Jim's Books

A Time to Kill

John Grisham

A Time to Kill
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Buy book: UK

ISBN: 9780099134015

Description

When Carl Lee Hailey guns down the hoodlums who have raped his ten-year-old child, the people of Clanton see it as a crime of blood and call for his acquittal. But when extremists outside Clanton hear that a black man has killed two white men, they invade the town, determined to destroy anything and anyone that opposes their sense of justice. Jake Brigance has been hired to defend Hailey. It's the kind of case that can make or break a young lawyer. But in the maelstrom of Clanton, it is also the kind of case that could get a young lawyer killed.

Reviewed on 7th April 2009

Another gripping read from Grisham (although it's his first so perhaps it shouldn't be 'another'). Its an interesting tale with a good insight into the wacky way the American legal system works - which seems rather convoluted.

The setting and the characters seem somewhat dated now, but I suppose that's fair as it was written in the 80s, but some of the characters' opinions do rather grate - even those of the characters who you are supposed to identify with. The cast of the novel don't seem to have been thought through from the start, as some seem to drop in for a few chapters and then get forgotten about, while others are mentioned, vanish, and then reappear once you've forgotten who they are.

It's definitely got the feeling of a first novel, but it's a substantial size and the story keeps progressing, even when you can't see how it can possibly fill the rest of the book. I would like to have had a little more detail at the end - it all seems rather rushed, and there is a key scene that I would like to have seen played out rather than just heard about second hand at the end.

All in all, a good idea, but a little rough around the edges. Not unmissable this time, but certainly paving the way.

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