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The Rainmaker Mass Market Paperback – January 2, 1996

4.4 out of 5 stars 743 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Rudy Baylor, a new law school graduate, once dreamed of the good life as a corporate attorney. Now he faces joblessness and bankruptcy--unless he can win an insurance case against a heavyweight team of lawyers, a case that starts small but mushrooms into a frightening war of nerve and legal skill that could cost Rudy not only his future, but also his life.

From Publishers Weekly

Grisham's intricate, spellbinding sixth novel differs from his last few?it's his only book with first-person narration and his first since his debut to be set in a courtroom?but the trademark Grisham touches are in place. Rookie attorney Rudy Baylor is the customary David fighting a legal Goliath (here a multibillion-dollar insurance company), and the suspense builds with impeccable pacing despite workaday prose. When the modestly sized law firm that contracted for his future services unexpectedly merges with a tony Ivy League firm, Rudy finds himself without a job and bankrupt. Filing a $10 million lawsuit takes away some of the sting, as does a lonely elderly woman's offer of low rent on a small apartment in exchange for rewriting her will. To make a living, Rudy finds himself chasing ambulances for a racketeering shyster, leading to his becoming enthralled with a beautiful young woman hospitalized by her husband's murderous attack. When Rudy agrees to represent the parents of a dying 22-year-old denied insurance coverage for a bone-marrow transplant, he finds that he is up against the firm that broke contract with him. Melding the courtroom savvy of A Time to Kill with the psychological nuance of The Chamber, imbued with wry humor and rich characters, this bittersweet tale, the author's quietest and most thoughtful, shows that Grisham's imagination can hold its own in a courtroom as well as on the violent streets outside. Major ad/promo; large-print edition, ISBN 0-385-47512-8; audio rights to BDD Audio.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 598 pages
  • Publisher: Dell Publishing Company; 1st Mass Market Printing edition (February 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044022165X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440221654
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.3 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (743 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #878,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAME on October 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
"The Firm" still remains John Grisham's best novel, but "The Rainmaker" is his funniest. I have never read a book that better managed to hit my funny bone straight on without tipping over the edge into farce (i.e., John Irving). This time around Grisham's hero is Rudy Baylor, in his final semester of law school and required by one of his professors to provide free legal advice at a Senior Citizens home. There he meets Miss Birdie, an old lady who apparently has millions of dollars salted away and who definitely needs a new will, and Dot Black, who's son Donny Ray is dying of leukemia while their insurance company refuses to pay for medical treatment. In the legal world a "rainmaker" is someone who brings in big clients (i.e., big money) to a law firm. When Rudy's future job suddenly disappears in the wake of a surprise merger, these cases might be his ticket to a promising legal career.
The villains are lawyers from a giant firm and a heartless insurance company, which is certainly stacking the deck but part of the fun. As with "The Pelican Brief" there is a bit of misdirection at the beginning in terms of getting a read on the main character. Rudy is broke and has some shady friends in the legal profession, but the bottom line is he is a good guy and he will do the right thing. Even if it means playing David against Goliath in a stacked courtroom where the presiding judge is best buds with the great Leo F. Drummond of the giant law firm Trent & Brent, representing the Great Benefits Insurance Company. But then Rudy gets a break. The presiding judge suddenly drops dead and his replacement, Judge Kipler, is a plaintiff's dream. Better yet, Rudy has the truth on his side.
The joy of this book is watching Rudy beat the bad guys.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
After 'A Time to Kill', and 'The Runaway Jury', 'The Rainmaker', is my third favourite John Grisham novel. These particular Grisham books all have one thing in common: courtroom drama.
There's nothing I like better than a David and Goliath story and that's just what Grisham delivers in 'The Rainmaker', in which he pits Rudy Baylor, a lawyer fresh out of law school, against Great Benefit Insurance and its lawyer Leo Drummond in a bad-faith claim lawsuit. What really made this book is the Black vs. Great Benefit case, and how an insurance company would bend over backwards to not get caught in its own lies.
Prior to the court case, the book goes into some detail about the life of Rudy Baylor, law student, and his struggles to get himself through school and into the labour market. However, this insight isn't really necessary and the book could've easily lost 50 pages without the reader noticing a difference.
The movie 'The Rainmaker', with Matt Damon as Rudy Baylor and Danny DeVito as Deck and John Voight as Leo Drummond, does an excellent condensed version of the book. It's time well spent on either reading the book or watching the movie.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I often wonder; if Grisham can write this well, why aren't the rest of his novels anywhere near as good as this one? Is it laziness? Or was he finally writing about something he cared about?
Of the two, my guess would be the latter. One of the things I am struck by when I read the Rainmaker (and I have done so quite a few times, much to my own amazement) is the emotional content. Grisham has always been about plot more than character, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. Every person in this book hits exactly the right notes to become real.
The main character, Rudy Baylor, starts out as a third-year law student who just wants to do his job, collect a paycheck, and retire as soon as possible. But along the way he is formed into a kind of crusading knight by his first client; Donny Ray Black, a young man dying of leukemia. He should be covered by an insurance policy, but the insurance company won't pay up. Rudy takes it upon himself, not to save Donny Ray, but simply to see justice done.
Another thing I was struck by was the lack of thriller elements. There is no surprise ending, there is no cheap gimmicks. Grisham does not clutter his story with the usual questions of "will they win the case/championship/battle." Nobody's life is seriously in danger (except Donny Ray, and it's made pretty clear at the beginning that it's already too late for him). Instead, Grisham turns his attention to insurance companies in an expose not unlike Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle", about the Chicago meatpacking industry in 1906.
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By hilary plum on January 11, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I think I understand some of the enthusiasm for The Rainmaker; I too found that I wanted to keep reading, that the plot was energetic enough to push me through the pages. When I read overall praise of the book, however, I'm baffled. It was entertaining, but very flawed. I found the characters flat and dimensionless, and never even felt as if I had a sense of protagonist Rudy Baylor. He seemed a living stereotype-- the bright, well-meaning, down on his luck, little-guy lawyer, blue-collar background, who takes on "the man" in one of his many incarnations: an enormous white-collar corporate conspiracy. Satisfying, but hardly original. There was no greater depth to either Rudy's character or the conflict; both were kept on a simple, surficial level, one most conducive to a fast-paced plot.
Indeed, most of the characters were slightly embellished stereotypes, were vehicles for plot and never real people. Rudy's bosses were the heart-of-gold petty criminals; the opposing lawyers were Ivy League money-grubbers, etc., etc. The girl, Kelly, came off the worst. I found sitting through the patronizing relationship between Kelly and Rudy sickening-- Grisham and feminism ought to be on bad terms after this book. She was a battered woman whom Rudy set out to rescue, but she was never given any autonomy or a character of her own. She was only an idea, a helplessness embodied, a vehicle by which we were meant to see Rudy's chivalry and good-heartedness. The scenes of him dispensing advice to her, with a total disrespect for the person she might have been, the way she coped with her situation (which was of course far out of his understanding), were wretched. But, like any good cardboard cut-out, she obediently fell in love with him and seemed grateful for his condescension.
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