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January 2020: Thriller > King of Torts by John Grisham - 3 stars

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message 1: by Barbara M (new)

Barbara M (barbara-m) | 2275 comments Cross posted to Poll Ballot

A very well read audio with voices nicely done. The story, however, was a bit frustrating only because I was frustrated and, at times angry, with the main character, Clay.

We meet Clay as a 5 year member of the Office of the District Attorney. He's been handed another murder case. He's also in love with Rebecca, they've been together for quite a few years. Her parents are wealthy, belong to a country club and are snobs. Clay dislikes them intensely. The father is a developer that shows no mercy in changing the landscape to build his houses, his stock is down however and it looks like he's losing his shirt, Clay likes that a lot! He has nothing but criticism for both husband and wife but thinks he can lure Rebecca from under their wing; it didn't seem likely to me. I don't like Rebecca, perhaps it is the way Grisham portrays her but she is just too shallow for me and it's hard to see what Clay sees in her. That's all in the First Chapter!

Rebecca's parents make Clay an career-changing offer but he rejects it. Maybe that's for the best, he's taking the high road, but it looks like he's going to lose Rebecca over the decision. The very next thing, he gets another offer from a complete stranger and its tied to his murder case because he's recognized something fishy in that one and a couple of other murder cases. This offer leads Clay down a path to great wealth. That's when I get frustrated. I like Clay but I don't like what's happening to him.

The stuff about Tort Law was interesting and enlightening. Grisham lays it out with plenty of detail. Grisham doesn't spare Clay, although you want him to. It's easy to like Clay but really hard to agree with some of his choices.

I don't want to give too much away and hope I haven't already. When I hear about huge tort cases now, or tort reform, I'll be better informed for sure. The book was worth it just for that insight.


message 2: by Theresa (last edited Jan 23, 2020 02:34PM) (new)

Theresa | 7431 comments You hit on 2 aspects of Grisham's writing that has me throwing the book across the room and screaming: shallow, generally poor portrayal of women and always portraying the young moderately idealistic lawyer from a disadvantaged background who paid own way through law school as more easily seduced and corrupted by money. Now maybe the fact that I am a woman from a working class background who put herself through law school and never once in her career was lured onto some questionable professional path has influenced my strong reaction.

But I still love reading Grisham and I actually liked this one a lot. Because one thing he does really well is portray the political influence and gross failures of our tort system.


message 3: by Barbara M (new)

Barbara M (barbara-m) | 2275 comments Theresa wrote: "You hit on 2 aspects of Grisham's writing that has me throwing the book across the room and screaming: shallow, generally poor portrayal of women and always portraying the young moderately idealust..."

Thanks for your comments! Very insightful. I like Grisham too and will continue to read his books. Its been a long time since I last read one of his and perhaps for that reason, I didn't notice a tendency to a particular style. I'll probably watch more closely now!


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