- Paperback: 672 pages
- Publisher: Dell (June 23, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0440245915
- ISBN-13: 978-0440245919
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.5 x 7.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2,466 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Time to Kill: A Novel Paperback – June 23, 2009
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With a chillingly calm, even delivery, Michael Beck, a regular Grisham reader (The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury), turns the narrative of this disturbing tale of racism, ignorance, and brutality into an almost visceral experience. "Cobb strung a length of quarter inch ski rope over a limb ... he grabbed her and put the noose around her head." The story is frighteningly believable and expertly crafted around a horrible crime and the tragic consequences that follow. At times, Beck's character voices can be distracting, but his efforts are generally applied to good effect, adding another level of tension to this already suspenseful look at a small Mississippi town's struggle for justice. (Running time: 17 hours, 12 cassettes) --George Laney --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Library Journal
In this lively novel, Grisham explores the uneasy relationship of blacks and whites in the rural South. His treatment is balanced and humane, if not particularly profound, slighting neither blacks nor whites. Life becomes complicated in the backwoods town of Clanton, Mississippi, when a black worker is brought to trial for the murder of the two whites who raped and tortured his young daughter. Everyone gets involved, from Klan to NAACP. Grisham's pleasure in relating the byzantine complexities of Clanton politics is contagious, and he tells a good story. There are touches of humor in the dialogue; the characters are salty and down-to-earth. An enjoyable book, which displays a respect for Mississippi ways and for the contrary people who live there. Recommended.
- David Keymer, SUNY Coll. of Technology, Utica
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top customer reviews
Carl Lee Hailey has taken the law into his own hands. His ten year old daughter was raped and let to die by two white men. This story is set decades ago when racial tensions were very high in the south. There is repeated use of the N word which people can find offensive but based on the time period of tbis book it is something that was said frequently and people not give it a second thought.
Jake Brigance is an attorney who has agreed to represent Carl Lee who is a poor black man in the South. Jake to the case with less than a $1000 given to represent him. Carl Lee was upset when he learned that Billy Ray Cobb and Pete Wilard took his daughter and repeated raped her and disgraced her and left her foe dead. Carl wanted justice and did not think he would get it for 2 white men abusing a little black girl. Carl took matters into his own hand and served his own justice by killing those two. Now Carl is on trial.
This book follows the tensions in the South and the KKK and Carl planning to kill them and then also how Jake had to deal with the outlash from the community for representing a black man.
It was an interesting read in that this is how things were common back in the day with names said and threats. It also has Ellen, Jake assistant, a 'yankee' feom up North who views things differently than those who live in the South. I admit it was refreshing to see Jake tease Rufus Buckley, the opposing counsel and he get so mad when called the governor. Harry Rex who is in other John Grisham novels also shows up in this story as well.
The verdict at the end of the trial could go either way. I won't spoil it for you. The book could have been a bit shorter as no need to repeat about the national guard being out and the groups gathering for support but, still a good read and one of my favorite authors
One dreadful day while returning from the grocery store, Tonya was abducted by two racist white `rednecks' named Billy Ray Cobb and James Louis Willard. They brutally rape and beat Tonya and dump her in a nearby river after a failed attempt to hang her. She is rescued by fishers and survives. Both the rapist are arrested.
Both men now indicted in rape and attempt to murder of Tonya but Carl Lee fearing all jury members will be white and acquitting - he kills both the accused using a M-16 machine gun by executing a well thought out plan.
Carl Lee is charged with capital murder. Despite efforts to persuade Carl Lee to retain high-powered attorneys, he elects to be represented by his friend, white attorney Jake Brigance. Jake Brigance who once acquitted Car Lee's brother Lester in a capital murder case in Clanton.
The book is set in fictional town named Clanton, Missisipi. Clanton is the mixture of both blacks and whites but city has 76% of whites whereas blacks consists only 26% of total cities population. The marrow-deep racism still exists in Clanton and white people getting acquitted in criminal cases compared to blacks are very common in Clanton as majority of jury(or most of the time all jury) member are white.
This case of Carl Lee becomes a national sensation and every lawyer in the country wants to take this case for free. The quiet looking Clanton city is now filled with reporters and strangers. And to make things more complicated to defense lawyer Jake Brigance, the long forgotten and believed to be lost hundreds of years ago - Ku Klux Klan comes back to life in Clanton. The marrow-deep racism and presence of Klan members are handled pretty well in this book. The brutal attacks of the Ku Klux Klan on those who directly or indirectly involved in the defense of Car Lee Hailey puts them on par with the rapists.
All the characters in this book are well thought and well-developed, specially the Jake's character. You can feel the tension mounting up as the trial date comes near and near. Though trial of Car Lee won't take place until the climax of the book. But the events which happens in Clanton before Car Lee trial either the coming Ku Klux Klan or NAACP lawyers who want to take the case from Jake are handled really well.
Dialogues are well crafted and is crackling, specially dialogues between Jake and Roark. How the rape and aftermath of the murders effect the folks of the city both white and black is handled well. The psychological effect of rape on victim and victims family is handled well. It's really heart-braking when doctor tell Tonya's mother that Tonya will not have any child in the future.
The way the legal system works in criminal cases and how people try to twist these systems either by purchasing one of the jury member to result in hang jury or by choosing all white jury or by presenting false witness or by using insanity defense to defend the victim very well handled and described in such way that even a novice to law can understand it pretty well.
This book is well written and at times hard to follow as it has more description than dialogues but once you start reading - it's really hard to put this book down.
A sequel named `The Sycamore Row` will be released next month written after 25 years of publication of A Time To Kill. Can't wait to read it.
A Time To Kill is highly recommended for anyone who want's to read a good thriller.
The story surrounds a young southern lawyer (Jake Brigance) who has tasked himself with freeing a man (Carl Lee) who killed the unredeemable rednecks who raped his ten year old daughter. The court room drama and intrigue that ensues will keep you turning the pages. The racial division that this incident causes the town is also front and center. I think Grisham does a great job of pulling you in different directions. As a mother, I want Carl Lee to go free. It’s something that every parent envisions themselves doing to the person who hurts their child and we feel it’s justifiable. As someone who believes in the law, Carl Lee murdered those men in cold blood without a doubt and should be punished. I think that push and pull between your emotions is why this book is hard to put down.
Of course, there are some things of this book that I don’t particularly care for. The obsession with drinking heavily seems to be prevalent and is really just kind of distracting and unnecessary. The portrayal of all white southerners as being sweaty, foul mouthed bigots is also a bit annoying.
Even though this book was written in 1989 and is set in 1984, John Grisham is telling a story that could have been written today. The way the racial tension has skyrocketed in this country and the way recents incidents have divided the nation, this book is really a lesson that nothing has changed in the past 30 years and that’s pretty sad.