Theo knows every judge, policeman, court clerk - and a lot about the law. He dreams of being a great trial lawyer, of a life in the courtroom. But Theo finds himself in court much sooner than he expected. Because he knows so much - maybe too much - he is suddenly dragged into the middle of a sensational murder trial. A cold-blooded killer is about to go free, and only Theo knows the truth.
Reviewed on 13th August 2012
John Grisham's first children's book is the story of the thirteen-year-old son of two lawyers, who is desperate to be one himself, and finds himself mixed up in the biggest court case the town has ever seen.
I found the book to be aimed at a younger audience than I had expected - probably about right for an eight-year-old reader - and the narration felt a little patronising in places, particularly near the beginning. There's a lot of exposition and the tale is fairly dry for a children's novel.
The character of Theo is difficult to sympathise with - he's a genius who everyone loves and who seems to help everyone - he's just too good to be true. As such he comes over as a bit of an annoying swot in places and I'm not sure he's a character many children would identify with.
The story picks up a bit towards the end but ultimately I found it quite weak and think there's a lot better entertainment for young readers to be had elsewhere. I'm intrigued to find out if Grisham's writing is refined in the sequel, but having read many of his adult novels I don't hold out a lot of hope.