Authors Like John Grisham (10 Book Recommendations)

John Grisham is one of the world’s most famous authors. This prolific writer has crafted a large number of books.

Grisham’s work has covered a large number of genres, though he is especially well-known for writing suspense-filled legal thrillers.

Authors Like John Grisham (10 Book Recommendations)

Part of the reason why Grisham has had so much success in this genre is that he used to be a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives.

Thus, his books are filled with a sense of realism that other writers are unable to achieve.

First released in 1989, Grisham’s debut novel was a legal thriller entitled A Time to Kill. Grisham is perhaps best known for The Firm. This bestselling novel was adapted into a film starring Tom Cruise.

Many of Grisham’s other works have been adapted, such as The Pelican Brief.

If you have an interest in the legal literary genre, then the chances are that you are familiar with John Grisham. He is perhaps the best-known name in this genre.

If you have a passion for the books of John Grisham, such as The Firm or The Pelican Brief, then you’ll enjoy the works of comparable authors such as Scott Turow, William Bernhardt, Lisa Scottoline, Michael Connelley, and Alafair Burke. Read our brilliant book recommendations!

Books By John Grisham

Authors Like John Grisham (10 Book Recommendations)

As mentioned, John Grisham is an incredibly prolific writer. He’s worked on numerous legal thrillers. Perhaps his most famous legal series is the Jake Brigance series, which begins with Grisham’s debut novel (A Time to Kill). 

However, Grisham has also branched into other novels. For instance, he started the Camino Island crime fiction series with a book of the same name, which was originally released in 2017.

Expanding his horizons, Grisham has even worked on a young adult series. Focusing on the character Theodore Boone, these books are legal dramas for middle-school-age students.

Grisham’s standalone books include The Firm, The Rainmaker, The Street Lawyer, Skipping Christmas, and Gray Mountain.

A major theme in Grisham’s writing is ethics. Given that many of his books are concerned with legality, this makes sense. Grisham explores moral complexity and ambiguity.

The Firm

Justice and injustice are also significant themes. The Firm tells the story of Mitch McDeere, who has a promising career in law.

However, Mitch soon discovers that his firm has been working on the wrong side of the law. This causes Mitch to question justice and morality. 

Many of Grisham’s works are told from the perspective of a young person who works in the law industry. For instance, The Pelican Brief is centered around a law student who discovers a deadly conspiracy. 

Authors Like John Grisham

Scott Turow

Presumed Innocent

Firstly, Scott Turow is an author with a background in law, namely, he worked as a lawyer. Turow’s books are set in a fictional location known as Kindle County.

Turow’s background in law enhances his books and makes them feel genuine.

When it comes to book recommendations, Turow’s first two novels are perhaps his most iconic (see also “Authors Like Mo Hayder“). His debut novel, Presumed Innocent, is an amazing legal thriller. It focuses on a prosecutor who is accused of the murder of his colleague.

The Burden of Power is Turow’s second novel. The book is about a defense attorney named Sandy Stern, who discovers a mystery in the wake of his wife’s death.

Released in 1990, this book has also been transformed into a television series. Starring Héctor Elizondo, Brian Dennehy, and Mel Harris, this adaptation of The Burden of Proof was a hit.


  • Turow’s writing is loaded with suspense.
  • He excels at crafting courtroom dramas.


  • Turow doesn’t always stick the landings when it comes to his climaxes.

Themes: Innocence, Justice, Loss

William Bernhardt

Primary Justice: A Ben Kincaid Novel of Suspense (Ben Kincaid series Book 1)

As the author of the popular Ben Kincaid series, thriller and mystery author William Bernhardt has received much acclaim.

Like Grisham, Bernhardt has won lots of awards, including the Southern Writers Guild’s Gold Medal Award in 1998.

Ben Kincaid begins the series as a young and inexperienced lawyer who is rather idealistic.

First introduced in Primary Justice (1991), Ben Kincaid soon becomes involved in numerous mysteries. For instance, in the first book, he investigates the death of an adoptive father.

Bernhardt has also worked on books outside of this series. In particular, we recommend reading Dark Eye (2005). Focusing on Las Vegas, this book introduces readers to a charismatic detective named Susan Pulaski.

Much of Bernhardt’s writing focuses on courtroom drama. So if you enjoy this genre, you will likely devour the works of this author. It’s these courtroom scenes that are particularly akin to Grisham’s writing.


  • Ben Kincaid is an interesting character who readers will easily become interested in.
  • The characters are flawed, which gives them plenty of room to develop.
  • Bernhardt’s writing will quickly get you hooked, as his books tend to be pageturners.


  • Bernhardt’s pacing can be somewhat inconsistent. 

Themes: Justice, Mystery, Death.

Lisa Scottoline

Everywhere That Mary Went (Rosato & Associates Book 1)

Scottoline writes within the same genre as Grisham, making them quite comparable. One of the main differences is that Scottoline focuses on female characters, allowing her to shed some light on a unique perspective in this industry.

This sensational series started in 1993 with the release of Everywhere That Mary Went. This captivating book follows the life of Mary DiNunzio, who is trying to succeed in the ruthless world of law.

Meanwhile, one of Scottoline’s more recent books that we recommend is Lady Killer, the 10th book in this series. In this book, Mary takes on a case for free, but this soon puts her in a dangerous position that could threaten her life.


  • Scottoline focuses on female characters, while many books in this genre center around male protagonists.
  • Mary DiNunzio is an enthralling character who is developed through the course of the Rosato & Associates series.


  • Most of Scottoline’s earlier books are more interesting and dynamic than more of her recent writing.

Themes: Gender, Justice, Law.

Michael Connelly

The Lincoln Lawyer (Large Print)

Michael Connelly is perhaps the author who is most comparable to Grisham. He works primarily in the genres of crime fiction and detective novels. 

Connelly’s most famous character is Mickey Haller, who debuted in The Lincoln Lawyer, which was released in 2005.

In the 2011 film adaptation of the book, this defense attorney character was portrayed by Matthew McConaughey. 

Another major character in Connelly’s writing is Detective Harry Bosch, who is the half-brother of the aforementioned Mickey Haller. Bosch has his own series, which started with the 1992 novel The Black Echo.

Connelly’s writing is particularly suited to people who like detective narratives. Filled with suspense, Connelly provides an engrossing reading experience.


  • Connelly’s writing is filled with intrigue and suspense.
  • Connelly is an exceptional detective novelist who creates fascinating stories.


  • This author’s works can seem a little dated. 

Themes: Innocence, Evil, Justice.

Alafair Burke

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Last but not least, Alafair Burke is an author and professor of law. Like Grisham, she has experience in the law industry, which makes her books more grounded. 

Burke has written a few crime novel series, including the Samantha Kincaid series and the Ellie Hatcher series. 

The Samatha Kincaid series tells the story of this complex titular character. This series started with Judgement Calls, which was first published in 2003.

Kincaid is a deputy district attorney. With a potent sense of justice, Kincaid wades her way through the murky world of criminal justice.

Meanwhile, the Ellie Hatcher series was launched by Dead Connection in 2007.

This gripping book is about a compelling rookie detective who goes undercover in a dangerous situation to find a serial killer who has been attacking women.


  • Like Grisham, Burke’s law experience makes her writing feel realistic.
  • Burke’s writing tells the female perspective of a male-dominated industry.
  • Character development is a major focus for Burke.


  • The writing can be a little slow at times.

Themes: Justice, Ethics, Gender

Final Thoughts

Once you’ve worked your way through the works of John Grisham, you might be struggling to find something new to read. After all, few writers can devise plots that are as intriguing and nail-biting as John Grisham.

As this list demonstrates, numerous authors are comparable to John Grisham.

Focusing on similar narratives and themes, you will likely adore the works of these writers if you are a John Grisham enthusiast. They are loaded with intrigue, mystery, and suspense.

So why not try some of these wonderful writers? They may become one of your new favorite authors.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best John Grisham Novel To Begin With?

If you are interested in John Grisham’s writing, we recommend that you start with the aforementioned thriller The Firm. This is one of Grisham’s most successful novels and is a great starting point.

Who Is The Best Legal Thriller Writer?

Some of the best writers in this genre include Grisham, Michael Connelly, Marcia Clark, and Scott Pratt.

Noah Burton