The Pelican Brief is a legal-suspense thriller by John Grisham, published in 1992 by Doubleday. It is his third novel after A Time to Kill and The Firm. Two paperback editions were published, both by Dell Publishing in 1993. A namesake film adaptation was released in 1993 starring Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington.

The story begins with the assassinations of two ideologically divergent Supreme Court Justices. Both murders are committed by Khamel, the most wanted hitman in the world. Justice Rosenberg, a liberal, is killed at his home while Justice Jensen, a Republican-appointed swing voter, is killed inside a gay movie theater in Washington, D.C. The circumstances surrounding their deaths, as well as the deaths themselves, shock and confuse a politically divided nation.

Darby Shaw, a Tulane University law student, conducts research on Rosenberg and Jensen's records and writes a legal brief speculating they were not killed for political reasons. She shows the brief to Thomas Callahan, her law professor and lover, who in turn shows it to his friend, an FBI lawyer, Gavin Verheek. Soon afterwards, Callahan is killed by a car bomb, while Darby, who witnesses his death, is contacted at the scene by suspicious people. Afraid that she is the next target, Darby goes on the run. She contacts and agrees to meet Verheek, but Khamel murders Verheek and impersonates him when they meet. He is just about to kill Darby when he is shot by an unknown person. Darby manages to escape again.