John Grisham Book List

Grisham's body of work is not limited to legal thrillers

Calico Joe by John Grisham
Calico Joe by John Grisham. Doubleday

John Grisham, known as the master of legal thrillers, was working as a criminal defense attorney in Southaven, Mississippi when he wrote his first novel. That first book, "A Time to Kill," was based on an actual court case that dealt with racial issues in the South. It enjoyed modest success. He entered politics, serving in the state legislature on the Democratic ticket and began writing his second novel.

It was not Grisham's intent to leave law and politics to become a published author, but the runaway success of his second novel, "The Firm," changed his mind.

Grisham quickly became a prolific best-selling author. In addition to novels, he has published short stories, nonfiction, and young adult books. This list includes all his published books and illustrates how Grisham branched out from legal stories over the years. 

1989 - 2000: Grisham's Work Captures the Attention of Mainstream Readers

Few new writers have exploded on the literary scene like John Grisham. "The Firm" became the top selling book of 1991 and was on The New York Times bestseller list for nearly 50 weeks. Later it was made into the first of many movies based on Grisham's novels.

With "The Pelican Brief" through "The Brethren," Grisham continued to produce legal thrillers at the rate of about one per year, tapping into his experience as a lawyer to create characters who faced moral dilemmas and dangerous situations.

During the first decade of his work, he produced several novels that were eventually made into major big-screen films including "Pelican Brief" in 1993, "The Client" in 1994, "A Time to Kill" in 1996, "The Chamber" in 1996 and "The Rainmaker" in 1997.

His impressive list of novels written during this time are:

  • 1989 - A Time to Kill
  • 1991 - The Firm 
  • 1992 - The Pelican Brief
  • 1993 - The Client
  • 1994 - The Chamber
  • 1995 - The Rainmaker
  • 1996 - The Runaway Jury
  • 1997 - The Partner
  • 1998 - The Street Lawyer
  • 1999 - The Testament
  • 2000 - The Brethren

2001-2010: Grisham Branches Out

As the best-selling author entered his second decade of writing, he stepped back from his legal thrillers to examine other genres. "A Painted House" is a small town mystery. "Skipping Christmas" is about a family that decides to skip Christmas. He examined his interest in sports with "Bleachers," which tells the story of a high school football star returning to his hometown after his coach dies, and "Playing for Pizza" about an American playing football in Italy.

He introduced "Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer" to middle-school readers. This book about a kid lawyer successfully launched a series of Theodore Boone books. Grisham released "Ford County," his first collection of short stories and "The Innocent Man," his first nonfiction book about an innocent man on death row.  Not to turn his back on his dedicated fans, he rounded out this time with several legal thrillers.

  • 2001 - A Painted House
  • 2001 - Skipping Christmas
  • 2002 - The Summons
  • 2003 - The King of Torts
  • 2003 - Bleachers
  • 2004 - The Last Juror
  • 2005 - The Broker
  • 2006 - The Innocent Man
  • 2007 - Playing for Pizza
  • 2008 - The Appeal
  • 2009 - The Associate
  • 2009 - Ford County
  • 2010 - Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer
  • 2010 - The Confession

2011 to Present: Grisham Revisits Past Successes

Following the success of the first "Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer" book, Grisham followed up with five more books in the popular series. In "Sycamore Row," a sequel to "A Time to Kill," Grisham brought back protagonist Jake Brigance and key supporting characters Lucien Wilbanks and Harry Rex Vonner. He continued his policy of writing one legal thriller a year and threw in a couple of short stories and a baseball novel called "Calico Joe" for good measure. 

  • 2011 - Theodore Boone: The Abduction
  • 2011 - The Litigators 
  • 2012 - Theodore Boone: The Accused
  • 2012 - Calico Joe
  • 2012 - The Racketeer
  • 2013 - Theodore Boone: The Activist
  • 2013 - Sycamore Row 
  • 2014 - Gray Mountain
  • 2015 - Theodore Boone: The Fugitive
  • 2015 - Rogue Lawyer
  • 2016 - Partners (a "Rogue Lawyer" short story)
  • 2016 - Theodore Boone: The Scandal
  • 2016 - Witness to a Trial (a digital short story)
  • 2016 - The Whistler