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The Appeal Hardcover – January 29, 2008
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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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
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
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.
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."
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.
With the arrival of "The Appeal," I once again let my hopes soar. I heard some good feedback from a bookstore owner. I bought the book, and--to my thorough amazement--breezed through the first hundred pages in one sitting. The old Grisham was back, I told myself. This might be one of his best in years. All the pieces were in place for a great story.
Although "The Appeal" is nothing original, I was hooked by Grisham's portrayal of David and Goliath characters. The giant: Carl Trudeau, owner of a company that has illegally dumped chemicals into Mississippi waters and earth, resulting in cancer, leukemia, and the lost lives of many local townspeople. The midget: Payton & Payton, a law team of husband and wife who have risked everything to bring about justice. Grisham paints both protagonists and his antagonist with skill and empathy. Trudeau and his shallow trophy-wife were the villains you love to hate. I kept turning the pages.
As usual, Grisham takes issue with something in our legal system and makes a moral or political point. Here, he mixes familiar ingredients from "The Firm" (manipulation), rants from "The Chamber" (capital punishment), and bits from "The King of Torts" (huge settlements).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have enjoyed reading John Grisham novels for years but, this is not one of his better works.Published 3 days ago by Bookworm in MD
The Trudeau character, the anti-hero of The Appeal, is an obvious knock-off of Donald Trump. I'm sure this election has given Grisham a boatload of material for a book in which he... Read morePublished 4 days ago by P. Johnston
The end left you thinking - most books give you a conclusion but this left you wondering about a couple things.
I enjoyed the different twists and turns in the story but did not care for the ending. Left too much dangling. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Grannie
I would not recommend same as the info above. Just killing space at this point 16 words required Grisham is slippingPublished 8 days ago by Alan west
Very disappointed in the ending....was hoping for the best but still a good read!Published 14 days ago by Linnylou
Lol, too real life. I like to read detective and law stories mainly to see justice done at the end... a fantasy to escape the savage injustice of the real world. Read morePublished 15 days ago by sabrina osborne