Author: John Grisham
Genre: Legal Thriller
Format: Paperback 752 pages
Release Date: 26 September 2013
Since I love legal thrillers so much, I decided I would like to re-read, from the start, all novels written by John Grisham. I’ve read many of his books over the years but I can’t be sure I’ve read them all and I’m a sucker for lists and doing things in order so why not start from the beginning!
When Carl Lee Hailey guns down the violent racists who raped his ten-year-old daughter, the people of the small town of Clanton, Mississippi see it as justice done, and call for his acquittal.
But when extremists outside Clanton – including the KKK – hear that a black man has killed two white men, they invade the town, determined to destroy anything and anyone that opposes their sense of justice. A national media circus descends on Clanton.
As tensions mount, Hailey hires the inexperienced Jake Brigance to defend him. It’s the kind of case that could make a young lawyer’s career.
But it’s also the kind of case that could get a young lawyer killed.
In this book we are first introduced to Jake Brigance, a lawyer working within the small town of Clanton. Jake is by no means perfect and indeed, throughout this book some of his flaws are shown, however, I think this makes him really endearing as a character and someone I found myself wanting to succeed.
When Jake takes on one of the most controversial legal cases of his career, he is thrust into defending a man who at point blank shot two men. The case is not straight forward however, and morally a lot of people sympathised with the defendant and hoped and prayed he would be acquitted.
This book raises a lot of interesting questions on race, small town mentality, and what would you do personally if you were put in the same situation as this defendant. I think it’s this aspect of being able to sympathise so fully with the defendant that almost makes what he did a forgivable crime.
I was absolutely gripped to find out which way the jury would go and what would happen along the way. The way the author describes the legal process is mesmerising and absorbing and action packed from chapter to chapter. I was racing through to the end and I can’t wait to dive into the thriller featuring Jake Brigance.
About the Author
Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi, law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel.
One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl’s father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.
Grisham lives with his wife Renee and their two children Ty and Shea. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA.
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