An Epic Legal Thriller: The Judge’s List

John Grisham has done it again. Grisham has hit another home run with his 2021 book, The Judge’s List, The Whistler’s sequel, an epic legal thriller.

An Introduction to This Epic Legal Thriller

Already among the most well-known American authors of intensely compelling stories full of excitement and satisfying conclusions, Grisham gives us The Judge’s List. This epic legal thriller is certainly worth a read for fans of his work – and a good entry point for anyone interested in giving him a try.

Have you ever read a book that you just couldn’t put down? Then there’s a very good chance that you’ve read one of John Grisham’s mysteries or legal thrillers. Those who are familiar with Grisham’s outstanding prose and highly original story content already knew what they were getting into with The Judge’s List.

If you enjoyed The Whistler, you’re going to love this sequel, John Grisham’s latest entry to his already impressive collection of epic legal thrillers and suspense novels.

This epic legal thriller asks, "Could a siting judge be a serial killer"?

The Narration

As is the case in the preceding entry in this series, this story is told in the third person point of view, meaning Grisham serves as our narrator throughout the book. Lacy Stoltz is still the main character, but you’ll still get Grisham’s distinct voice to carry you through each page.

Who's Next on the Judge's List, an epic legal thriller.

The Book’s Setting

The Judge’s List takes place in Florida, where Lacy is in a rut at her Florida Board on Judicial Conduct job – until she meets a woman, whose father was murdered, and she suspects a judge within Lacy’s jurisdiction.

John Grisham's The Judge's List

The Theme of This Epic Legal Thriller

Arguably, one might say that the theme of this book is the importance of pursuing justice no matter the dangers or the likelihood that you’ll succeed. Throughout this book, Lacy Stoltz deals with one difficult situation after another, and the prospects of nailing down the crooked judge become dimmer and dimmer.

What makes these murders so complex is that the killer commits the crimes in different states and municipalities years apart, and leaves no forensic evidence other than his signature MO. Still, she perseveres and fights for the truth to come out in any way she can.

The Book’s Genre

The Judge’s List is another in a long line of Grisham’s epic legal thrillers and suspenseful thrillers. John Grisham is known for and clearly highly proficient at creating courtroom and legal thrillers. You’ll get all the chills and addictive storylines that you can expect from other entries in this genre.

About the Author

This is yet another novel by the tireless John Grisham. Compared to one of his literary hits like The Firm, this new book absolutely holds up. It also serves as a compelling continuation of the chain of events started in The Whistler.

The Plot

Our protagonist, Lacy Stoltz, meets Jeri Crosby, whose father had been killed two decades before. That murder case and several others with the same modus operandi (MO) are still unsolved after nearly 20 years in the case of Crosby’s father. There is one person whom Jeri suspects, a sitting judge who she’s been stalking obsessively since her father’s death.

With no shortage of other victims to be found along the way in her 20 years of pursuit, the stakes could not be higher. And yet, the trail couldn’t seem colder as everyone is seemingly a suspect and suspicions run wild, but it’s nearly impossible to find a single scrap of proof that could identify and condemn her father’s murder in this epic legal thriller.

Is Lacy Stoltz up for the case?

My Opinion about This Epic Legal Thriller & Read Recommendation

As usual, John Grisham delivers famously on his captivating story mechanism and ingenious plot architecture. In his work, you see a clear snapshot of real people engaging with real situations. He’s clearly still up for new challenges in his writing – definitely an author to continue to keep your eye on.

#1 New York Times Best Seller — Currently (16 December ’21) #4.

“Investigator Lacy Stoltz follows the trail of a serial killer and closes in on a shocking suspect—a sitting judge—in ‘one of the best crime reads of the year.… Bristling with high-tech detail and shivering with suspense…. Worth staying up all night to finish.’ ” — The Wall Street Journal.

With 22,015 ratings by verified Amazon buyers, this epic legal thriller was rated 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. Eighty-eight percent rated it four or five stars.

Buy the Book on Kindle

Be sure to read my review of Sycamore Row the second and read my review of A Time for Mercy the third Jake Brigance courtroom drama novel based in Clanton in Ford County, MS.

Questions about Cross #29, Fear No Evil Answered

Readers are asking questions about Cross #29 such as if this is genuine James Patterson or another mish-mashed, mixed-up story by a ghostwriter.

As a longtime Patterson reader and Cross enthusiast, I think it would be safe to say this is genuine Patterson. Typically, Patterson doesn’t collaborate on the Cross series. The information, tone, and writing style remain the same in Fear No Evil as in the other Cross novels.

Generally, when he collaborates on a book, he includes the author’s name on the cover. Like the Billy Harney, Mike Bennet, and Emmy Dockery series, he has corroborated with David Ellis. Though in defense of many of those ghostwriters, they are good; they’re just not James Patterson.

Introduction & Some Questions about Cross Answered

If you’re a fan of James Patterson, you will enjoy his latest novel, Fear No Evil. This book is the 29th installment in the popular Cross series, and it follows detective Alex Cross as he investigates a series of gruesome murders. With its fast-paced plot and thrilling suspense, Fear No Evil is sure to keep you entertained from beginning to end.

The series started in ’93 with Along Came a Spider and has a faithful following, and most have become bestsellers. There have been three movies and at least one TV series made from the Cross novels. 

Of course, ninety-something-year-old Nana Mama is still cooking and taking care of things at the Cross house, and Ali is still as inquisitive as ever. He even solves another serious crime in this feature. Don’t miss Ali Cross, Ali Cross: Like Father, Like Son, or Ali Cross: The Secret Detective, or save about 30% when you buy the three-book set. Your favorite YA detective enthusiast would love these as a holiday gift.

Brianna “Bree” Stone is back in the detective arena as a PI and even manages to get involved in a firefight with the men of Cross’s longtime nemesis, “M” in Paris.


The story is narrated by Alex Cross, or occasionally by Bree, Sampson, in the first-person or in third-person from the perspective of the villain.

The Setting of Cross #29

Many of the events begin at Cross’s home, where he lives with his wife Bree and their two children Alex (Ali) Junior, Jannie, and Nana Mama. The book is set primarily in contemporary Washington, D.C. Alex lives in Southeast Washington, D.C., on Fifth Street.

However, Alex Cross and his associates often visit other areas during the investigation. He and Sampson finally take that trip to Swan River Valley, Montana, to fish, raft, and spread Billie’s ashes, and Bree goes on an assignment to Paris.

“Darkness falls. The river churns into rapids. Shots ring out through the forest.  

No backup. No way out. Fear no evil.” —Back cover blurb.

The Theme of Fear No Evil

The central theme of the book is fear, murder, and mayhem. Each of the victims is killed in a way that instills fear in those who witness it. And then, the drug cartel responds by killing the entire family of the murdered agent to keep others from confessing.

The victims are all tortured, forced to sign a confession, and killed in very violent ways to strike fear in those helping the cartel. With the help of John Sampson and Ned Mahoney, Cross must use all their skills to catch those responsible. Cross and Sampson must overcome their fears and anxiety about revenge on their families to catch the killers and bring them to justice. In a previous book, Sampson has already lost his wife Billie—Willow, his young daughter,—is his whole life.

The Genre of Cross #29

The book is a thriller, and it contains all of the suspense and excitement that you would expect from a novel of this genre.

About the Author

James Patterson is the author of numerous best-selling books, including the Cross series. He has a gift for creating thrilling stories that keep readers on the edge of their seats. What’s more, Patterson does so well at making you love the characters; you feel like these things are happening to your friends.

The cover blurb states, “Alex Cross enters the final battle with the all-knowing genius who has stalked him and his family for years.”

Some Hypothetical Questions about Cross Answered

If you’re a fan of the Cross series, then Fear No Evil is a book that you’ll enjoy. However, it’s also different from previous installments in that it deals primarily with one central mystery rather than multiple cases. This change was refreshing, and I liked how the plot progressed much more when there wasn’t so much happening.

Bree is involved in another case with a new employer who takes her to Paris.

How did Patterson’s previous works compare with this work?

Compared to other Cross novels, Fear No Evil has one of the best plots in the series. Though, I would not call it one of his best in the series. But if you are a faithful Cross reader, it is necessary.

What’s more, it is exciting, suspenseful, and it keeps you guessing until the very last page. If you enjoyed books from the very first Cross book, Along Came a Spider, to others such as I, Alex Cross, Double Cross, or Jack & Jill, then you’re sure to love this latest installment. These are questions about Cross.

What is the plot summary without giving away any critical details?

In Fear No Evil Cross #29, Alex Cross investigates a series of brutal murders in Washington D.C. and around the country. The victims are mostly government drug-enforcement agents who seem to have nothing in common, and Cross must figure out how the deaths are related before more people die. In his investigation, he is assisted by longtime friend and colleague John Sampson.

Who were the main characters?

Alex Cross, John Sampson, Ned Mahoney are the detective trying to solve a series of cartel-related murders committed by Cross’s longtime nemesis, “M,” and the retaliatory attacks and murders of the victims’ families. There is also a short story about Bree’s new client and her travels to Paris.

She is now a private investigator hired to investigate a billionaire accused of sexually assaulting several interns and embezzling massive funds, as much as $400 million from the corporation. The implication is that they’re more interested in the embezzling than the sexual assaults.

Will I read more by this author? Why?

Questions about Cross @29
The President’s Daughter Amazon Cover

Yes, I will read more by James Patterson. However, I am often hesitant to read the stories he has put his name on created by other writers.

Although I did enjoy, The President Is Missing and The President’s Daughter with Bill Clinton.

Lee Child actually calls them, “the dream team.”

Patterson is a master of the thriller genre, and I can always rely on his books to be exciting and plot accurately.

Whereas some of the books he has added his name to leave a lot to be desired. I hope this answers some of your questions about Cross #29, Fear No Evil.

Final Questions about Cross Answered & My Recommendations

Without hesitation, I would recommend this book to anyone. I enjoyed reading Fear No Evil Cross #29. It’s an exciting mystery novel with a well-developed plot and memorable characters.

Fear No Evil Cross #29 was released on 22 November, and it already has 1,516 reviews by verified Amazon purchasers. Out of those, 90 percent rated it either four or five stars, with an overall rating of 4.6-stars out of five.

Fear No Evil is #3 on the NY Times Bestseller list as of 6 December.

Therefore, before you forget, go to Amazon and pick up your copy for your Kindle today! BTW, there are rumors that Paramount+ (CBS), Skydance, and Amazon are working on an Alex Cross TV adventure series even though most of the movies and TV series have not done as well as the books.

Book Review: Transform Your Medium Stories

Transform Your Medium Stories: A Complete Guide to Turning Your Medium Stories into Money Making Books

Transform Your Medium Stories: A Complete Guide to Turning Your Medium Stories into Money Making Books by J.R. Heimbigner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was just what I needed to read right now. I have nearly 500 articles and stories on Medium and I have often thought about transforming some of my better-performing short stories into a book. But, I didn’t even know where or how to start.

Some of my friends encouraged me to just join the Amazon KDP and through trial and error, I would figure out how to do it. But without step-by-step instructions, I was hesitant to start. Now, after reading this, I am confident I can do it on my own.

Plus, I just finished writing my novel on NaNoWriMo, so I am anxious to try another book while I finish the rewrites and edits. With this, I can do that.

Thanks, Jack!

View all my reviews