The client; John Grisham


The Client is a book written by John Grisham which tells us a story about two young brothers who are witnesses of a suicide. Not only have they seen the man murder himself but the oldest brother called Mark, has been talking to him in the car before.

The man who committed suicide is a Mafia lawyer called Jerome Clifford who was defending Barry Muldanno alias The Blade. His client was convicted for having killed a senator but they didn't have any evidence because they couldn't find the body. His trial would be in four weeks but as they couldn't prove anything Barry Muldanno wasn't worried about his sentence.

Barry Muldanno had told his lawyer Clifford that the senator's body had been hidden in his garage. Clifford is very afraid of Muldanno, he knows that his client together with the other Mafia members have got lot of power. He therefore wanted to commit suicide so that he wouldn't be involved anymore in this case. Unfortunately for him, Mark and his brother Ricky see him trying to gas himself inside the car, and Mark, being a very brave boy, takes out the tube of the tail pipe of the car, but the second time he does it he gets caught. Clifford takes him into his car and starts talking with him. He explains him the whole story and ends by saying that now Mark and he will die together… Mark smells the gas already but when he looks in the mirror he sees that Ricky is taking out the tube just the same way as Mark did. When Clifford is asleep, due to the alcohol and the gas, he manages to get out of the car and together with his brother he hides in the grass.

A few seconds later, Clifford gets out of the car, very angry looking and shouting for Mark. As he can't find him, he puts his gun in his mouth and shoots…

Ricky is in hospital. He is in shock which is caused by the terrible thing he saw. The doctors can't find an explanation for his case but they don't know what has really happened.

Just after what they saw, Mark called the police but he didn't give his name, and now the FBI is in the hospital wanting to talk to Mark. He doesn't want to in the beginning but later on he has to. He doesn't explain them everything because he is afraid that if the Mafia will find out what he knows, he will get into trouble. He manages to get himself and his family a lawyer, Reggie Love, who has a bit of an extraordinary name as she is a woman.

The FBI knows that Mark isn't telling them every detail due to the fingerprints found in Clifford's car and they pressure him to tell them.

Reggie feels sorry for him but she can't allow him to lie in court. When Gronke appears, Mark is even more petrified. He is being threatened by him with a knife not to tell anyone what he knows because his mother and his brother will then get into trouble.

He is being put in prison, because he doesn't want to talk and like this he is being protected at the same time. When after a few days he still doesn't want to talk in court in front of Judge Roosevelt he is brought back to his cell. He manages to escape and get into contact with Reggie. He tells her to drive to New Orleans. Once having arrived there they go to Clifford's house. When they are hiding in the grass they see light in the garage. Mark walks to it and through a window he sees that it is Barry the Blade who is digging up the body. Reggie gets an idea, and she throws a stone through the next door's window causing the alarm to go off. When everything is silent again they enter the garage and they find the senator's body in a plastic bag.

Once being back again in Memphis, Mark and his family are waiting for the FBI jet to arrive which will take them to another place, now that they have accepted the Witness Protection Programme. Ricky will be treated in another hospital and the family will be protected. Mark and Reggie are both sad because they know that they will never see each other again.

As all three of them leave on the plane, Reggie tells the FBI everything what she knows and what she has seen.


Mark Sway,

He is a very intelligent and smart boy of only eleven years old. He knows quite well how to handle the situation although he is very scared but that is normal. I think it is very smart the way that he took his lawyer Reggie to Clifford's garage but also the way that he escaped from prison.

For his age he knows a lot about life, but he has also seen many films to which he refers in real life.

He started smoking when he was nine, and now he is even showing his little brother who is eight.

Just as in chapter 4 is explained, `Mark was a thinker and a worrier'.

Ricky Sway,

Ricky is Mark's brother, who is eight years old. He is still a very delicate boy who hasn't seen as many films as his brother. He gets in shock after seeing a suicide, and we don't know much about him as he is all the time asleep, and when he is awake he won't talk.

Dianne Sway,

Dianne is the mother of both boys, and on her own she needs to educate her children because five years ago her husband left them. We know that the boys are happy about that because it seems that their father was always very violent and drunk.

Dianne lives with her family in a trailer in a trailer park. She is very sad as her youngest son is in hospital.

Reggie Love,

Reggie love is a female lawyer who has been a lawyer for five years. Her real name was actually Regina but a few years ago she got separated from her husband who was a doctor and he changed her name to Reggie. The FBI found out that she started drinking and taking drugs and her children were taken away from her by her ex-husband.

She is a bit of an unusual lawyer as she accepts to take Mark's case for only one dollar.

Barry Muldanno,

`Or simple The Blade as he liked to be called, wore shiny suits and a lot of gold. Barry enjoyed a fast life, and liked people to be afraid of him.'

Barry Muldanno is a Mafia member who is accused of killing a senator. He is a very cold blooded man because he even sends a murderer to do something to Mark as he knows more about the case.

He likes to kill because when he sent Gronke to threaten Mark he was a bit disappointed that he couldn't harm him more and so he opposed to hurt his family. Luckily the Gronke wasn't in the `mood'.

Roy Foltrigg,

Foltrigg is a US government lawyer whose job is to prove that Barry Muldanno killed the senator. He tries everything to make Mark talk and at the end he proposes to take Mark to court in New Orleans where he was sure that they could make him talk.

Slick Moeller,

He is a crime reporter who works on the Memphis Press. His real name is actually Alfred but nobody knows about it. He never names a person who trusted him with information and he knows everything about every crime committed, even before the cops.

Activities before reading the book

1. Find a map of the United States. Find these cities: Memphis, New Orleans, and Phoenix.

'The client; John Grisham'

2. Look at the back cover of the book and read the introduction. Then answer these questions.

(a) What is Mark's secret?

Mark is an eleven years old boy, who knows where a body is hidden and he can help the FBI to prove a mafia murder having the body as evidence.

(b) Why is the secret dangerous?

The secret is dangerous because he can get in trouble if the mafia finds out that he knows where they hid the body.

(c) Why can't his mother help him?

His mother can't help him because she is in the hospital with his younger brother who is sick.

(d) What shows that the lawyer is `unusual'?

The lawyer is `unusual' because you don't always find a lawyer that works for one dollar.

(e) Who helps the lawyer?

Mark, who is a clever client, helps the lawyer.

(f) Who is 'The Client'?

The client is Mark,

Activities while reading the book


Are these true or false? Write T or F. Write the false sentences again so they are true.

(a) Mark and Ricky go to the secret hiding place after school.


(b) Mark and Ricky five with their Munn and Dad In a trailer park.

False, because their dad left five years ago.

(e) Mark started smoking two years ago.

True, his is now eleven and he started smoking when he was nine.

(d) The man sees Mark when Mark pulls the tube away from the tail pipe.


(e) Romey is a lawyer who is working for the Mafia.


(f) Romey wants to kill himself because there is a body in his garage.


(g) Ricky saves his brother.


(h) Ricky sees Romey shoot himself.


(i) Mark is afraid to give the police his name.

True, he doesn't give his name to the police when he calls them.


1. Shut your book. Can you remember who says the following to whom and where?

(a) 'How did you cut your face?'

Dianne, Mark's mother asked him when they were both in the hospital room where Ricky was lying.

(b) 'We've found the body.'

A cop told Mark in the hospital.

(c) Did you see the man before he shot himself?'

The same cop who also told him the previous fact asked Mark.

(d) 'Do you think I'm lying? '

Mark asked the same cop in the same conversation.

Now match these answers to the sentences above. Don't look at the book!

(i) 'What body?' Mark replied to the cop. It is the answer to b).

(ii) 'No, sir.' Mark answers the question c) made by the policeman.

(iii) `I don't know, kid' The policeman answered Mark to his question d).

(iv) 'It's long story' Mark answered his Mum in question a).

2. Match these people with the facts about

(a) Barry the Blade (iii) … lived in New Orleans.

(b) Jerome Clifford (iv) …was Barry's lawyer.

(c) Roy Foltrigg (vi) … worked for the US Government as a lawyer.

(d) Slick Moeller (ii) … was a newspaper reporter.

(e) Jason McThune (i) … was an FBI detective from Memphis.

(f) Larry Truman (v) … was an FBI detective from New Orleans.

(i) was en FBI detective from Memphis

(ii) was a newspaper reporter.

(iii) lived in New Orleans.

(iv) was Barry's lawyer.

(v) was en FBI detective from New Orleans

(vi) worked for the US Government as a lawyer.


Are these sentences facts or possibilities? Write F or P

(a) The man in the wheel chair broke his legs in a road accident.


(b) Gill Teal will be able to get more than $600,000 dollars from Exxon for the man.

It is a possibility because it is not sure.

(c) Mark takes Gill Teal's card because he thinks it will be useful.


(d) Clifford bought his gun In Memphis.


(e) He had taken drugs.


(f) He wanted to die in Memphis because he was born there.


(g) Clifford did not write the first note in the car.


(h) Clifford wrote a note to Mark Sway because he wanted to Mark to help him.


(i) Mark has realised that Clifford told him a dangerous secret.



Finish these sentences.

(a) Ricky does not wake up because he is in shock.

(b) Ricky must see his mother when he wakes up because it is very important that he sees someone he knows and trusts.

(e) Mark feels sick when he sees the newspaper because the word mafia makes him scared. If they find out that he knows more about the body he will be in trouble.

(d) Mark knows about the Mafia because he had seen a film about them on the television.

(e) Gill Teal is not the right lawyer for Mark because he is only involved in accidents so he only accepts those cases.

(f) Mark goes into Reggie Love's office because a policeman is coming towards him and the closest door was Reggie Love's office.

(g) Reggie Love will see Mark because Mark told her secretary that he had to talk to the FBI.


Talk about these questions with a partner or write your answers.

(a) In the Introduction, Reggie Love is called `unusual'. In what ways is she unusual? She is an unusual lawyer because she accepts to handle a case and help Mark only for one dollar because he doesn't have more money.

(b) Mark likes Reggie Love. Why? I think Mark likes Reggie because of the way she treats him and because she will be his lawyer for only one dollar

(c) Why does Reggie ask Mark to pay her something? A client has to pay a lawyer when he or she is working for him. They earn money by every case they get.

(d) Is Reggie Love a good lawyer? I believe Reggie is a good lawyer because she taped the conversation the FBI was having with Mark and without an adult and because she treats him really good. But she is also a great lawyer because she works for only one dollar.

(e) Why does Mark tell the truth to a lawyer but not his mother? I think that he doesn't want to tell his mother the truth because she already has enough problems having her youngest son in hospital and he doesn't want to worry her.


Look at these sentences and:

Say who is talking. Say who the person is talking to. Look at the words in black letters and say who or what the person is talking about.

(a) 'He woke up about two hours ago' the doctor is explaining Dianne and Mark that Ricky had just woken up.

(b) 'Perfect ... Let's go down.' this is said by Reggie to Mark when they are just about to talk to the FBI. By perfect she means that the black recorder is tied well to Marks' chest.

(c) 'Why don't you want to answer the question …?' this could either be asked by McThune or by Trumann who are two FBI detectives who are talking with Mark who doesn't want to respond to a question asked by them.

(d) 'We maybe joked about that.' This is an answer of McThune when Reggie asked him if they told Mark that he should talk to a lawyer.

(e) 'Now tell me what you want to know from my client.' Reggie is asking the FBI men referring to Mark as `my client'.

(f) 'First we need to know if they know something.' this is said by Barry the Blade who talks to his uncle Johnny about killing the boys.

(g) The cops say you know more about it than you're telling.' Slick Moeller tells Mark, when he is waiting outside Ricky's room, that he knows more about the case according to the police.

(h) 'She's working for a dollar? ' asked by Mark's mother, Dianne, when she finds out that their lawyer is only working for a dollar.

(i) It might help him to help Ricky.' Mark has just told his Mum what Ricky has seen and the tells her to tell the doctor about this so that maybe he can help Ricky.

(j) 'You've done nothing wrong, trying to help that man.' Dianne asks her son this question referring to Jerome Clifford.


Number these 1-10 to show the order in which they happened:

(a) Gronke frightens Mark in the lift. 3

(b) Gronke goes to the Tucker Trailer park. 9

(c) Foltrigg goes to Reggie's office. 5

(d) Mark goes down to the cafe for breakfast. 1

(e) Mark stays with Reggie at her mother's house. 7

(f) Dr Greenway tries to question Ricky. 6

(g) Mark seas his and Ricky's photos in the newspaper. 2

(h) Reggie sees that Mark has changed his mind about talking to the FBI. 10

(i) Mark sees someone watching Reggie's mother's house. 8

(j) Mark goes to see Reggie. 4

Chapters 12-13

Check the word information in your dictionary. Match these half sentences.

(a) Diane is very upset because -- (ix), their trailer burnt down.

(b) Mark agrees to go to prison -- (vii) when Ricky appears at the door.

(c) Mark is happy because -- (i) he has played a joke on Detective Klickman.

(d) Reggie cannot advise Mark -- (vi) to lie in court.

(e) Slick Moeller pays one of the court guards -- (v) to give him secret information.

(f) Mark could not lie in court so -- (iii) he decided to say nothing.

(g) Foltrigg thinks that -- (viii) the court in New Orleans can make Mark talk.

(h) The FBI wants to offer the Sways a new life if -- (ii) Mark gives evidence against the Mafia.

(i) Mark is afraid that -- (iv) his little brother is going to die.

(i) he has played a joke on Detective Klickman.

(ii) Mark gives evidence against the Mafia.

(iii) he decided to say nothing.

(iv) his little brother is going to die.

(v) to give him secret information.

(vi) to lie in court

(vii) when Ricky appears at the door

(viii) the court in New Orleans can make Mark talk.

(ix) their trailer burnt down

Chapters 14-15

Discuss these questions with a partner or write your answers:

(a) What is Gronke's opinion of Barry the Blade? Gronke thinks that Barry the Blade has gone mad. He is tired of the game he plays wanting to kill Mark so that he can't tell the secret anymore.

(b) What is Judge Roosevelt's opinion of Slick Moeller? Judge Roosevelt is very angry at Slick Moeller because everything that happens in his children's court was private and he doesn't understand how Moeller got information about the trial. But because Moeller won't betray the person who told him he is also put into prison for refusing to talk.

(c) What is Mark's opinion of the witness protection programme? Mark isn't sure about the witness protection programme because he is still afraid that the Mafia will find out and that they will do something to him or to his family. He had once seen it in a film. When that programme is being applied to his family he will have to tell the FBI what he knows and he is afraid that the Mafia will never forget.

(d) What is your opinion of Mark's plan? I think that Mark is a very intelligent and smart boy and his plan is a very good one. It was a bit difficult to act out because first of all Reggie didn't know about what he was planning to do and second it was very dangerous because loads of things could have happened to him now that he didn't have enough protection.


Complete the following with words from this chapter. Use one word for each line:

Barry Muldanno was…wild with…fear. He wanted to move …the body. Although Johnny told Barry he was … stupid… he gave Barry two men…to help him. Reggie and Mark hid… in the tall grass behind…Clifford's house until…Reggie got tired and her legs started to hurt… While they were crawling…through the grass…they saw a…light…in the garage. It was Muldanno and his men…who were digging up…the body. Reggie… crawled in the other direction…towards the house next door and broke the window. Muldanno and his men…ran out of the garage and disappeared. When everything was…silent..., Reggie and Mark went to…the boat…in the…garage. They found the…the senator's body…in a…plastic bag.

Chapter 17

Finish the sentences:

(a) Muldanno is nervous because he had to try again that night to move the senator's body

(b) Foltrigg is angry because he still hadn't heard anything of Mark and he needed him in court on Monday.

(c) Mark is excited because he is going to fly in an FBI jet which will take them to a new city.

(c) Diane signed the papers because she is accepting to participate in the Witness Protection Programme.

(d) Reggie is sad because Mark is leaving and she knows that she will never see him again.

(e) Mark cries because he knows that when he leaves now he will never get to see Reggie again and he really started to like her.

Activities after reading the book

Work with a partner.

Who did Reggie phone at the end of Chapter 16?

Act out or write the conversation between Reggie and the person she spoke to.

Reggie spoke with her secretary Clint on the phone at the end of chapter 16.

REGGIE: `Clint it's me Reggie, I need your help. I have found the senator's body and I need Mark to be safe because he told me.'

CLINT: `Well done, Reggie. Okay, I will arrange the next steps. Come back right now with Mark, and you tell me everything when you come back. Then we will see how we solve the case.'

REGGIE: `Thanks Clint I wouldn't know what to do without you. Of course I can't tell the FBI now because they will come here straight away and Mark will get into trouble. I will be coming back right now and I'll explain you all the details. Meanwhile I'll try to convince Mark about accepting the Witness Protection Programme so that he can participate in it and once he will be gone I will tell the FBI everything I know.

CLINT: `Okay that sounds pretty reasonable. I will see you tomorrow. Have a good journey!'

Other exercises on THE CLIENT by JOHN GRISHAM:

1, Choose the best words to complete these sentences: Case, evidence, prove, protect, trial, truth.

  • Barry's trial for murder was in four weeks.

  • The body was needed to prove the murder.

  • The FBI had evidence that Mark was in the car.

  • The doctor said Ricky was a serious case.

  • Reggie told Mark he must tell the truth.

  • The FBI decided to protect the Sway family.

  • 2, Are these sentences true or false?

  • Mark took drugs. False

  • Ricky took the tube out of the tail pipe of the car. True

  • The police took Mark's fingerprints off a coke bottle. True

  • The police made a recording of their talk with Mark. True

  • 3, Comprehension.

  • Where do Mark and Ricky live?

  • Mark and Ricky live in a trailer in a trailer park in Memphis, Tennessee.

  • What do the FBI tell Foltrigg about Mark?

  • The FBI told Foltrigg that they had found the car and the gun but also that Mark and his brother had found the body and told the police. Ricky is in shock and they believe that Mark has been lying to the police because he said that he arrived after Clifford shot himself but his fingerprints in the car say something different.

  • Why doesn't Dianne go to talk to the FBI with Mark?

  • In the beginning Mark didn't want to talk to the FBI because he was afraid and later on he would go and talk with them together with his mother Dianne, but she didn't go at the end because Ricky just woke up and she wanted to stay with him in case he started talking.

  • What is a witness protection programme?

  • It is a programme which is used to protect an important witness. They move the family to another city, they look for good jobs for them, they give every member of the family a new name, and the kids are able to go to another school, but they also give them money and the FBI keeps an eye on them.

  • How does Mark escape from prison?

  • Mark escapes from prison by running in circles for half an hour in his cell until his heart was going very fast and his face was red and hot. When he heard that Doreen, the guard, was coming he lie on the ground and put his finger in his mouth so that the just looked like Ricky. Doreen called an ambulance and once when he was in the hospital he escaped when the nurse wasn't looking.

    Enviado por:Colet Den Boogert
    Idioma: inglés
    País: España

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