Before writing his first novel, John Grisham used to work 60-70 hours a week practicing law and finding time before reaching office and during courtroom recess to write his first novel. He spent three years before he completed “A Time to Kill” in 1987. Many publishers rejected his novel but finally Wynwood press bought it and printed only 5000 copies of this novel. If John Grisham had not already started writing his next book, he would have said good bye to this career. He wrote the novel about a hotshot attorney hired by a perfect law firm but it turned out that it wasn’t what it appeared. John Grisham was able to sell rights of “The Firm” to Paramount Pictures for 600,000 dollars and became hot property for the publishers. “The Firm” was bestselling novel in 1991. Some other very famous novels by John Grisham include The Client, The Pelican Brief, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner and many more cementing his place as one of the best legal thriller writers of all times. Below are some authors who are somewhat like John Grisham and if you like John Grisham’s novels, you might like the following authors as well.
1. Linda Fairstein
Linda is an American author as well as former prosecutor and former head of the sex crimes unit in Manhattan District Attorney Office from 1976 till 2002, who is currently trying to play her role by writing on crime and violence against children and women. Her work on a series of novels featuring Alexandra Cooper is her main reason for being famous but list of her books is not just restricted to this series. She has a long list of books e.g. Final Jeopardy, Likely to Die, Cold Hit, The Deadhouse, The Bone Vault, The Kills, Entombed, Death Dance, Bad Blood and many more. She is an author who can be matched with John Grisham when it comes to legal thriller.
2. William Bernhardt
His series of novels written about an idealistic attorney Ben Kincaid has earned him a reputation in legal thriller genre and he is called by many as “master of the courtroom drama”. More than 10 million copies of his books are sold in several different countries and he has earned many awards in three different categories i.e. Fiction, Poetry and Young Adult. Ben Kincaid Series has many books like Primary Justice, Blind Justice, Deadly Justice, Perfect Justice, Cruel Justice, Naked Justice and Extreme Justice. The series is a long one and almost every year one novel in this series was released from 1991 to 2010. If you are hungry for legal thriller and crime related novels, William Bernhardt is your man.
3. Lisa Scottoline
She is a famous American author who was born in Philadelphia and she earned her undergraduate and law degrees from University of Pennsylvania becoming a litigator in a Philadelphia law firm. She left the law firm after her daughter was born to earn money from home by writing. She has written 14 bestselling novels till yet and her novels are translated in 25 different languages globally. Legal Tender, Rough Justice, Mistaken Identity and The Vendetta Defense are some of her famous novels.
4. Erle Stanley Gardner
Erle died in 1970 and he was an American lawyer and author who produced a series of novels featuring detective Perry Mason. He graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1909 and was enrolled at Valparaiso University School of Law but got suspended. He pursued his legal education in California and passed the state bar exam in 1991. Some of his famous novels other than Perry Mason series are The Clue of the Forgotten Murder, This is Murder, The Dark Blonde and The Blonde in Lower Six.
5. Kate Wilhelm
Katie Gertrude Meredith was born in Toledo, Ohio in 1928; is an American writer who got recognition in legal thriller category by her series of Barbara Holloway novels. These novels include Death Qualified: A Mystery of Chaos, The Best Defense, Defense for the Devil, No Defense, Desperate Measures and others. Her other work include More Bitter Than Death, The Winter Beach, Listen Listen, The Clone, The Nevermore Affair etc.
6. Steve Martini
Steve started his career as a journalist. Later he studied law and practiced both privately and for public agencies. In mid 1980s Martini began writing his first novel The Simeon Chamber. His second novel featured his series character named attorney Paul Madriani in Compelling Evidence. He later published bestsellers Prime Witness, Undue Influence, The Judge and The Attorney.