Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Time to Kill Book Review

A Time to Kill by John Grisham

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The life of a ten-year-old girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless young men. The mostly white town of Clanton in Ford County, Mississippi, reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime. Until her black father acquires an assault rifle and takes justice into his own outraged 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.

Review by Brittany:

Despite the overwhelming popularity of both this book and author, this is the first time I've read anything by Grisham. This is also the first book I've read that is so strongly centered around race, so it was an interesting read for me.

I really enjoyed this book. I can see why Grisham is a favorite of many readers because he kept me hooked throughout the whole 600+ pages. The story line and major plot points were a bit hairy, but I loved reading about how controversial the case was.

Grisham wrote some great characters for this book. Jake Brigance is a fairly inexperienced lawyer who wants this case so bad he can taste it. The fear gives him stomach issues and he often feels like he's not sure what he's doing, but he gets a ragtag team together to help pull him through. Lucien was his mentor back in his heyday, although now Lucien just stays drunk and offers sometimes questionable advice to Jake. Ellen is an Ole Miss law student who offers to clerk on the case because she just can't stand to see anyone get the death penalty. Harry Rex is the foulest divorce lawyer around, but he's determined to offer his services to try to pull Jake through. This team is often concerning and sometimes irresponsible, but they were all fantastic characters. And Jake, despite his easy access to sexy law clerk Ellen, stays faithful to his wife who he loves.

The book doesn't focus as much on the case as it does on the effects of the case on the community and the characters involved. Carl Lee's possible guilt sends the Ku Klux Klan running to Clanton to intimidate and hordes of blacks from other counties to show their support. Jurors watch these things going on while they try to determine if Carl Lee, as a father, was somehow right in his actions.

The tension is there, the suspense is there, and the fabulously quirky characters make this book - despite the tumultuous content - a bit of a fun read. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and definitely recommend.

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