“The Broker” by John Grisham was the book discussed when the CEOS Book Club members met on Feb. 12. Grisham wrote “The Broker” in 2006, but some members felt the story oddly reminiscent of present day events.
Joel Backman was a lawyer, mover and shaker on the Washington, D.C. scene when he was approached by three young Pakistani with advanced technology…technology capable of taking over a satellite system. They wanted to sell the knowledge to the highest bidder and Backman was the man to help them. His efforts to pedal the information to various countries, all of whom were eager to obtain it, came to the attention of the CIA who brought charges against him. By this time Backman was the target of several countries’ undercover agents and pleaded guilty in exchange for the safety of prison and to protect his son, Neil, who had no involvement with Backman’s deal makings.
After serving six years in prison, Backman was suddenly offered a pardon by the outgoing U.S. President. He was whisked away to Italy, by CIA agents, not to freedom, but to be kept under surveillance. He was given a new identity, new appearance, tutors to help him learn the Italian language, an apartment and a small amount of money. However, suspicion never left Backman’s mind and he felt his every move was being watched. He became sure of the fact when he was approached on the street by someone who called out his real name. He realized his location and new identity had been leaked. Backman, however, knew a few tricks of his own and gave his pursuers a tangled trail to follow.
Although most members enjoyed reading the book, some felt it was not one of Grisham’s best, with the introduction of numerous characters and the book being brought to an abrupt end.
Those attending the meeting were Marilyn Clark, Evalee McKinney, Natalie Morgan, April Pyles and Judy Chapman.
The CEOS Book Club meets bi-monthly and all meetings are held at the home of Eva Lee McKinney. Books are chosen from the West Virginia Community Educational Outreach Service’s Purposeful Reading List. The next book to be read by club members is “A Low Country Wedding” by Mary Alice Monroe. Membership in the club is open to all, and information on the club may be obtained by calling the Mason County Extension Office at 304-675-0888. April’s meeting of the Book Club will be held April 10 at the McKinney home.