Top critical review
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Not bad, but Grisham can do better
on March 22, 2000
The Runaway Jury is an interesting read. The book keeps your attention most of the time, and leads you face to face with a number of various hot issues, the most important of which being tobacco products and nicotine (do they cause death?) This is worth reading, yet I still found myself quite disappointed with the overall work. From past experience reading Grisham's novels, I know he can do a lot better than this. First of all, I simply did not like the main characters. Why Grisham makes his seemingly "good guys" so unlikeable in this one is beyond me. He wrote it as if he wanted and intended for you to hate them. This threw me off at times completely. It actually got to the point where I found myself rooting for whom Grisham clearly identifys as the "bad guys" in the book. Rankin Fitch for the tobacco companies was so much more well developed than the juror in control and the other good guys. I don't smoke, and agree the nicotine in cigarettes is addictive. Yet I found myself hoping, even cheering for the tobacco companies. The good guys are such losers I wanted the bad guys to win. As usual (for anyone who has read any book by Grisham), the ending is predictable, though I found myself wishing it would go the other way. And there is clearly too much courtroom talk. Grisham fails to realize, as the jurors get bored with certain testimony, the reader probably will too (at times I did). Books seem to always be best too if you can limit the main characters. Here, Grisham has 12 (the jurors) plus many more, and there is simply too much to keep up with, and some of the characters are simply a bore, and the passages about them are difficult to get through. Grisham also seems to be edgy about the content he wants to be in this one. I like Grisham in large part because he doesn't have to be that dirty to write a good book. In Runaway Jury, he uses more language and sexual references than in many of his other books. In seems like he wants to keep the content level down, yet at the same time he wants to put a little adult material in. Grisham either should have toned it down (which I like best and usually turns out best) or lived a little and spiced it up a bit. In between simply doesn't work and makes the reader ponder which of these more mature portions Grisham actually put in himself, and which the editors edited in later on. Despite some complaints, and the knowing that Grisham can do better, Runaway Jury is still worth checking out sometime, especially if you are interested in the smoking and tobacco products subject of or are a fan of Grisham. See if you agree with my complaints though.