Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Chamber” as Want to Read:
The Chamber
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Chamber

by
3.79  ·  Rating details ·  118,464 ratings  ·  1,591 reviews
In the corridors of Chicago's top law firm: Twenty -six-year-old Adam Hall stands on the brink of a brilliant legal career. Now he is risking it all for a death-row killer and an impossible case.

Maximum Security Unit, Mississippi State Prison: Sam Cayhall is a former Klansman and unrepentant racist now facing the death penalty for a fatal bombing in 1967. He has run out of
...more
Paperback, Delta trade paperback edition (US/CAN), 632 pages
Published January 2006 by Delta Trade Paperbacks (first published May 1st 1994)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Chamber, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Aveek Rollie Wedge was Sam's mysterious accomplice.…moreRollie Wedge was Sam's mysterious accomplice. (less)
a. Just read the book. If you did, you would figure out what kind of jury system there is in the book.…moreJust read the book. If you did, you would figure out what kind of jury system there is in the book. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  118,464 ratings  ·  1,591 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Chamber
Summer
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime
I started reading this book in December. Why did it take me so long to finish it? Because of the topic: death row, KKK, racism plus I saw the movie before reading it. I am strongly against death row and I can't believe something so inhumane can be legal. These things are so horrible and painful to read and because of that I've read it only a couple of times a month. It made me feel so sad every time I read it. It's a great book, amazing writing, but really sad. You can't read it with a dry eye. ...more
Julie
Dec 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-favourites
I thought this was one of the most impacting novels I have read for a long time. Grisham thoroughly explores the implications of the death penalty and creates a well-rounded and complex character in Sam Cayhall. You come to hate him and pity him, asking yourself whether he really deserves death and cheering Adam on as he tries to save him. A book I will never forget.
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Chamber, John Grisham
The Chamber (1994) is a legal thriller written by American author John Grisham. It is Grisham's fifth novel. In 1967, in Greenville, Mississippi, the office of Jewish lawyer Marvin Kramer is bombed, injuring Kramer and killing his two young sons. Sam Cayhall, a member of the Ku Klux Klan, is identified, arrested and tried for their murders, committed in retaliation for Kramer's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. Sam's first two trials, engineered by his
...more
Lili  Marcus
Nov 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: legal-fiction, family
“Look at me," he said, glancing
down at his legs. "A wretched old man in a red monkey suit. A convicted murderer about
to be gassed like an animal. And look at you. A fine young man with a beautiful
education and a bright future. Where in the world did I go wrong? What happened to me?
I've spent my
life hating people, and look what I have to show for it. You, you don't hate anybody. And
look where you're headed. We have the same blood. Why am I here?”

Oh My God..Fantastic..

Natalie Vellacott
Grisham uses fiction to make a compelling case for the abolition of the death penalty.

I wouldn't describe this as a thriller, or even a drama, the pace is painfully slow. Sam is languishing on death row having been involved with the KKK in his younger years. He is now an old man preparing for death in the gas chamber.

Adam is his lawyer grandson with a fascination for the case and a familial bond which he doesn't quite understand. Managing to get assigned to Sam's case, he throws everything into
...more
Courtney
Oct 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Typically I am a Sci-fi/Fantasy reader, with a smattering of historical fiction thrown in. Really I'll read just about anything, but I have weakness for fairy tales. So when my dad recommended this book to me, and went as far as to buy it and give it to me, I was like... okay... But I decided to give it a chance because it's a book, and I like books.

And my response was: Wow. I have read very few things as heart stirring and thought provoking as this book. Who could like a KKK member? Murdering
...more
Shesh
Oct 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Just finished rereading this amazing book. This isn't one of Grisham's more popular stories however this book was a life transforming experience for me. Two issues this book forced me to deal with on my first reading in 1994: 1) How can people - any people, "Cluckers" (KKK), the Taliban, street gangs,Fred Phelps and congregation, boy soldiers of Sierra Leone, contract killers, even bullies, et al - be so cruel and mean and hateful? Where is compassion? How did they miss that piece of life? How ...more
Wsm
Nov 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: grisham
Made me wish once again that Grisham's books were shorter. The pace is very slow.
Grim subject matter,the story of a death row prisoner,the death penalty and the Klu Klux clan.
Stephen Robert Collins
Apr 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is one of John 'S best deep hard political crime Thriller books of this century it's biggest point is the death penalty because of it whole story is a flash back.
I am against the death penalty because in America it is disgusting that any person even if are filth that should not be keeped on death row for 20ys.
This brilliant book all about waiting to die.My mother would not read it she said it was to upsetting. but that's why I recommend it so see both sides.
The Chamber was in my thoughts
...more
Cynthia
Jul 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
I have strong feelings and opinions related to this book that delves deeper into the issue of "an eye for an eye" as it relates to the judicial systems of the day. A great side story about a member of the KKK after the civil war during the segragation conflict. Being from a rural southern area, riding around as a child with a father who always kept a "nigger knocker" under the seat, and having family that still refuses to grasp the concept of nonjudgmental equality, I really thought this book ...more
Shaun
May 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2016
4.5 stars

How could Adam ever reconcile the past with the present? How could he fairly judge these people and their horrible deed when, but for a quirk of fate, he would have been right there in the middle of them had he been born forty years earlier?...If Sam was lynching at such an early age, what could be expected of him as an adult?...How in God's world could Sam Cayhall have become anything other than himself? He never had a chance.

This is my first John Grisham novel, purchased for a
...more
Piyangie
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: legal-thrillers
A well written book on the the subject of capital punishment. "Can you avenge a murder with the death of the murderer, and that too after lapse of many years?" is the question that was subtly raised throughout the book. From a legal point of view the book had merit as the story unfolds the defects of the methods that used to carry out execution thus showing a cruel side of the justice system. In this light, the book can perhaps seen as advocating for the abolition of capital punishment. However ...more
Una Tiers
May 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Too long, too technical (and I'm a lawyer). How do other readers feel about the loose end? It did make me think about the death penalty.
Margaret
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Adam Hall grew up moving from place to place, his family never speaking of any family history. As far as Adam knew he had no other family than his parents and his younger sister. That all changed at Adam's father's funeral when Adam was seventeen. His father's sister attended the funeral and shared some of the family histories with young Adam. Adam was the grandson of Sam Cayhill, a murderer residing on death row. As Adam completed college and law school he was obsessed with learning all he ...more
Holly
Oct 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I generally was not a John Grisham fan. I had read "Peligan Brief" many years ago and found it too detailed and too boring. This is not the way I felt about this book - so John Grisham, you have earned your way back into my reading library.
The Gas Chamber is being prepared....time is running out - - Will this client be set free? John Grisham takes you through every emotion - - liking this client and even somewhat accepting perhaps of what he did - - to hating this guy and wanting to pull the
...more
Nenette
May 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read a couple of Grishams that had very rich and exciting plots, only to end abruptly, leaving the reader wanting for more.

I'm happy to say that that's not the case with The Chamber. This story has both the thrills and the heart and it carried through to the end. It was an exciting read, and tugs at the heart at the same time; I almost cried in some of the scenes.

I admire the character of Adam Hall, I wish there were more people like him in real life - those who would put the good of the
...more
Martti
Aug 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
This is a brick about an asshole on a death row. Almost nothing happens in this book. A book to a fans of jurisprudence, I guess. Because complaining in a nicely worded manner to the court of law is why these people exist. I really don't want to read about paperwork and sad people who are sad, because one man has been a giant dick. You know what, I'll save you some time and here's the whole morale, without wasting time on this 500+ pager brick - don't be a dick to other people, "mkey".
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2013
Unbelievably good! This best John Grisham book I have ever read and on of the top book, I read last year. The story was fantastic and so incredibly moving.

This is really a book that stays with you long after you read it!
Wendell
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stan Usher
Jun 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Loved this book. Always enjoyed Grisham, and even though this book originally came out 20 years ago, its still relevant. You can almost feel the horror of being on Death Row, knowing you only have a certain time to live. Good characters, believable storyline.....the end, almost made me cry which never happens! Please read this, I think everyone in America needs too.
Gary
Feb 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Not quite a four star rating but certainly a very good read. Usual mix of twists and turns that keep you wanting to read more and more. There are many strong characters that add other dimensions to this read.This book really gets you thinking on so many levels and makes you think about your own thoughts and beliefs.
Jay Schutt
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: legal-thriller
I wanted to give this book a 5-star rating because it gave an in-depth view of what it's like to be on death row waiting for the gas chamber, but it went on too long and could have been more exciting due to some other plot lines. It was very well written and kept my interest regardless.
Maybama02 Carroll
Jul 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: a-good-book
I loved this book. Never have I had such a distinct love/hate impression of a character before. It is long but you NEVER know how it will end. Its easy to finish it quickly.
Debra
For my written review, please check out the link below:
Debra's Book Cafe

Debs :-)
James  Love
The characters are as memorable as those produced by Twain, Faulkner, and Lee. The themes in this novel are timeless and with the way modern America has become it may soon be censored and censured by the Progressive left.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/te...

https://law.justia.com/codes/mississi...
Ryan
May 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Though I haven’t read this book entirely, it so far is actually quite captivating. As a whole, it has kept hold of my attention. It also has a hint of humor in it, too. John Grisham having a background in law has put his knowledge and experience in his books.
“The Chamber” is about a young, bright lawyer, Adam Hall, who joined the Kravitz & Bane firm solely to represent and defend his grandfather, the infamous ex-Klansman Sam Cayhall, who is in Death Row for the bombing of the Kramer Firm,
...more
LibraryCin
3.5 stars

Adam Hall is a new lawyer. In Mississippi, Sam Cayhall, a (former) KKK member, is on death row for bombing a building in 1967 where a Jewish lawyer worked; the bomb went off when the lawyer’s 5-year old twin sons were there and both were killed. When Adam learns that Sam is his grandfather (Adam was only 3 when his father left Mississippi and changed all their names so as to not be associated with his own racist KKK father), he decides to head to Mississippi to fight the death sentence
...more
donna
Feb 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Never have i cried for literature in any medium than i did with this book. I hated Sam for keeping his secret up to his grave. I hated the fact that i was so deeply touched with this book. That now death penalty made sense to me! Up to the last few pages i expected a miracle, but then it didn't came. I cried with Adam and Lee and the rest who did not believe in death penalty. Im not a fan of Grisham after reading The Pelican Brief or was it Runaway Jury (although I liked The Client) but because ...more
Arwa_Y_240526
Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The chamber is one of my favorite books. The author, John Grisham, has a simple way of writing where in all of his books he addresses issues such as law , politic, racism. His books are definitely strong books that cover strong topics. The chamber basically talks about a man who is being convicted and executed because of something he has done a long time back. But his lawyer/grandson thinks otherwise. Slowly, he works out things until he reaches the truth. But after finding out the truth, he ...more
Reenie
This book was an emotional read right up until the very last page; I've laughed and I've cried. Whilst this story is fiction, it's all too real to me.

Regardless of your view on the Death Penalty you should read this book. It will make you examine your thoughts and reasoning. Even if you're certain in your belief, just give it a chance, it really is thought provoking.

I will write a full review of this when I'm able to, but in the meantime my thoughts above sum this book up. Well done, Grisham
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Book cover disappeared 3 15 Jun 29, 2019 08:40PM  
the end of this novel 31 284 Aug 20, 2018 07:14PM  
Play Book Tag: The Chamber / John Grisham. 3.5 stars 3 16 Apr 11, 2018 06:44PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Firm
  • The Client (Penguin Readers)
  • The Juror
  • Hide and Seek
  • The Godfather
  • Honor Among Thieves
  • Absolute Power
  • Kiss the Girls (Alex Cross, #2)
  • The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon, #2)
  • The Lincoln Lawyer (Mickey Haller, #1; Harry Bosch Universe, #15)
  • Along Came a Spider (Alex Cross, #1)
  • The Traitors (The Australians, #3)
  • The Settlers (The Australians, #2)
  • 1984
  • The Matarese Countdown (Matarese #2)
  • Vegas Vendetta (The Executioner, #9)
  • Gladiator
  • Nightmare in New York (The Executioner, #7)
See similar books…
39,225 followers
"Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of
...more
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“You’re old. You’re senile. You’re too calm about this. Something must be wrong…”
“Wonderful. I’ll pull out my hair and chase butterflies around the room.”
5 likes
“Look at me," he said, glancing down at his legs. "A wretched old man in a red monkey suit. A convicted murderer about to be gassed like an animal. And look at you. A fine young man with a beautiful education and a bright future. Where in the world did I go wrong? What happened to me?
I've spent my life hating people, and look what I have to show for it. You, you don't hate anybody. And look where you're headed. We have the same blood. Why am I here?”
5 likes
More quotes…