The Last Juror
A young mother is brutally murdered by a member of Ford County's notorious Padgitt family. The murderer, Danny Padgitt, was tried before a packed courtroom in Clanton, Mississippi. The trial came to a startling and dramatic end when the defendant threatened revenge against the jurors if they convicted him. Nevertheless, they found him guilty, and he was sentenced to life in prison. But in Mississippi in 1970, 'life' didn't necessarily mean 'life', and nine years later Danny Padgitt returned to Ford County, and the retribution began.
Reviewed on 23rd September 2011
The Last Juror is a return to form for John Grisham, and tells the story of a young journalist in the 1970s who buys up a small local paper in rural Mississippi. It's an engaging, believable and even emotional story ruined only by one thing.
The characters are surprisingly deep, and as the story is written in the first person it draws the reader in. I was surprised to find that the quality of the writing had led me to feel disappointed by by a decision that I would normally have considered the only moral option, although this may have been because I as the reader had 'witnessed' scenes that the characters had not and that in real life I would not have.
The problem with the book is actually the cover - the back cover to be precise, which carries a blurb which gives away almost the entire plot. Usually a blurb gives the reader a quick introduction to the plot, but in this case the events described in the blurb had not finished until only a few chapters before the end of the novel. As such, any sense of suspense or surprise was demolished until those few unspoilt chapters, which as a result were the most exciting of the bunch.
Overall though I've really enjoyed this novel, and am happy to recommend reading all of it bar the back cover. I'm starting to look forward to the rest of Grisham's works again.