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The King of Torts

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3.68  ·  Rating details ·  74,230 ratings  ·  2,094 reviews
The office of the public defender is not known as a training ground for bright young litigators. Clay Carter has been there too long and, like most of his colleagues, dreams of a better job in a real firm. When he 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 D.C. every w ...more
Paperback, 276 pages
Published December 27th 2005 by Delta (first published February 4th 2003)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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 ·  74,230 ratings  ·  2,094 reviews


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Ahmad Sharabiani
The King of Torts, John Grisham
The King of Torts (2003) is a legal/suspense novel written by American author John Grisham. Clay Carter is a poorly paid public defender who dreams of joining a large law firm. One day he reluctantly takes on the case of Tequila Watson, a man accused of a random street killing. Watson insists that he somehow wasn't in control of his body when he pulled the trigger, a story which Clay tries to dismiss, but can't get out of his mind. Clay tries his best to help his c
...more
Jay Schutt
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, legal-thriller
Money, money, money. Greed, greed, greed. This book is about the destructive power of greed and how fast one can fall from the top. While reading this, I felt like the hammer was going to drop at any minute. When it did, I felt gratified that the "easy come, easy go" scenario was played out to its fullest. Very well written, of course, by Grisham.
Karl Marberger
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: legal-political
A nice page-turner dealing with the dangers of greed and the importance of self-control. I liked reading the character come from humble beginnings, build an empire, and let it come crashing down. A lot happening in-between.

Very interesting learning a lot about tort law and the concept of mass tort litigation. Some lawyers in this country get involved in some pretty unscrupulous stuff.
Carol Storm
Jun 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
Has anyone noticed that this guy can't write? And that he hates women?

There were scenes in this book so sexist that they literally took my breath away. Clay Carter, the young lawyer with the heart of gold, is being stalked by two beautiful women who are absolute cartoon characters. I mean, really! They are shallow, selfish, two-faced, manipulative, lazy, whiny, clingy, needy, bossy, weepy, and dishonest.

That would be bad enough, but the weird thing about the way Grisham writes is that . . . he
...more
Beth
Jul 27, 2008 rated it did not like it
Why do I keep doing this to myself?
Every Grisham I read seems to get worse and worse and this was the worst --- unless of course you like to read about privately owned jets, earning millions of dollars, winning class action suits that bring in billions (yes, I'm not exaggerating), fast cars, and slimy lawyers. The relationship aspect is at the beginning and end of the book. My suggestion is to read the first three chapters and then skip to the end (unless you enjoy laundry lists of the plaything
...more
Natalie Vellacott
Another Grisham book ticked off my list. I don't remember having read this one before. The author has blended his usual mix of courtroom drama, rich lawyers and powerful companies in this novel. It will have you hooked until the last page.

I actually preferred this novel to The Street Lawyer which I also read recently. I didn't like the way that Grisham had focused on charity/benevolent work amongst the homeless almost as a selfish pursuit for the young lawyer to find himself. This novel, howeve
...more
Caralee
May 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
As usual, this book it well written. Grisham tells the story of the meteoric rise and subsequent fall of the newest, hottest lawyer in the DC area. The problem that I found with this book is that I simply didn't care about any of the main characters in this book. The main character's greed and foolishness is shocking, and by the end of the book I found that like him, I was shrugging at 9 million dollars. But still, I found the characters uninteresting or distasteful. It was more out of a sense o ...more
W
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: grisham
This is one of my favourite Grisham books.A poorly paid public defender stumbles on to a case which leads him to an enormous settlement and changes his life.The most interesting part of the book is where Grisham describes the lavish lifestyles of lawyers who win huge settlements and then indulge in all the luxuries,money can buy.That expensive lifestyle isn't sustainable,and needs ever greater amount of money.Eventually,the consequences of this relentless pursuit of money,are disastrous for the ...more
Priscilla
Jul 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This is one of those books I can't stop thinking about! I read it for a business law class I'm taking and it is great!

Clay Carter is working for Washington D.C.'s Public Defense Office when he is given a murder case. The murderer is a young, black man and Clay assumes it's a typical murder case. Then, he is approached by Max Pace, an agent for a pharmaceutical company. Max explains a bigger case behind the murder: the murderer was taking pills, the side effects made him unusually violent. Max hi
...more
Brandi Doctoroff
May 13, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Brandi by: Mama
Seriously...did Grishham fall asleep at the end? No spoilers, but it seems like for the last few chapters he was in a big rush to finish the book and just made everything end real abruptly. Especially considering that the rest of the book was quite long and drawn out....

This was the first book by Grisham that I've read thus far, and I'm not sure that I am jumping in to read more... Maybe I should have started with a more popular...better...book.
Bryan
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Whenever I see another class-action lawsuit advertisement on T.V. I will always think of this book.

The story revolves around a lawyer in the trenches of the D.C. criminal defense system, Clay Carter, who works for Washington D.C.'s Public Defense Office. He and his whole department are overworked and underpaid, and the career ladder there is pretty grim. He loves his girlfriend Rebecca but the low pay and prestige of his job takes a toll on their relationship, especially aggravated in no small
...more
Madiha Riaz
Aug 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-so-good
Did.Not.Like.It.

Don't take me wrong, I like Grisham's novels, I'm not a big fan, but I enjoy reading his books nonetheless. He is not a master storyteller but he writes enjoyable stuff.

But after reading The Street Lawyer and now the King of Torts, I had a hard time giving another of his books much thought. Unfortunately, in a bargain, I had bought many of his books and now I'm going to try and finish the lot (to get my money's worth).

There was absolutely no rythm to the book. It started as a cri
...more
Jesse A
May 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting enough subject matter. I will say I was never bored but I'll also say I was never surprised.
Debra
Now this is what you call a page turner! I just could not put this down... This is the style of legal thriller that drew me into reading John Grisham's books in the first place and this one just took me right back to the first time I read one of his books.

We follow Clay Carter who is a young lawyer who works for the Office of the Public Defender. His girlfriend and her family have high hopes of her marrying someone that is a high achiever and high earner and, at this time, Clay just isn't it. O
...more
Elizabeth Noah Astle
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
j clay carter II works at the public defenders office. he has just been handed another murder case. Tequila Watson is accused of killing Ramon Pumphrey. As Carter starts to look I not the facts of the killing he is approached by Max Pace. Max has a deal for him..he will make more money than he has ever dreamed of but must leave the public defenders office and is representing a mysterious drug company. Quickly Carter starts his own law firm and meets Patton French and is thrown into the world of ...more
Una Tiers
Jul 22, 2016 rated it liked it
This book had my interest for about 100 pages. What is attractive about obscene amounts of money? The characters are flat and Grisham portrays the women as objects.
Vicki
Mar 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I almost always enjoy a good John Grisham book and love to read them on an airplane as they make the time go by so fast. This was one of my favorites as it gives an inside look at the huge class-action lawsuits and how they can affect the lives of those involved, especially in the legal field. There is so much money to be made, it leads to unscrupulous behavior and should be a warning to us all. It was informative as well as entertaining and that rates five stars from me.
Karah
Jan 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
I love a good Grisham book, especially when I haven't read one in awhile. This is the story of Clay Carter, a young lawyer in Washington DC, working for the public defender's office. His job pays him next to nothing, his 4-year relationship is in a rut, and he'd love to live on his own--without a roommate. After wrapping up a lengthy murder trial, he gets stuck with another one. Everything appears to be the typical street crime/indigent story until a mysterious phone call lands Clay in a posh ho ...more
Jerry B
Jul 23, 2010 rated it did not like it
A really lousy book: rags to riches to rags, the end!

We've read every Grisham offering, including his two non-legal- thrillers, and find most of his novels to be good or great, a couple just so-so. For the first time, we'd rate this one at the bottom of the barrel. It has virtually no plot: a down-trodden public defender falls for a get-rich-quick scheme involving settling a few cases with some murder victims (due to bad drugs), for which our hero, Clay Carter earns like $15 million. Getting th
...more
Mahlon
Mar 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
A big pharmaceutical company creates a drug that cures addiction, it is 90% effective and only 2 percent of the people in the study relapse, and go back to life on the street. Sounds great right? Here's the problem, in the remaining 8% it creates an overwhelming, and apparently irresistible desire to kill. This seemed like an implausible plot, even for a John Grisham book.
Jonah
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
The rise and fall of a public defense attorney turned hotshot lawyer, plus fun stuff about mass tort litigation for people like myself who know nothing about that world. An entertaining, fast-paced read.
Ralph Gallagher
Jul 12, 2009 rated it liked it
It really took me a while to get into this book. It started out pretty slow, but it was interesting. I kept reading, and I'm pretty disappointed with the novel.

The novel follows a man named Clay Carter - a lawyer working for the Office of the Public Defender. His job is going no where, his girlfriend and her parents are after him to "make something of himself" which translates into "make our daughter rich." It seems like his life is going no where.

Then he meets Max Pace. The guy pops up out of n
...more
Jake
May 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: pulp
I don't think I'll ever read Grisham again, his stories are just too stupid. The protagonist inexplicably acted like an ass despite professing to being a moral person, acted wildly irrationally, made unbelievable errors in judgement concerning the wasting of money and lack of caution. His character was so poorly developed that I knew mid way through that I didn't give a shit what happened to him, because his character was both unbelievable and ultimately not likeable. Most problematic though wer ...more
Corey
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Another interesting story by Grisham, about the corruption in legal practice and greedy lawyers taking advantage of clients. It almost felt like a Mobster film, where the main character starts out from beneath, slowly works his way up making it to the top, then in the end everything goes south and starts to crumble.


Clay Carter seems to be getting nowhere in life, a low-paid Public Defender in Washington DC. But one day, Clay is made an offer he can't refuse, after taking the case of a man charge
...more
Alyson Larrabee
Mar 19, 2018 rated it liked it
I haven't read a John Grisham novel in ages, and according to what I remember about the early bestsellers that I read, (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, and The Client), The King of Torts doesn't measure up. The beginning was pretty engaging. Clay, the main character, is a public defender and he's assigned a murder case that he's certain to lose. The author brings the reader into the scenes and experiences during this part of the book.
Once the book gets going, though, the characters are superficial
...more
Bolortuya
May 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As a lover of legal thrillers, I try to read all of John Crisham's books. This book was really interesting and such a page turner from the very beginning: there is not any moment of boredom for readers, nor anything unconvincing! I got more and more intrigued as the story went on, I was constantly thinking about our main man - Clay Carter - even when I am not reading. The book introduced me to a new (and probably very miniscule (in terms of size) world) of mass tort lawyers and pharmaceutical in ...more
rachid  idjiou
Tequila Watson is a young black male, he is not a criminal but he shot Roman Pumpkins five times in the head and he killed him, people saw the boy with the gun when he ran in Lamont Street, the police arrested him, he was not under the influence of drugs or anything else, the court charged him with murder. He couldn't afford a lawyer, Clay his lawyer was the only person who could help him, he will help him even if he is guilty. Solicitors picked up other murder cases the more cases you get the m ...more
Henri Moreaux
Another excellent Grisham novel, in this book we get a rather compelling picture of a young lawyer who is struggling to make ends meet working for the public defenders office. He stumbles into a once in a lifetime chance to earn a fortune at the cost of ethics and in doing so begins a tale of greed that whilst seems to begin with good intentions he ultimately succumbs to those he surrounds himself with and begins to place money on a pedestal before all other things.

Excellent book, hard to put do
...more
Valyssia Leigh
This book wasn't completely terrible, which is impressive considering the fact that the main character was a remarkably lively turd. I might've given it another star had Grisham not (view spoiler) ...more
Alyssia Cooke
All in all, this book just didn't push my buttons, although I will admit it is well written enough. My problem was quite simply that I didn't care. I didn't care about our hotshot King of Torts, I found the entire concept of the torts to be vaguely unpleasant and the surrounding cast of characters weak. The tort lawyers are greedy, selfish, wasteful and arrogant. The group that comes along with Clay to his new 'business' are cardboard cut outs and the two women are damn awful.

But at the heart of
...more
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41,039 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

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