The Runaway Jury
In Biloxi, Mississippi, a landmark trial with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake begins routinely, then swerves mysteriously off course. The jury is behaving strangely, and a least one juror is convinced he's being watched. Soon, they have to be sequestered. Then, a tip from an anonymous young woman suggests she is able to predict the juror's increasingly odd behaviour.
Reviewed on 14th June 2010
This is another very good legal thriller. Grisham explores the courtroom from the point of view of the jury this time, and the opposing groups of lawyers as they attempt to influence the jury in their favour. The twist is that someone on the jury wants to influence the lawyers. It's addictive reading and a really interesting plot that I've enjoyed reading.
I read the first half twice, which is something I've never tried before. I lost my copy when I was halfway through, and when I finally bought a replacement, six weeks later, decided to reread from the start so I didn't miss anything. I was really surprised by how easy it was to read again. The first time through I was quite confused about what was going on, but on the second go every fell into place and I understood straight away what the characters were up to.
Grisham keeps the plot developing at a good pace, especially amid events that could quickly become repetitive - given that each day has an identical structure for a lot of the characters. There are however a lot of unnecessary references that are not followed up on, some aspects that are never really explained, and some repetition.
My main criticism is that it ends like every other Grisham novel. It does have a nice little unexpected twist, but ultimately it comes down to the same thing. Is that what Grisham is planning once his writing career has earned him enough money? It's just a little awkward when you know every time how it's going to end.
Overall though the plot is genius, and he manages to keep you guessing on exactly how things are going to turn out right until the end. The whole story does come across a little like an epistle against tobacco, which didn't bug me but to those with differing views it may grate.