Book Review: A Time to Kill by John Grisham

May 27, 2014 Blog, Book Reviews 1

I received this book for free from Purchase in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: A Time to Kill by John GrishamA Time to Kill by John Grisham
Series: Jake Brigance #1
Published by Dell on March 15th 2004
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 544
Source: Purchase
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Before The Firm and The Pelican Brief made him a superstar, John Grisham wrote this riveting story of retribution and justice -- at last it's available in a Doubleday hardcover edition. In this searing courtroom drama, best-selling author John Grisham probes the savage depths of racial he delivers a compelling tale of uncertain justice in a small southern town...Clanton, Mississippi.

The life of a ten-year-old girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless young men. The mostly white town reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime. Until her black father acquires an assault rifle and takes matters into his hands.

For ten days, as burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets of Clanton, the nation sits spellbound as young defense attorney Jake Brigance struggles to save his client's life...and then his own.

My Thoughts

Wow… I read the author’s note and although I’ve never read John Grisham’s work before I just knew I was going to like this guy. And then I started reading the book… it’s intense, to say the least. I was surprised that he started the book with the raping of the young Hailey girl but I think it was to grab his audience, and he did!

I read this for my book club because I honestly may not picked it up otherwise and I texted one of the gals and asked what in the world she got me into!!? I already wanted to cry and I was only five, FIVE pages in! But that’s just the beginning. The entire story surrounds this crime and what a father will do to protect his daughter.

I also loved the characters. They were swimming off of the page just wanting to be met and loved. Jake Brigance is extraordinary but also a complete pain in the ass, just my type of guy! And then the father, is brilliantly written. Even as a man that committed a crime I wanted to side with him even as I was reading that he was going to kill the boys that raped his daughter, and I truly believed it too, I wanted him to be sane and not do it but I also just wanted the best for him and his family!

It’s such a black and white issue and it is weird to think today that these problems still exist. It’s easy to turn a blind eye to until you read a book like this where the author makes you think about today’s world and what we can do to change things.

The only downside is that there is a lot of back story and I think some of that could have been edited. This was a long book and I don’t think we needed to know everyone’s history, even still I read and loved it with all that history.

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.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn’t have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990.

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.

That might have put an end to Grisham’s hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career—and spark one of publishing’s greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.

The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham’s reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham’s success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller.

Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, and The Broker) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 225 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marks his first foray into non-fiction.

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.

Grisham took time off from writing for several months in 1996 to return, after a five-year hiatus, to the courtroom. He was honoring a commitment made before he had retired from the law to become a full-time writer: representing the family of a railroad brakeman killed when he was pinned between two cars. Preparing his case with the same passion and dedication as his books’ protagonists, Grisham successfully argued his clients’ case, earning them a jur

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