Book review: The Rooster Bar

John Grisham's The Rooster Bar is inspired by a newspaper report that highlights the disturbing world of for-profit legal education.

Three friends and third-year law students – Mark Frazier, Todd Lucero, and Zola Maal – dream of changing the world but instead find themselves deep in debt because of their student loans.

All they want is to finish their last semester at Foggy Bottom Law School (FBLS) in Washington, D.C., and just graduate.

But their world changes when their friend and classmate, Gordy Tanner, commits suicide before he can reveal publicly the conspiracy he's unearthed – that FBLS admits unqualified students in order to profit from their student loans.

And the school's owner, a Wall Street lawyer turned investor, owns a bank that specialises in student lending.

Gordy's suicide make the trios realise that they are victims of a scam, so they decide to drop out of school, change their identities to avoid creditors, and practise law without a license.

After making a series of missteps, the three friends' disgruntled clients and creditors start to close in on them.

But they still manage to pull off the perfect crime and finish what Gordy has started. Mark and Todd feel conflicted at times by what they are doing, but their need to bring the crook to justice drives them to take the risk, even taking on the FBI.

This intriguing story has some suspenseful moments in its multi-layered plot which Grisham has managed to sustained throughout.

This book opens up the readers to the scandal of the ruinous repercussions of graduate debt and the peril of 'diploma mill' colleges. A compelling read.

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