Friday, March 23, 2007

A Time to Kill – John Grisham

Before he’d made a name for himself outside his home state of Mississippi, John Grisham was a lawyer. Then he decided to write a book. The first one took some time, but he completed it and shopped it around. It wasn’t his first book that made him famous, but the second which was purchased for filming. The success of the film version of The Firm got the good lawyer noticed. Soon we were being blessed by a book a year and movies right on the heels of the books. And finally his publisher, Doubleday, discovered the obscure raw talent that really was Grisham—A Time to Kill.

What would a father do when he saw the vermin that abused and disfigured his daughter getting off on a technicality? How would he respond? What would matter to him? Carl Lee Hailey has the answer in the form of an automatic weapon, hidden and ready, blasting away to gain vengeance on the rednecks that destroyed his daughter’s life and his own.

Young and green, lawyer Jake Brigance seeks to make his name by defending this black man in a time and a place where the Klan runs rampant and the black community is still referred to as “the Quarters.”

At times the writing is stiff and shows the inexperience of a new novelist. At times the lawyer within takes over, trying to convince the reader as a good trial lawyer would before a seated jury. But always the thrill of this story grips you. It is easy to look beyond the raw edges because of the raw edginess of Grisham’s subject. You may not want to read another courtroom drama, but you will want to read this one. You may be tired of hearing how successful Grisham has become, but you will want to read him before all the accolades. This is a fine piece of literature that is not to be missed. It should be put on every to be read list. And even on some to be read again lists.

—Benjamin Potter, March 2007

No comments:

Popular Posts