags to keep readers happily hooked. By now, Grisham could probably put his grocery list on the bestseller charts, but The Street Lawyer has earned its place there. (Doubleday, $27.95)