The King of Torts
When Public Defender Clay Carter reluctantly takes the case of a young man charged with a random street killing, he assumes it is just another of the many senseless murders that hit DC every week. As he digs into the background of his client, Clay stumbles upon a conspiracy too horrible to believe. He suddenly finds himself in the middle of a complex case against one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, looking at the kind of enormous settlement that would totally change his life.
Reviewed on 5th July 2011
I'm afraid to say I wasn't particularly impressed by this Grisham. Clay Carter is a run-of-the-mill public defender in Washington when he's offered an unbelievable opportunity, to take a mass tort case worth millions. Sadly, Clay comes across as a bit of a gullible money-grabbing idiot, and there's little there for the reader to identify with.
The set-up is a good one, and the book starts really well, introducing the characters and their relationships and kicking off the plot in good time. However it's all a bit downhill from there - it skips through a lot very quickly, and in fact the whole book covers 18 months while it feels like only a week or two should have passed.
The plot is not really at all as billed. The first few chapters cover this but it's only the set-up for what's to come, and particularly the second half of the book becomes quite depressing, and although you feel that the right thing is happening in a moral sense, it's disappointing after the effort that the first half went to build Carter up.
Overall, I feel this is one of the weakest Grisham books. I was unsure of the situation from the start, and found it failed to engage. His plots seem to have gone downhill quite a bit since the days of 'A Time To Kill' and 'The Firm', and I hope they pick up again.