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The Appeal Hardcover – January 29, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 358 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1 edition (January 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385515049
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385515047
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (886 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #214,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

As the author of twenty bestselling books, John Grisham has set the standard for legal thrillers since the debut of The Firm in 1991. Enjoy this Q&A--as well as a personal note to Amazon readers--from John Grisham.

1. Your new novel starts off where most courtroom dramas end--with the verdict. Where did you get the idea to reverse the usual order of events this time around?
The actual trial is not a terribly significant part of the story. Most all of the action and intrigue begins after the trial is over, with the verdict and the subsequent appeal.


2. The Appeal overtly suggests that elected judges can be bought. If the novel is meant as a cautionary tale, what's next--the Presidential primaries?
Why not? Over one billion dollars will be spent next year in the Presidential primaries and general election. With that kind of money floating around, anything can be bought.


3. Speaking of electoral politics, you've been more vocal recently about your political views ... first supporting Jim Webb for Senate and now endorsing Hillary Clinton for the White House. Have you given any thought to running for office yourself?
No. I made that mistake 25 years ago, and promised myself I would never do it again. I enjoy watching and participating in politics from the sidelines, but it's best to keep some distance.


4. This is your first legal thriller in three years. How did it feel to get back to the genre that started it all, and can fans expect another thriller from you next year?
I still enjoy writing the legal thrillers, and don't plan to get too far away from them. Obviously, they have been very good to me, and they remain popular. I plan to write one a year for the next several years.


5. Your nonfiction book The Innocent Man continues to be a bestseller in paperback. In your ongoing work with The Innocence Project, have you come across another story of the wrongfully convicted that begs to be written as nonfiction?
There are literally hundreds of great stories out there about wrongfully convicted defendants. I am continually astounded by these stories, and I resist the temptation to take the plunge again into non-fiction.


6. What's on your bedside reading list at the moment?
1. The Nine by Jeffrey Toobin
2. Eric Clapton's autobiography
3. East of Eden by John Steinbeck.


From Publishers Weekly

A Mississippi jury returns a $41-million verdict against a chemical company accused of dumping carcinogenic waste into a small town's water supply. The company's ruthless billionaire CEO is thwarted and the good guys (a courageous young woman who lost her husband and child and her two lawyers who've gone half a million dollars in debt preparing her case) receives its just reward. This sounds like the end of a Grisham legal thriller, but instead it's the beginning of a book-length lesson in how greed and big business have corrupted our electoral and judicial systems. Grisham's characters are over-the-top. The CEO and the other equally overdone villains—his venal trophy wife, a self-serving senator and a pair of smarmy political fixers—as well as the unbelievably good-hearted, self-sacrificing lawyers and an honorable state judge, are one dimensional. Michael Beck, with his natural Southern drawl, does a fine job of adding credibility and nuance to the large cast. But his efforts are for naught. In fact, the more he makes us feel for these characters, the less apt we are to be satisfied with the sourball moral of Grisham's downbeat discourse.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

More About the Author

Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, John Grisham 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. 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 Grishams hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career. 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, The Broker, Playing for Pizza, and The Appeal) 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.

Photo credit Maki Galimberti

Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars
5 star
186
4 star
144
3 star
156
2 star
183
1 star
217
See all 886 customer reviews

Popular Discussion Topics

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  • "Emotional" 19
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

244 of 292 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Richards HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've just finished reading more than 250 pages of filler with nothing worth mentioning at the end of it all, except that the ending "majorly" sucked.

Essentially a sordid tale of big business and politics vs. big verdicts and class action lawsuits, it begins nicely, and gathers steam, then proceeds to continue blowing hot air at the reader until the unsatisfactory quickie ending.

While there's some food for thought regarding how the legal, political, religious and business arenas may all be connected, there's more garnish than meat in a story which could have been cut by about 100 pages of the filler, and sweetened with about 50 more pages of conclusion for dessert.

Short Attention Span Summary (SASS)

1. Large company dumps chemicals in rural community
2. Water changes color
3. People get sick
4. Some die
5. Small law firm files lawsuit
6. Large verdict awarded
7. Big business takes over
8. Money talks
9. Once again, Grisham gets tired of his own rambling and wraps up story in indecent haste leaving most of his ends dangling
10. His ends aren't pretty

I'd like to sue for 50% of my money back, plus loss of productive time, legal costs and mental trauma, and also for punitive damages, but I guess I'd lose on appeal.

Rated: 2.5 stars for half of a good book

The Innocent Man

Amanda Richards, March 21, 2008
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60 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Gerald Swimmer on February 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Grisham has written some wonderful books. Unfortunately, The Appeal is not one of them. He has a point which is that elected judges create a problem and an opportunity for abuse. We all agree. By the way so do appointed judges.

The plot has been described by others. My issue with this effort is that everybody was predictable. The good folks were perfect. Plaintiff lawyers who will bankrupt themselves for a case they believe in. Not like many plaintiff lawyers who I have run into. The company and its owners are completely bad. When a character such as the general counsel of the company looks to be a little interesting he is ignored.

Grisham in my view has always had the ability to develop believable characters who were interesting. All the leading characters in this book were boring and too much of a stereotype.
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117 of 148 people found the following review helpful By Serene Night on February 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Evil uncaring chemical baron Carl Trudeau's company has been poisoning the city of Bowmore's drinking water for years. After people start coming down with cancer and related ailments, the company cuts and runs to Mexico leaving hundreds of people ill and dying and the ground water contaminated. A scrappy altruistic attorney couple(the Paytons) sues Krane on behalf of a widowed client and wins a sizeable settlement. Carl Trudeau chooses to fight back, using his deep pockets and political connections.

I wanted to like this story, but I felt the good guy characters-particularly the attorneys -(the Paytons), were annoying. They were a little too perfect, a little too altruistic... It was very saccharine. The Paytons were both such Mary Sue's I didn't identify with them at all. Ironically, I liked the antics of the evil villains more because at least their plots and plans were entertaining.

Overall this was a decent book, but I found the simplistic character development aggravating.
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Format: Hardcover
John Grisham will be ending his absence from the New York Times Best Seller's List (fiction) with the arrival "The Appeal." Grisham's first legal thriller since the Broker (2005) is a gripping and compelling read that will be hard to put down. It is also timely since it highlights the underbelly of today's election politics.

The story centers on a small Mississippi law firm who wins a big verdict over a chemical giant, Krane, that has spread carcinogenic pollutants. Krane, fearful that this verdict, if not overturned, would set a precedent that would eventually destroy it, goes into action. It files an appeal that will find its way to the state supreme court, and hires a "dirty tricks" firm to unseat a sitting justice believe to be unfriendly. This is a viable strategy since Mississippi elects their Supreme Court justices and 69% of its voters know little about the court's candidates.

The "Appeal" provides a believable primer on how to rig an election - pick a victim; promote an unknown candidate with no visible record; and ambush the victim by painting him/her as a extreme ideologue (this liberal judge will destroy the family). Done well...and the election process is subverted.

This is Grisham's thirteenth legal thriller since "A Time to Kill" which was published in 1989. He has been a master at putting urgent moral issues on center stage for all to consider. He has succeeded again in "The Appeal."
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34 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Gregory A. Moore on January 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I picked up a copy of "The Appeal" to make the 8 hours I had to wait in the airport go a little faster, and it served its purpose. The time went by quickly. I enjoyed the book very much. Then, I got home and decided to sit down and finish it, and that's where things got ugly.

The end of this book and even the message from John Grisham himself at the end of the book leave the reader to only one conclusion: "The Appeal" is not a legal thriller. Instead it is a propaganda piece that has big business involvement in politics between its crosshairs. I'm not saying I don't agree with the point Grisham makes here, but I bought this book to be entertained. At the end of the day, the actions of the heros end up meaning absolutley nothing and make the reader feel like they just had 400 pages of their life wasted.
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