A Time to Kill by John Grisham

With bestselling novels (The Firm, The Pelican Brief) turned into blockbuster movies, John Grisham changed the stuffed-shirt image of attorneys into thrilling hot-shots.

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A Time to Kill by John Grisham


  • Hardcover: 496 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.48 x 9.50 x 6.48
  • Publisher: Doubleday; Reprint edition (November 1993)
  • ISBN: 0385470819

    This addictive tale of a young lawyer defending a black Vietnam war hero who kills the white druggies who raped his child in tiny Clanton, Mississippi, is John Grisham's first novel, and his favorite of his first six. He polished it for three years and every detail shines like pebbles at the bottom of a swift, sunlit stream. Grisham is a born legal storyteller and his dialogue is pitch perfect.

    The plot turns with jeweled precision. Carl Lee Hailey gets an M-16 from the Chicago hoodlum he'd saved at Da Nang, wastes the rapists on the courthouse steps, then turns to attorney Jake Brigance, who needs a conspicuous win to boost his career. Folks want to give Carl Lee a second medal, but how can they ignore premeditated execution? The town is split, revealing its social structure. Blacks note that a white man shooting a black rapist would be acquitted; the KKK starts a new Clanton chapter; the NAACP, the ambitious local reverend, a snobby, Harvard-infested big local firm, and others try to outmaneuver Jake and his brilliant, disbarred drunk of an ex-law partner. Jake hits the books and the bottle himself. Crosses burn, people die, crowds chant "Free Carl Lee!" and "Fry Carl Lee!" in the antiphony of America's classical tragedy. Because he's lived in Oxford, Mississippi, Grisham gets compared to Faulkner, but he's really got the lean style and fierce folk moralism of Mass Market Paperback edition.

    Amazon.com Audiobook Review
    With a chillingly calm, even delivery, Michael Beck, a regular Grisham reader (
    The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury), turns the narrative of this disturbing tale of racism, ignorance, and brutality into an almost visceral experience. "Cobb strung a length of quarter inch ski rope over a limb ... he grabbed her and put the noose around her head." The story is frighteningly believable and expertly crafted around a horrible crime and the tragic consequences that follow. At times, Beck's character voices... Audio CD edition.

    Reader Reviews
    What's wrong with this picture?, October 20, 2003 Reviewer: Angela Camack from Lafayette, NJ United States Grisham seems to think his story represents a picture of racial justice. In the book, a young black girl is raped by two white men in an attack so terrible she will probably have emotional and physical scars for life. The men are quickly arrested, but as they are led to jail the girl's father (Carl) shoots them both to death. Grisham shamelessly plays the race card. Anyone who thinks Carl is guilty is branded as a racist. Carl's defense is based on the fact that setting Carl free is an act of racial rightness. He's guilty, folks! No matter how much he (and the readers) hate the men who brutalized his child, it is wrong to act on these feelings, especially since the men are in custody and will be tried for their crimes. The book tries to erect flimsy excuses for Carl's defense, such as the theory that a white killer of a black rapist would likely be set free (in the 1990's? A child's rapist? I'll bet!) The book ignores the fact that the rapists, no matter how disgusting they and their crimes are, deserve a fair trial under American law as much as Carl does. This book is shameless pandering. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition

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